Date: 9th October 2015 at 10:07pm
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Swansea City were denied a third home win of the season and their first ever Premier League win against Spurs as Eriksen fired in two equalising free kicks.

Detailed Tactical Analysis as Eriksen denies Swansea City their third home win of the season.

Eriksen cancelled out Ayew’s early opener, before striker Harry Kane helped to restore the lead for the home side when he turned the ball into his own net trying to clear Jonjo Shelvey’s corner at the near post.

With Garry Monk’s side going into half time with a 2-1 lead after a rather open and end to end first half, it was obvious that they needed a third goal to guarantee the win as the visitors had plenty of attacking quality, but Fabianski was rarely called upon thanks to the visitors’ lack of accuracy in front of goal.

Both sides playing with good intensity

Both sides applied good, intense pressure from the kick off and this meant that neither side could ever get into a decent spell of possession as a result to their hard work and determination to regain the ball as soon as possible.

You can see below how Swansea have 5 players getting forward and applying pressure on Spurs’ when when they’re in possession.

Spurs were often effectively playing with three at the back when in possession in their first phase, with Dier dropping back and the two centre backs splitting wide – as full backs Ben Davies and Kyle Walker advance up near the halfway line.

Eriksen has space to pick up the ball in between Swansea’s two lines but was rarely used, and instead Spurs are forced to kick the ball long.

The game started to become more open as the first half went on, this was a result of both sides pushing players forward – leaving space in the middle third, as you can see below.

The Swans have four players pushing forward – applying pressure on the ball, but Spurs are able to get beyond this line of pressure and get the ball into the middle third. Swansea’s two holding midfielders – Shelvey & Ki are caught out here, Montero and Ayew are both high up the pitch, giving Spurs an easy chance to quickly counter attack.

Garry Monk was clearly keen to stop his side from leaving such space in the centre of the pitch and his side eased their pressure in the second half – something we’ll look into in more detail later in the analysis.

Swansea take the lead

Swansea City scored the one true goal from open play in the entire game after some excellent play initially from Rangel and Fernandez to beat Spurs’ high pressure line.

Fernandez is under pressure (below), but passes to Rangel out wide before making a forward run down the right and picking up the ball again from the Spaniard.

Ayew is then in space to pick up the ball before quickly passing into Gomis, then to Sigurdsson and the finally over the opposite flank to Montero. Whilst there was good pressure on the ball high up the pitch from Spurs, the likes of Ayew, Gomis and Sigurdsson were all in plenty of space to receive the ball and quickly pass to continue the free-flowing move.

The above screenshot is also a good example of the space that they were giving away through the middle as a result of their high pressure.

Both Ki and Sigurdsson are in plenty of space through the centre, while Spurs right back Kyle Walker moves across to add support as his centre-back colleagues are far too close together as they closely monitor Bafetimbi Gomis.

Kyle Walker didn’t stand much of a chance against Montero as he was having to make up ground such was the amount of space the winger had to receive the ball.

You can see above, just how much space both Ayew and Gomis have to get a header on goal. Ayew leaps brilliantly once again to net his fourth goal of the season to put his side into the lead. It was an impressive header to say the least given the lack of pace on Montero’s cross.

Spurs equalise

Spurs weren’t behind for long as Eriksen scored the first of his two free-kicks to make it 1-1. Federico Fernandez conceded the free kick and Eriksen stepped up and curled in strike that any decent goalkeeper at Premier League level should be keeping out.

The ball wasn’t even heading towards the corner of the net, but Fabianski takes a step to his right – as he tries to see the flight of the ball, but that leaves him helplessly standing there as he watches the ball fly past him and into the net. A disappointing and very rare error from our usually “Fab” keeper.

Gomis getting into wider positions

This is something we’ve seen quite often this season – Gomis getting into wider positions as the likes of Sigurdsson and Shelvey play him long balls over the top as they try to get the striker in behind the opposition’s defence.

This happened on at least three of four occasions during the game but the striker was always lacking that final bit of quality.

Gomis’ heat map below shows just how often and how much of his play was in these wide positions.

Gomis was often isolated and lacking support up front though. He was criticised by many after the game for his lack of movement, which is a fair critique of his, but the striker and Sigurdsson desperately need to improve their attacking partnership in the centre as it’s currently non-existent.

Below is a typical example of the gap between the pair.

Ayew has often been moving inside to give Gomis support, but fortunately he was staying wide against Spurs, offering the team more balance and extra width down the right flank, allowing Rangel to get forward too.

Something else that we’ve noticed this season is how Gylfi Sigurdsson is often dropping deeper into midfield. The screenshot above shows him alongside Ki, when usually he’d be looking to get into the space in between the lines and closer to the striker.

But with Swansea’s style of attacking play now more focused on getting the ball wide to send in crosses for Gomis, there’s less of a need to give him support in situations like this.

