Tottenham beat Swansea City 1-0 yesterday to climb to fourth in English soccer’s Premier League, with West Bromwich Albion missing a chance to join it on points after being held to a 0-0 home tie by West Ham.
Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen got the only goal for Spurs, who are behind third-place Chelsea on goal difference. Tottenham retains its record of never having lost to Swansea at White Hart Lane.
“I think if there was one team to win this game it was us,” Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas told reporters. “We were very patient and persistent in what we were doing and kept moving the ball well.”
Manchester United tops the standings with 42 points and Manchester City has 36, with Chelsea and Tottenham on 29. Everton and West Brom are a further two points back. Chelsea, which lost 1-0 to Brazil’s Corinthians in yesterday’s final of the FIFA Club World Cup, has played one match fewer than its rivals.
After a quiet opening spell, Tottenham created a host of chances in the first half without being able to convert any. Jermain Defoe had the first clear opportunity after 12 minutes with a low shot that goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel easily saved.
Two minutes later, the England striker had a shot blocked after running onto a pass from Mousa Dembele. Emmanuel Adebayor was denied moments later by a Chico Flores block.
Clint Dempsey was unable to score with a close-range header and Aaron Lennon also tested the goalkeeper, while Kyle Walker hit a powerful 25-yard shot that Tremmel managed to stop with his shoulder.
Swansea also had chances, with Wayne Routledge just failing to connect with a right-wing cross, and three minutes before the interval Michu almost beat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from near the halfway line.
Early in the second half, Swansea’s Nathan Dyer headed wide from six yards before Spurs started to apply pressure again. Tremmel turned a low Adebayor shot wide and collected a looping header by Vertonghen.
Adebayor limped off the field with a hamstring injury and soon after his team finally scored. A free kick by Walker was flicked on in the penalty area and Vertonghen hit a first-time shot into the bottom corner.
Swansea tried to rally, but was unable to test Lloris in the final 15 minutes.
West Brom ended a run of three straight defeats, but failed to score for a third successive game in its stalemate against West Ham.
James Morrison came closest for West Brom at The Hawthorns, heading against the bar from a Chris Brunt corner on 74 minutes.
The hosts provided the greater attacking threat and pinned the Hammers back in their half for much of the game.
West Ham did, though, also have opportunities. Carlton Cole tested goalkeeper Boaz Myhill with a powerful shot on 36 minutes, and Gary O’Neil curled an effort just wide six minutes into the second half.
“It was a real honest, solid performance from the players,” West Ham manager Sam Allardyce told Sky Sports. “We defended very well.”
The Hammers remain 11th in the standings.
Two days ago, Manchester United defeated Sunderland 3-1, City won 3-1 at Newcastle, and Everton tied 1-1 at Stoke. Queens Park Rangers recorded its first win, 2-1 against Fulham, Norwich beat Wigan 2-1, and Aston Villa won 3-1 at Liverpool.
Today, last-place Reading hosts Arsenal.