Swansea City were quickly back to their hold habits under Bob Bradley this afternoon with another shocking display at Spurs – who romped to an extremely comfortable 5-0 thrashing win.
After a draw at Everton – having thrown the lead away in the final 5 minutes, and a first win since the opening day last week, the Swans showed a glimmer of hope that they might have turned the corner. If they did turn a corner, they`ve suddenly done a three-point turn and gone back the other way – which in this instance is another move closer to the Championship.
Today`s game plan was one of the most depressing things about yet another heavy, embarrassing and humiliating defeat.
Following Llorente`s heroics last weekend against Spurs, netting two injury-time goals to beat Crystal Palace after throwing away a 3-1 lead to go 4-3 down, we might have thought that Bradley would start the Spanish striker today, and ditch playing Sigurdsson out of a position as a false nine. As I tweeted during the game, by far our best and most influential player – Sigurdsson has looked a frustrated figure since being moved into the false 9 role. He clearly is crying out for a player to work with, someone like Llorente to play off, a strong striker that can hold the ball up and who Sigurdsson can create and bring into play in the final third.
Is it me or does Sigurdsson look a frustrated figure playing as a false 9 without a striker to work off? Looked it last week as well
? Vital Swansea City (@VitalSwansea) December 3, 2016
Bradley may well have started with two out and out wingers – dropping Wayne Routledge to the bench and starting with Montero and Barrow either side of Sigurdsson. A pretty useful move when they`re – as already said – are two out-and-out wingers that rely on sending in crosses for the striker. They`re not inside attackers like you often see better wingers transformed into in the modern game. The likes of Hazard, Willian, Walcott, Eriksen, Son. Wingers in their own right, but they all can offer a goal threat in the centre. Our wingers` have a dismal record of assists – let alone scoring goals. They didn`t stand a chance of improving their existing poor assist record with only Sigurdsson to pick out in the box. Montero barely got into any position to attempt a cross. Barrow attempted to start counter attacks but the quality was never there.
Switching to a 4-3-3 and adding a third central midfielder was meant to add additional and much needed defensive cover, but today we`ve conceded five, when really, like the commentators said as Spurs knocked in their fourth and fifth goals, it could and should have been a lot more, closer to double figures. Goalkeeper Lucasz Fabianski earned his crust after a very busy second half having received no support from those “defenders” in front of him.
9 goals conceded in the last two games, 18 in total during Bradley`s 7-game reign as Swansea boss. Barring the Everton performance, and the Arsenal game to clutch at straws, the performances have been woeful.
Bradley`s predecessor Francesco Guidolin received an unfair amount of criticism from some, because so far – Bradley is making him look like a world-class coach. We were losing games yes, we weren`t being humiliated though. We weren`t conceding 4-5 goals a game despite a horrible run of tough fixtures against three of the main title contenders – Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. The Liverpool performance showed plenty of promise, with a late penalty before a van der Hoorn miss denying us a point.
Sacking the Italian and replacing him should never have resulted in what followed – worse performances, and even worse results. The Swans have really got this all wrong, right from the start. Poor recruitment in the Summer sees us rock bottom of the Premier League table, leaving the club forced to look into the January transfer window to boost the squad, but the problems are far deeper than what a few buys in the New Year could solve.
Bradley adopted an overly cautious and defensive game plan today that went out of the window when Kane fired in a penalty not long before half time after a blatant dive from Alli.
Despite that, it was only a matter of time before the first went in and more goals would follow – which has often been the case when we`ve gone to White Hart Lane. The floodgates opened, and Bradley had no idea how to switch things to improve our cause. Llorente came on at the start of the second half in place of Fulton – who didn`t look quite as assured as he did at Everton, and was the obvious player to be replaced after picking up a booking.
The lost American is trying to field both Sigurdsson and Fer into the same team but it clearly doesn`t work. Fer again proved he`s of not much use in a deep-lying midfield role, while Sigurdsson clearly needs a striker.
After Kane`s opener from the spot, Son volleyed home a superb second on the stroke of half time, which was enough even then to guarantee the three points. It was a superb strike with excellent technique, but Son was completely unmarked at the far post for a free shooting chance, not the mention how our defence allowed a ball to come right across our penalty area.
Switching to a 4-2-3-1 with Llorente on in place of a midfielder and us looking to push forward to get back into the game was only going to result in one thing, getting caught out and looking even more vulnerable at the back.
That was proven true barely 3 minutes into the half, when Kane netted his second. Son made a free run right the way through the middle of the pitch, as Spurs counter-attacked quickly. Taylor tried to recover but Kane could also join in unmarked to fire past Fabianski.
4231 now then,pushing forward in search of goals, I’ll be shocked if we keep a clean sheet in this half
? Vital Swansea City (@VitalSwansea) December 3, 2016
The space just continued to open up worryingly for Spurs in our own half, and the defence was more and more of a shambles as the goals went in. A fourth saw a pathetic error from Naughton. The ball was won back on the edge of the box before the full back attempted a short pass, that gifted Spurs possession. Alli`s shot was initially saved but the ball looped off Fabianski`s leg kindly for Erikssen to get a touch from very close range.
With 20 minutes remaining, you wondered how many more would be added to the already four on Spurs` scoresheet. Fortunately, only one more, as Erikssen added a second – as they were starting to queue up inside the box to finish.
The referee finally put us out of our misery and signalled the end of another dismal day. It was worse than Manchester United at home which is saying something, and a drastic change needs to happen if we`re to avoid relegation.
I`m never one to promote the idea of sacking a manager, I like to give them a good 10 games to see how they fare, but it`s been 7 so far and the signs are not there whatsoever that can do something here.