Tottenham 1 Swansea 0
THERE was no Gareth Bale but still a torrent of pressure, and Swansea City eventually succumbed as they lost 1-0 to Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
The Welshman’s looming world-record move to Real Madrid had dominated the build-up to this match, though Roberto Soldado’s second-half penalty suggested life without Bale might not be so bleak for Spurs.
Soldado’s winner was the least Tottenham deserved for a dominant display, while the Swans could create only a handful of chances as they suffered a second defeat from their opening two Premier League fixtures this season.
It is a sobering statistic for Swansea but, having faced reigning champions Manchester United last weekend, it is one they will take with a pinch of salt.
Likewise the fact that they are now bottom of the table and, although Michael Laudrup’s men were better than they were against United, they were outplayed by a superior Spurs side.
Both teams made three changes from their respective Europa League victories on Thursday, with Swansea opting to start with club-record signing Wilfried Bony on the bench.
Michu was moved up front and the industrious Jose Canas drafted into midfield as Laudrup sought to flood the midfield, though it was Spurs who controlled that area early on.
The physically imposing Etienne Capoue, one of the hosts’ four summer signings on display, excelled in an anchoring role, while another new recruit, Paulinho, was a thrusting force from central midfield.
Both had shots from distance well saved by Michel Vorm, and Swansea’s goalkeeper was called into action more dramatically to thwart close-range efforts from Paulinho and Mousa Dembele.
The Swans’ goal led something of a charmed life in the first half, with Ashley Williams heading against his own post and the hosts shooting waywardly from promising positions.
It was a small wonder the game remained goalless at the interval, particularly as Jonjo Shelvey’s foul on Andros Townsend in the Swansea penalty area only resulted in a free-kick.
Laudrup’s men had created chances of their own – Wayne Routledge and Shelvey forcing Hugo Lloris into a couple of saves – but Tottenham continued to press after the restart.
It was no surprise, therefore, when Spurs took the lead shortly before the hour mark.
In a case of deja vu, Shelvey felled Townsend in the Swans’ box but this time referee Neil Swarbrick pointed to the spot, and Soldado calmly converted his spot-kick to give Spurs a deserved lead.
That prompted a spirited response from Swansea, who came close to equalising through Chico Flores’s sweetly-struck volley and a shot from Pablo Hernandez which curled narrowly wide.
Laudrup brought Bony on in an attempt to give the Swans’ attack a more rugged edge, but those efforts proved fruitless as Tottenham eased to a second successive 1-0 victory.