Thursday, 5 March 2015

Tottenham 3-2 Swansea - Player Ratings

Josh Kilmister gives us his verdict on last night's defeat at White Hart Lane

After back to back wins against United and Burnley, our run up to the game in North-London had been significantly more encouraging than Spurs’, who were coming to the end of a busy week – losing away in Europe and suffering Capital One Cup heartbreak at the hands of Chelsea on Sunday. Unfortunately for us, a full strength Tottenham side were out to make this past week somewhat worthwhile and they certainly did that. Not may complaints on our behalf; though I definitely wouldn’t say we were completely outplayed.

Starting XI (4-1-2-1-2)

Lukasz Fabianski – 7

Despite going in at half time at 1-1, the first half didn’t really produce any huge opportunities for either side. Mainly tested from long range, Fabianski dealt well with testing efforts from the Spurs midfield with relative ease and wasn’t at any serious fault for any of their three goals. The only notable error from the big Pole was his failure to deal with one of Tottenham’s many crosses – though that didn’t come to anything more than a corner.

Neil Taylor – 7

It’s tough to give our defenders the credit they deserve after conceding three goals, but for large parts of the game we were defensively sound; and Taylor was one of the more consistent players in the starting eleven. Given the lack of support in from the wings, Taylor did well to handle the width and pace of a strong Spurs side.

Federico Fernandez – 7

If some people weren’t convinced by the big Argentine after his first few games then I’m sure their minds have been changed after recent performances; his showing today was no different. Generally solid at the back and imposing in the air, Fernandez has grown – and continues to grow – into the side Garry Monk has his heart set on creating. Will be devastated to have been denied by a moment of brilliance from Hugo Lloris in the dying seconds, and could’ve done better with a volley early in the second half that was struck right at the French ‘keeper.

Ashley Williams – 7.5

Just about edging the ‘defender of the match’ award, Ashley Williams put in another superb performance against Spurs. Rocking a scrum-cap after picking up a cut to the head against Burnley (à la Michu, if you like) Ash showed that despite some Robbie Savage-fuelled speculation, he is still very much committed to leading the Swans. Given the duties of marking England whiz Harry Kane, the young forward didn’t really get a sniff – which is a compliment to our entire defence.

Kyle Naughton – 7

Making his not so long awaited return to White Hart Lane, Naughton will be glad to have been met by applause from the Spurs faithful. Like Taylor, Naughton’s almost went unnoticed but for the type of game it was, that’s more of a positive thing than it is negative. A wonder-goal in the return to his old stomping ground would’ve been the icing on the cake for him, but the chance he had was dragged painfully wide.

Jack Cork – 7.5

After spending years tracking and chasing Cork it’s starting to look like it was worth the wait. Sitting at the base of a diamond, he’s added something to the team that our defensive midfielders of the past have not – physicality, power and most importantly, grit. Again a contender for man of the match, Cork kept the ball with purpose and was ready to offload to Ki, Jonjo, or Gylfi when appropriate.

Ki Sung-Yueng – 7

A precise finish from a seemingly impossible angle through the legs of one of the best goalkeepers on the planet; man of the match, right? Wrong. That does sound a little, if not very harsh on Ki because in fairness he didn’t have a bad game at all, but he didn’t have the impact that he normally would like to have on a match played almost around him. Maybe my standards are a little too high.

Jonjo Shelvey – 8 (Man of the match)

When Shelvey got a four match ban for lashing out at Liverpool’s Emre Can earlier this season, I think it’s fair to say there were a few Swans fans who would’ve had a few choice words for the English international, with those fans including Garry Monk. Since then, Jonjo has shown us all what deep down, we already knew – there is an incredible player in there somewhere! While he isn’t completely raw there are certain aspects of his game that still need working on, but against Spurs he combined his attacking flair with his physicality and aggression to string together an exciting performance for the travelling Swans fans. While there was no twenty-five yard screamer, Shelvey did sting the palms of Hugo Lloris early in the second half and there were a few times he looked to make something out of nothing.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – 8

Replacing the ineligible Tom Carroll, the Iceman made his return from a short-term injury in time to face his former employers – and it was a performance that I’m sure he’ll remember for a while. Apart from getting on the score sheet to kick off what was an electrifying final five minutes, Sigurdsson came agonisingly close from a trademark free kick which eventually led to Ki’s equaliser. If the Swans are to make a last gasp push for seventh place, it’s imperative that Sigurdsson plays every game.

Wayne Routledge – 7

Routledge kept his place in a more central position originally alongside Gomis, and he did show on a few occasions why he was opted for over Montero. Some neat touches in and around the area along with his pace and energy added up to a decent performance, but his inability to stay onside let him down. With some work on his final product, Routledge could well be coming close to the return of the Routledge of September.

Bafetimbi Gomis – 6

Gomis will find himself on the back pages not only in South Wales but nationally, as headlines such as “The moment football held it’s breath” summing up the feelings of every decent human being with even half an eye on the game. Gomis seemed to faint on the edge of the centre circle after Spurs’ opener on just seven minutes, leaving Tottenham and Swansea players alike looking on with considerable uneasiness. 

It turns out that Gomis has a rare condition – inherited from his father – known as a vasovagal condition, which causes a drop in blood pressure which leads to feinting. The striker took to Twitter after the game to inform everyone of his health, and also thanked everyone for their wishes.

Almost three years on from Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest at White Hart Lane, it’s understandable how the stadium would fall to such a deathly silence. Gomis was given a standing ovation when he departed on a stretcher, and while it was a natural reaction Spurs' fans deserve praise for their appropriate response.


Nelson Oliveira – 6.5 (for Gomis, 7)

Came on in difficult conditions and after just seven minutes was challenged to adapt to a team that was by no means built around him. Unless I’m missing something, he didn’t make too much of a contribution but it’d be unfair to judge him on this particular game. Gomis has declared himself fit, while there is close enough to a two-week break upon us so it is unlikely that the Portuguese international will start against Liverpool next time out.

Jefferson Montero – 7 (for Shelvey, 72)

Made a huge impact when he came on, contributed largely to Sigurdsson’s goal and will be hoping to regain his place in the squad against Liverpool in two weeks time. With Routledge’s finishing product letting him down, this could well be the case.


Honestly, I’ve got no complaints about this one. Spurs were the better team on the night and deserved to win the game, but at the same time we should have absolutely no shame in losing. Although it’s quite ironic that the same week some fans have criticised our entertainment factor is the same week we play well but lose, but at least there’s something to take from the game.

Our next match isn’t until March 14th – a Monday night game against Liverpool. With Brendan Rodgers’ men in fine form at the moment, it’ll be interesting to see whether they can keep up their momentum through the extended break.

You can follow Josh on Twitter @JoshKilmister