Bale and Vertonghen prove that Spurs are now a two-man team

Posted by Dan Fitch

One day Spurs will start the second half with a 2-0 lead, score an early goal to make it 3-0 and then cruise to victory, with the manager even having the opportunity to substitute key players to keep starters' legs fresh for the next match.

They're not there yet. Up 2-0 against Swansea you sensed the game wasn't over. Tottenham weren't safe. Sure enough, they sat back and the pressure eventually told. Michu scored from a set piece because the team was too busy moaning about the decision to award a corner, to mark him properly. At 2-1, it was nail-biting stuff as Spurs struggled to hold on.

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The goal wasn't the only lazy bit of defending. There was an earlier incident when Swansea took a quick free kick on the edge of the box, while the Tottenham defence were still chatting amongst themselves. Thankfully, goalkeeper Brad Friedel was paying attention and made a very good save.

Most of Swansea's attacks came down the right side with Kyle Naughton again struggling at left back. To be fair to him, he had little protection down that wing, with the right-footed Gylfi Sigurdsson playing in front of him. It's pretty plain that Andre Villas-Boas doesn't really rate Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

In midfield, Scott Parker struggled with the pace at times and was lucky to not receive a second yellow card and get his marching orders. Up front, Emmanuel Adebayor linked play up well but missed a chance that demonstrated his lack of confidence in front of goal right now.

If you're thinking that I'm being negative, you're right, because this column, like the match, is a game of two halves. That was the bad news. This is the good news.

Swansea are a tough side to play, especially away from home. Any away side that goes there knows that they are not going to see an awful lot of the ball. You have to make the most of the possession you do have.

Thankfully, that's something that Spurs are very adept at. We saw again on Saturday how effective the team can be on the break. Bale's pace running through the centre caused all sorts of problems. The Welshman set up the first goal and scored the second. Both were sumptuous finishes to very good moves.

It is Jan Vertonghen's first goal that is my favourite, because central defenders are simply not meant to be that good on the ball. He passed to Bale and kept on running forward. Bale picked out a perfect pass and the Belgian controlled the ball beautifully and rolled it first time into the net. It was a masterful finish worthy of any striker you care to mention, but for a defender to do that was something else.

It was the same combination reversed that gave Spurs the second goal. This time, it was Vertonghen who played an angled ball into Bale, who took one touch with his right before belting it in from outside the area with the outside of his left foot.

The way that Vertonghen is performing right now, those people saying that Spurs are a one-man team are going to have to double their assessment. He's defended very well all season but is now contributing at the other end in a similar manner as he did at Ajax last season.

It was vital that Spurs got back to winning ways, and, although the performance wasn't perfect, the result was. Tottenham went back up to third with Saturday's win, as Chelsea lost away at Southampton.

It was interesting that Rafa Benitez decided to rest a number of key players with an eye on Monday's FA Cup game against Manchester United. It showed where his priorities lie, and who can blame him? Why wouldn't he want an FA Cup or Europa League win to add to his CV rather than a Champions League qualification that he's not going to be around for anyway?

Such an attitude is good news for Spurs. With the fixtures to come, it is unrealistic to expect that the team won't drop points. With Arsenal's cup failures ensuring that they are free to concentrate on the league, it could come down to a battle with a Chelsea team whose main attention lies elsewhere.

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