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Swansea City 0-2 Tottenham – Three talking points from the Liberty Stadium

Jake Jackman

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Tottenham

Tottenham made it three successive Premier League wins in a row as they overcame a determined Swansea City team on Tuesday night. They made the decision to rest Harry Kane as the striker had been suffering with a cold and it was his replacement that opened the lead. Fernando Llorente hasn’t been given many chances, but he showed his worth with a goal against his former club. There was a hint of offside about it, but it was a good finish.

The home side were much better in the second half and did cause Tottenham problems. Luciano Narsingh looked good after coming on and Jordan Ayew grew into the game. However, they couldn’t fashion a clear-cut opportunity and they left gaps at the back to let Dele Alli put the result beyond doubt in the dying minutes. Swansea can take heart from the performance, but other results didn’t go their way and they are left deeper in the mire. Here are three talking points from the Liberty Stadium:

Dele Alli is returning to his best

It was a slow start to the season for Dele Alli as he failed to live up to his high standards from the previous two seasons. The 21-year-old is still young and was always likely to go through a rough patch of form at some point. It is impressive that he is now coming out of the other side and looks to have learned a lot from his struggles.

The England international will have his sights firmly on the World Cup and he looked motivated to do well in South Wales. His movement was excellent as he regularly found pockets of space in a packed Swansea half. During the match, he looked determined to find the back of the net, as shown by his five attempts on goal. His persistence was finally rewarded as he got his goal late on to clinch the three points. Alli now has two goals and three assists in his last three Premier League matches.

Renato Sanches is improving

The young wonderkid on Swansea City’s team showed signs of improvement as well. Renato Sanches has been much maligned since making the loan move to South Wales, but the change of manager could be what he needed to release his potential. Against Tottenham, he looked much more confident on the ball and was showing the high level of work rate that is needed in the Premier League. Carlos Carvalhal used him as part of a three-man midfield and he was certainly the pick of the bunch.

Sanches showed his ability on the ball, as he completed three dribbles and made two key passes, to improve the attacking threat of the home side. There were times when he made the wrong decision on the ball, but this was one of his most encouraging performances in the Premier League. However, it will be his work rate that will have pleased his new manager, as he won three tackles during the match. He has a long way to go, but his career is moving back on track and Swansea fans could be set for an exciting second half of the season.

The return of Victor Wanyama

Tottenham received a huge boost that may go unnoticed by many, but Victor Wanyama came off the bench against Swansea. The Kenyan international has been missing since August and he has been a major loss for Spurs, as they don’t have another midfielder that can carry out the job that the 26-year-old can. He is excellent at winning the ball back and adds tenacity to the midfield.

It was a rusty performance from Wanyama, but that is to be expected as he tries to build up his match fitness. He completed both of his attempted tackles and ended the game with a pass success rate of 91%. It is good that he is now returning from injury, as he will be able to readjust to Premier League football and be fully fit for the Champions League tie against Juventus. He will be crucial in that tie and it is positive that he is now returning from injury.

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

FA Cup

Three musts for Tottenham to achieve victory in their FA Cup semi-final

FA Cup success will be key to Tottenham’s season.

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Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur face off against Manchester United in a high-profile FA Cup semifinal on Saturday, undoubtedly marking their biggest match of the season.

Here are three things Spurs must do to secure their place in the May 19 final.

Get Eriksen involved

Christian Eriksen has perhaps been Spurs’ standout player this season, delivering consistently superb performances and chipping in with crucial goals.

In order for Spurs to gain the upper hand against the Red Devils, the Danish midfielder must control the game and be at the heart of every Spurs attack.

If Eriksen is at his unplayable best, he can combine effortlessly with the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, and break down the United backline with ease.

Keep Lukaku quiet

Romelu Lukaku presents United’s most potent goalscoring threat, and with 27 goals to his name this season, is enjoying a career-best year.

Lukaku came off the bench against Bournemouth on Wednesday and slotted home an assured finish, marking his eighth goal in his last ten appearances for club and country.

The Belgian’s red-hot form will give Tottenham’s centre-backs cause for concern, but his Belgian international teammates will have to be more than up to the fight to nullify Lukaku.

Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld will know Lukaku’s strengths all too well and must be strong and resolute to deny the striker any whiff of goal.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Stop the feared United comeback

If Spurs end up taking the lead at Wembley, they must be vigilant of letting Manchester United back into the match.