Ayew was staying wide initially, but would move into the centre as soon as the ball moves to Montero on the left in the hope of getting on the end of a cross.

We’ve not seen much attacking link-up play down the right this season so far, such as been Ayew’s habit of making runs inside, but that wasn’t such the case against Spurs. Ayew was more disciplined in staying in his wide role, and 12 passes between him and Rangel was Swansea’s second highest passing combination in the match.

You can also see Ayew’s heat map below and how more of his play was on the right side of the pitch.

Swansea ease the pressure

Swansea City back off in the second half, and were reluctant to apply pressure when Spurs had possession amongst the defence, and were only committed to closing players down when Spurs sent the ball into the middle third.

This contrasted with Spurs’, who continued to apply pressure high up the pitch throughout the game despite being caught out early in the first half and conceding the opening goal.

It was mainly effective though, as they made it difficult for the Swans to play the ball out from defence during the second half.

Above, you can see a lack of pressure on the ball from Swansea, but they effectively block the passing angles, forcing Ben Davies to pass back into defence. As a result, Spurs struggled to create any decent chances early on in the second half, but there was a sudden shift in momentum after Eriksen made it 2-2.

As you can see above, Rangel is forced backwards, and the Swans often have to keep playing the ball across the defence and up the sides to try and get out of their own half.

But when they were managing to do this, there was a lack of attacking movement in the final third. The Swans looked comfortable for the first 15 minutes of the second half. They were a goal in front, and the visitors didn’t have a shot on goal until Eriksen netted his second free kick of the game.

But like I said, Monk’s side definitely needed that vital third goal to give them a bit more security, but it was never likely to come.

There was a moment during the first half when Montero had managed to beat Kyle Walker down the left, something he only managed to do about three times in the game – a low number for his standards. But he was forced to delay a cross as there wasn’t anyone in the box to aim for, and eventually he ran out of room and the ball rolled out for a goal kick.

He complained to his team-mates again when his cross below was cleared away for a corner in the second half. Gomis purposely hangs back just inside the penalty box and makes no effort to get into the shaded error and really attack what was a perfectly decent cross.

Montero’s final ball has always been inconsistent, but lifting high crosses into the 6-yard area has always been his strong point. When trying a different type of cross has always been a weakness though, as they’re often easily intercepted by a defender.

But against Spurs, his crosses were often wasted as a result of a lack of team-mates inside the penalty area, and you can see below just how many of his crosses don’t get to a team-mate (red arrows).

You can also see that he only managed one successful take on near the touchline (for the goal), with the other three occuring nearer the halfway line.

The 6 orange stars in close proximaty of one another indicate unsuccessful take-ons, which demonstrates that the right back Kyle Walker did a good job against the winger during the game.

The same thing happened when Ayew got down the right flank (below). Gomis isn’t even in the picture and there’s isn’t a single Swansea player in the penalty area.

Eriksen equalises again

The Swans lost the lead is similar circumstances again, as Fabianski made a similar error to the first goal, making a slight step to his right, and making it more difficult for him to keep the ball out.

It was a better strike from the midfielder this time, but he should still be keeping it out given his initial position in relation to where the ball ended up.

Spurs’ second equaliser of the game gave them a massive confidence boost and the momentum suddenly shifted in their favour.

They looked like they might have gone on and won it, and they probably should have, but Fabianski’s saves were from shots outside of the box. In fact, after their second goal, only one shot came inside the penalty box, and only just – as you can see below.

Swansea’s struggle to get the ball out from their first third continued and they barely created a decent chance from open play.

A lot of this was down to Spurs’ effective pressure and intensity, but the Swans often lacked presence in midfield, and left themselves vulnerable to the counter attack.

You can see below how Swansea are forced to play the ball down the sides to get forward, and their lack of presence in midfield, as Shelvey is completely missing from the screenshot.

Above shows how the Swans also left themselves open to the counter. Spurs brought on Townsend early in the second half which gave them added pace out wide on the right, and he was often given too much space as Montero was rarely getting back to support Taylor in defence.

Below, Spurs continue their high intensity when out of possession as Ayew is quickly closed down. Fortunately Ayew is very strong and manages to avoid losing the ball in a vulnerable position, as Spurs could quickly counter as a result of Swansea’s lack of midfield presence in the centre.

The Spurs manager might have said that his side dominated and dropped two points, but they actually only managed to score thanks to two good free-kicks from Eriksen and two rare mistakes from out goalkeeper.

Other than that, the Swansea defence did a good job for most of the game in limiting Spurs’ clear chances in front of goal. The momentum was with the visitors after their second equaliser as shown in the analysis, they barely managed a shot on goal from inside the penalty box.

Fernandez also went close with an injury time header, but it was disappointing to see a lack of movement inside the penalty area and a lack of chances created in the second half.

Still it was an improved performance and a point is always one you’d take against a side like Spurs, who we’ve only managed to gain 1 point in games before this one.

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