Sunday 16 December 2018

Christian Eriksen inspires Tottenham to FA Cup victory over Swansea

Swansea 0 Tottenham 3

Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen (centre) celebrates
Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen (centre) celebrates

Phil Blanche

Tottenham strolled into the semi-finals of the FA Cup with a Christian Eriksen-inspired 3-0 victory over Swansea.

Eriksen capped a masterful midfield performance by scoring twice to take his personally tally against Swansea to an astonishing eight goals in 10 games, while Erik Lamela was also on target.

There was no Harry Kane or Dele Alli in Spurs' XI - the former injured and the latter rested until granted a late cameo - as Mauricio Pochettino made seven changes from the side which had won at Bournemouth last weekend.

But, on this evidence, Spurs have a real shot at winning the first trophy of Pochettino's four-year reign and their first since the 2008 League Cup.

They will also have the advantage, of course, of playing the rest of the competition at their temporary Wembley home.

Swansea had not graced the FA Cup quarter-finals for 54 years, but they went down with a whimper and must now concentrate on the battle for Premier League survival.

Seven straight wins at the Liberty Stadium were soon forgotten as Spurs established a real control on proceedings.

It was embarrassingly easy, though not entirely unpredictable considering the fact Swansea had not beaten Spurs in 14 Premier League attempts and have to go back to 1991 for their last win over Tottenham.

The home side's attacking flurry lasted as long as the morning's snow shower, over in a matter of minutes after Michel Vorm had raced from his goal to prevent Nathan Dyer rounding him.

Tammy Abraham showed up well in those early moments, but the England youngster soon vanished almost without trace as Spurs dominated possession and showed a predatory touch even without Kane.

There are few bigger compliments to give Spurs than to say they did not miss the England striker - who has scored 53 goals in his last 53 matches - and they should have been out of sight before half-time.

Either side of Eriksen's wonderful 11th-minute opener and Lamela's terrific effort on the stroke of half-time, Spurs created chance after chance.

Eriksen thundered the bar, Lucas Moura missed from six yards and Eric Dier flashed a free header over the bar, while the video assistant referee also denied Spurs what they thought was a legitimate goal.

The controversy came on 23 minutes when Son Heung-min went clean through and crashed the ball home off the underside of the crossbar, only to be denied by the assistant referee's flag.

Spurs immediately appealed for the decision to be reviewed and despite replays seemingly showing Son to be level, the original verdict was upheld after a lengthy delay.

Just as it was against Rochdale in the previous round, the issue of VAR was once again at the forefront in the FA Cup - and again Tottenham felt aggrieved.

But such was the gulf between the sides, the disallowed goal was scarcely a factor in the result.

Tottenham took control after Eriksen's brilliant curled effort and, with Swansea so passive and the Dane seemingly at the centre of everything, Spurs enjoyed an extraordinary amount of possession.

The second seemed inevitable and that it took until injury time at the end of the first half was a surprise.

But after Eriksen and Moura combined, Lamela danced past Tom Carroll and swept home right-footed.

The contest might have changed if former Swansea goalkeeper Vorm had not brilliantly kept out Martin Olsson's firm drive and Abraham's point-blank follow-up within seconds of the restart.

But Spurs made them pay the price when Eriksen fired home a decisive third after Moura's run just past the hour.

The final half-hour was played out amid an air of crushing inevitability, with the two sides left to consider very different priorities during the final months of the season.

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