Swansea 0-3 Tottenham: Two positives for the Swans
What are the first impressions when one sees a 3-0 scoreline that goes against one's side? Usually the assumption is it was a calamitous defeat; the club held dear has been outclassed on the day by their opponent. The disappointment should be depressing.
Swansea had six days to prepare for their FA Cup quarterfinal match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Liberty Stadium. Their sole objective was to stay in the contest as long as possible. They failed.
Up against a Spurs team still licking their Champions League wounds and intent on making amends by securing a second consecutive FA Cup semi-final berth, Swansea needed to be at their best to stand a chance. They were not.
From the opposite perspective, the game also presented an opportunity for Spurs to test themselves without the injured Harry Kane. They did just fine without their talisman.
Christian Ericksen bossed the game from start to finish. He carved open his Welsh opponents at will. The Dane broke the deadlock in the tenth minute. His sublime effort was followed by Eric Lamela’s at the stroke of halftime. Ericksen ended the contest in the 62nd minute with his campaign's 11th strike.
Swansea’s sublime FA Cup run couldn’t endure the firepower from a clinical side. Still, Carlos Carvalhal's group can draw a couple of positives from that defeat.
Defeat provides focus
Bournemouth defeated West Brom 2-1 in yesterday's limited Premier League action. Crystal Palace won. The Baggies are now ten points from safety with seven games to play. For all intent and purpose they are relegated. Seven other clubs are either in the drop zone now or within one result of falling in, Swansea among them. The Swans are 14th but with just 31 points from 30 games. They need to focus on their top-flight survival.
From now until season's end the Swans have eight finals, none of which will be a walk in the park. They travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United when club play resumes in a fortnight. There are tricky encounters against Manchester City, Chelsea and Stoke. The one gimme on their list is the match with West Brom in early April.
Roberto Martinez won the FA Cup with Wigan in 2011 then was relegated shortly after by Arsenal. The Spaniard has moved on but one has to wonder whether club owner Dave Whelan would trade that trophy for Premier League survival. Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal has his priorities in order.
My focus is on staying in the Premier League and that does not change. We must completely focus on the Premier League and not think about the cup. We have eight cup finals now but they all come for us in the league.
Best run since 64
Since arriving at the Liberty stadium late last year Carvalhal has lifted spirits in South Wales. The Swans were stuck on 20th at the time. They’ve since handed the keys to the cellar to the Baggies and moved six rungs up the ladder.
Their illustrious FA Cup campaign sheds more light on their massive improvement. The Swans recalled fond FA Cup memories from the 60s.
In 1964 Swansea was enduring life at the seat of Division 2. Avoiding relegation from that division would have been acceptable. The Swans went one better, becoming the FA Cup dark horse. They bundled out Liverpool in the sixth round to reach the semis.
This time they only reached the quarters yet, if they stay up in the bargain, their FA Cup run will be a memorable achievement.