Tottenham will be aiming to collect their fourth Premier League win in succession when they make the trip to South Wales to face Swansea City, who have been badly off form in recent weeks.
Something mysterious seems to have happened to Swansea since the international break, which they entered having played some sparkling football in accumulating eight points from a possible 12. As another such interruption looms, Garry Monk is now calling on his side to make a drastic improvement from a run of matches which have seen them score just the once – from the penalty spot – and their intensity levels plummet to the extent that they have appeared something of a soft touch.
Fortunate to escape with a point at home to Everton, the Swans were barely competitive at Southampton last weekend, slipping to a comprehensive defeat. The scoring run has now passed for striker Bafetimbi Gomis, but it is not through a lack of application on his part; the supply line has evaporated during the team’s malaise. There are a number of fine players at the club, so now is the time to respond and recapture their form of the early weeks.
It cannot be much different at Tottenham, whose only recent setback has been their Capital One Cup exit at the hands of rivals Arsenal. Two narrow wins got them up and running in the Premier League, before they totally burst into life with a rousing comeback to beat high-flying Manchester City in captivatingly convincing fashion, all achieved at a time when manager Mauricio Pochettino is reducing the average age of his squad.
The impact that Delle Alli has made has earned the exciting youngster a place in the England squad, while it was an important psychological boost for Harry Kane – though from an offside position – to finally grab his first Premier League goal of the season. However, a lot of credit has gone the way of Erik Lamela, as the indications are that he is at last beginning to fulfil his potential and show why Spurs splashed out £30m on him in 2013.
Monk could make changes to his side as he looks to get his team back on song, but he has no injury problems to contend with.
Son Heung-min will be out for Tottenham, who are yet to put a timeframe on his recovery from a foot injury. Danny Rose is doubtful, but Nabil Bentaleb and Mousa Dembele could return to the fold.
Last Meeting: It became commonplace for a time last season for Tottenham to win 2-1 away from home thanks to a late winner, more often than not scored by Christian Eriksen. That is what happened at Swansea in December 2014 as the Dane struck a precise shot past Gerhard Tremmel after Harry Kane’s early opener had been cancelled out by Wilfried Bony.
Played for both – Steven Caulker: The central defender came through the Tottenham youth system and joined Swansea on a season-long loan in 2011 to aid his development. He impressed in helping them consolidate, making 26 league appearances. That enabled him to enter the Spurs first-team, but he chose to leave in the summer of 2013 having scored twice in 18 games.