The Red Devils have shown an incredible knack for getting back into matches; their 3-2 come-from-behind win at the Etihad is a prime example of that. United have also recently beat Crystal Palace after trailing 2-0, and clearly never consider themselves out of a match.

Tottenham must be mindful to not let their concentration slip when ahead, as Manchester United will surely make them pay.

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Bournemouth

Can Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe become Everton’s next ‘David Moyes’?

Eddie Howe could follow in the footsteps of former Toffees boss David Moyes.

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Eddie Howe
Photo: Getty Images

On Wednesday night, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side were unlucky to fall to a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, as the Premier League 11th ranked club gave the Red Devils a torrid time.

The remarkable success of the young English manager at Dean Court bears an uncanny resemblance to the career path of David Moyes. Just like Moyes, Howe would be a perfect fit at Goodison Park.

In 1998, Moyes began his managerial career at the tender age of 34 at Preston North End, who were then struggling at the foot of the third division of English football. The Scot proceeded to engineer a fantastic turnaround at the club, avoiding relegation in his first season and achieving promotion just two years later.

Moyes brought Preston within inches of promotion to the Premier League the very next season, but the Lilywhites were defeated in the play-off final by Bolton.

Everton v West Ham United - Premier League

(Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)

In 2002, the Merseyside club came knocking, signing Moyes in March with the club in the relegation dogfight. The Glaswegian kept the Toffees up that season, and the rest is history.

11 years at Goodison Park brought unprecedented success, with Champions League qualification, a string of top-seven finishes, and even finishing above dreaded rivals Liverpool on occasion.

Just like Moyes, Eddie Howe started his career in coaching in his early thirties, and has enjoyed immense success in lifting a lower-league club up the English league system.

Howe took over at Bournemouth when he was 31, steering them clear of the League 2 relegation places in 2009, gaining promotion to League 1 in 2010, going up to the Championship in 2014, and reaching the Premier League in 2015.

If anything, Howe has experienced more success than Moyes before joining Everton, as his Bournemouth side have tremendously overachieved in the top flight and look set to secure their Premier League status for the third consecutive year.

Everton would do well to acquire the services of the youthful English manager in the summer, as his arrival just might spark a similar revival to that of David Moyes.

With his incredible knack of getting the best out of his players, Howe would revitalise the Toffees and breath fresh life into a directionless club; just like the Scot did 16 years ago.

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Burnley

Sold by Everton in January, Aaron Lennon is enjoying resurgence with Burnley

The 31-year-old has quickly adjusted to life at Turf Moor.

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Photo: Getty Images

In Thursday night’s tightly-fought Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea, the Clarets came within touching distance of eclipsing Arsenal in sixth position.

It has been a remarkable charge up the table for Burnley, and their stunning season is mirrored by the transfer of Aaron Lennon from Everton to Turf Moor.

The 31-year-old winger left Goodison Park in search of regular playing time, and has since slotted into a squad far more ambitious than Everton.

When Lennon was bought by the Clarets in late January, Burnley were just three points ahead of the Toffees. But after Thursday’s match against Chelsea, Burnley now sit in seventh position, a massive ten points in front of Everton.

It is clear that Lennon made the smart move in the winter when leaving struggling Everton for buoyant Burnley.

The ten-point gap between the two sides is due mainly to a superb five-match winning run engineered by Burnley. Lennon had started all five of those matches, contributing two assists along the way along with a host of bright, attacking displays.

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Cruelly for the Merseyside club, Burnley’s scintillating spell was kickstarted by a 2-1 win over Everton, in which Lennon played all 90 minutes and earned an impressive WhoScored match rating of 7.3.

To make matters worse for Everton, Lennon’s match rating eclipsed both Theo Walcott’s and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s, both players who were preferred in front of the 31-year-old at Goodison Park.

Although Burnley’s fine spell was narrowly ended by Chelsea in a 2-1 defeat, the club still harbours an outside chance at an audacious sixth-place finish. Burnley faces three sides in the bottom half of the table in the form of Bournemouth, Brighton, and Stoke City, as well as a massive match at the Emirates to face Arsenal.

With Arsenal enduring a terrible run of form in 2018, Burnley will fancy their chances away at the Gunners, and former Everton winger Aaron Lennon will surely be at the heart of their lethal attack.

If Lennon can achieve a record-sixth placed finish with the Clarets, he will show the Everton hierarchy just how wrong they were in letting him leave in January.

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