Tottenham keep title hopes alive as Dele Alli inspires late comeback to beat Swansea

Rob Stewart
The Independent
Dele Alli helped inspire Tottenham's late show: Getty
Dele Alli helped inspire Tottenham's late show: Getty

Tottenham’s hopes of winning the Premier League for the first time were invigorated thanks to a stunning late comeback.

A performance that was off-colour on so many different levels seemed set to result in a shock defeat but then Dele Alli cancelled out Wayne Routledge’s early opener before Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen scored in stoppage time.

In contrast to the joyous scenes among the visiting supporters, there were ominous signs hours before kick-off when the Spurs captain, Hugo Lloris, complained of feeling unwell after his pre-match lunch at the team hotel and he was told to stay put.

His absence should have mattered not against a team who were paralysed by the fear of relegation when they took fellow strugglers Middlesbrough at the weekend.

But the trouble was, his own malaise proved to be infectious as his colleagues produced a singularly anaemic performance which only burst into life as a sense of desperation spread among the visitors.

Indeed, it somehow seemed fitting that the Spurs team should be wearing a peculiar sickly-looking gold third-choice shirt – maybe a show of sympathy for Lloris.

Spurs may have made a bright start but then it was a case of Tottering rather than Tottenham Hotspur as Swansea made Mauricio Pochettino’s team look anything but title contenders.

The former Spurs winger, Wayne Routledge, who only made a handful of appearances while on the books at White Hart Lane before being discarded, put things into perspective when he put his side ahead in the 11th minute.

Spurs had already done the flattering to deceive thing nicely by squandering two decent openings when their defence was caught out by a long hoof forward by Lukasz Fabianski.

Pochettino’s back four were all over the place and Jordan Ayew ran rings round former Swansea full-back Ben Davies on the by-line, much to the surprise of Toby Alderweireld who allowed Routledge the space to leather the ball past Michel Vorn from close-range.


Swansea had the edge over their more illustrious rivals throughout a refreshingly open first half as Paul Clement’s comfortably kept Spurs at bay, thanks mainly to imperious defending by Federico Fernandez.

He was in the thick of the action when Spurs finally raised their game after the break when appeals for a penalty for a hand-ball after Son Heung-min’s shot was blocked by the outstanding Fernandes were waved away by referee Jon Moss.

Back came Swansea and Kyle Naughton very nearly doubled the lead just before the hour but his low shot was deflected just wide as Spurs were left hanging on.


The contest became increasingly frenetic and Pochettino sent on the hapless striker Vincent Janssen in place of the underwhelming Moussa Sissoko and Spurs pressure intensified.

It was only thanks to former Arsenal goalkeeper Fabianski that the visitors were kept at bay as he expertly denied substitute Vincent Janssen and then Alli before the game went from sublime to ridiculous.

Alli came to his team’s rescue in the 88th minute when he scored from close range following a shot-come-cross by Erikssen.

Spurs were clearly in no mood to settle for a point and Son put his team ahead in the first minute of stoppage time when he beat Fabianski from 12 yards after good work by Janssen.

Eriksen completed a stunning turnaround when he planted a shot past Fabianski after a fine pass by Alli to ensured Spurs’ Premier League ambitions were well and truly alive.

Swansea (4-3-3):

Swansea (4-3-3): Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson: Carroll, Fer, Cork; Routledge, J Ayew (McBurnie, 74), Sigurdsson.

Subs: Nordfeldt, Amat, Ki Sung-yueng, Montero, Narsingh, Kingsley,

Booked: Ayew

Tottenham (4-2-3-1):

Vorm; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies (Nkoudou 79); Dier, Dembélé; Sissoko (Janssen 61), Alli, Eriksen; Son Heung-min

Subs: López, Trippier, Onomah, Wimmer, Carter-Vickers.

Booked: Dier

Referee: Jon Moss

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