Mauricio Pochettino will be happy with another three points earned for Tottenham against Swansea on Sunday, but might not be thrilled at the effort it took to get there.
Swansea striker Alberto Paloschi scored the opening goal of the match in the 18th minute and thereby forced Tottenham to work hard for a victory. Ideally this match would have more closely resembled the 2-0 win over Norwich from January, where two Spurs goals in the first half allowed the side to rest for most of the second.
It wasn’t what Spurs got on Sunday. Thanks mostly to Lukasz Fabianski in Swansea’s goal, Spurs’ efforts to find an equalizer were continually thwarted. It seemed as if the ex-Arsenal keeper might be able to single-handedly keep Spurs bottled up.
It wasn’t to be though. Spurs quality inevitably shined through and goals from Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose managed to earn the home side a vital three points. They remain two points from Leicester City in first place, but are now three points up from Arsenal after their loss to Manchester United.
Let’s break down to see who did what best on the night.
Hugo Lloris – 8.0
In all honesty, Lloris wasn’t exactly regularly tested in this match. Paloschi’s opener was hardly his fault, and thereafter Swansea were mostly concerned with keeping a clean sheet. A marvelous save from a Gylfi Sigurdsson effort in the opening minutes of the game shows just how important Lloris’ return is for Spurs though.
Danny Rose – 9.5
Though he’s traded places at left-back with Ben Davies all season, Rose remains undeterred. Here he particularly looked dangerous getting forward, and his winning goal was no less than he and Spurs as a whole deserved.
Kevin Wimmer – 8.0
Another match in which the opposition failed to inspire the best out of Wimmer. That’s not a bad thing though, and when called upon to do his job the Austrian did it well.
Toby Alderweireld – 8.5
Opposition attacks seem to encourage Alderweireld to press forward almost into Spurs midfield on occasion. His defence remains the best part of his game, but it helps that he’s willing to move up and add a bit to the press when he’s able.
Kyle Walker – 8.5
He himself might have scored his own goal minutes after Rose’s were it not for being correctly called for being offsides. The right-back again impressive otherwise though, moving forward and proving to be a dangerous source of balls from just along the edge of Swansea’s penalty area.
Eric Dier – 9.0
Though he wasn’t tested all that much in this match, Dier did not allow himself to be inactive. When he wasn’t staying deep to cover against counterattack, he stepped forward and helped Christian Eriksen distribute the ball around the attack. He even managed a few shots of his own.
Christian Eriksen – 10.0
Arguably the star of Spurs’ match. The Dane sat deeper than normal and resembled Luka Modric at times as he attempted to make plays. His ability to also find chances on Fabianski’s goal makes his the best all-around performance of the day.
Dele Alli – 8.0
Though he began the match nominally alongside Dier, Alli pushed forward often enough to be considered part of the attack. A minor injury pre-match seemed to slow him down a bit throughout the game, but he still managed to look dangerous with the ball at his feet.
Erik Lamela – 8.5
While Lamela’s game doesn’t always peak with the spectacular, the Argentine is consistently excellent in the ways Spurs need him to be excellent. He presses well, passes well. Being a better shot-taker would propel him to the next level.
Heung-min Son – 8.0
Looked good in a more open role, one where he was free to criss-cross the pitch in search of some quality. Though he only managed one shot in this match, his efforts otherwise helped Spurs keep the pressure up on Swansea’s defence.
Harry Kane – 8.5
Kane was unlucky not to score a goal of his own in this match. He worked the channels well and often found himself in the right spots at the right times, but could not get past Fabianski.
Nacer Chadli – 8.5
Another star turn from the Belgian after he came into the match from the bench. He’s becoming something of a super-sub for Pochettino, and Spurs were wise to have kept hold of him.