Soldado on target again as Tottenham beats Swansea
Roberto Soldado extended his hot scoring streak at the start of his Tottenham career, getting his fourth goal in three games on Sunday to clinch a 1-0 victory over Swansea.
Just as in last weekend's Premier League opener against Crystal Palace, Soldado, who arrived from Valencia for 30 million euros ($40 million), was on target from the penalty spot against Swansea.
The Spain striker, who also scored twice in the Europa League on Thursday, slotted past Michel Vorm in the 58th minute after Andros Townsend was fouled by Jonjo Shelvey.
Soldado's goals are softening the blow of losing Gareth Bale, who is on the verge of joining Real Madrid and hasn't played as the transfer has been negotiated.
''Hopefully you can have more news in the next couple of days,'' manager Andre Villas-Boas said on Bale's future.
Even without last season's top scorer, Tottenham, which finished fifth last season, has opened the new campaign with back-to-back wins for the first time in four years.
Swansea, though, has lost both its matches, leaving the south Wales club with just 2 wins in 13 league games since winning the League Cup in February.
From the start, though, Tottenham was the more powerful side, imposing itself on the visitors and controlling the midfield.
Tottenham on Sunday was smarting from Brazil midfielder Willian being announced as a Chelsea recruit, having been on the verge of signing for the north London side from Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala last week.
Tottenham is also pursuing Steaua Bucharest defender Vlad Chiriches before the transfer window closes on Sept. 2, although Villas-Boas quipped: ''Maybe somebody steals him as well.''
Yet, it's been a successful few weeks in the transfer market, with Tottenham clearly spending the windfall exceeding $120 million it is set to receive for Bale.
As well as Soldado making his first competitive appearance at White Hart Lane, Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli and Paulinho also started for the first time at home.
''These additions are really showing quality, plus they have brought to the team a new mentality - we look sharper, we (have) a great will to win,'' Villas-Boas said. ''We are able to run the game down, control the possession and get the result.''
Paulinho was a constant threat throughout a first half where the goalkeepers shone with their agility and saves - particularly Vorm in the Swansea goal.
He denied Paulinho after seven minutes after the Brazilian wrong-footed Jose Canas.
At the other end, Hugo Lloris made a double-save to first thwart Wayne Routledge, and then Michu.
Swansea nearly gifted Tottenham an opener.
Ashley Williams headed against his own crossbar from Kyle Walker's cross while attempting to clear, and Paulinho followed up with a powerful strike that was saved by Vorm.
And when Mousa Dembele struck from Walker's cutback, Vorm was alert to tip over - as he was when Walker whipped in a dangerous cross.
Tottenham reacted with anger before halftime when only a free kick - not a penalty - was given when Townsend was fouled by Shelvey in the area.
But there was no mistake from referee Neil Swarbrick after the break when Townsend's advance was blocked again by Shelvey.
''He is really adding to our game because he brings that light and spark into our game,'' Villas-Boas said of Townsend. ''He is a very explosive player.''
Tottenham, which failed to win a single penalty last season, has now been awarded two in two league games.
And, once again, Soldado coolly slotted the ball into the net.
Tottenham, though, eased off after finally taking the lead, and was put under intense pressure from Swansea.
The hosts had Lloris to thank for protecting the three points by tipping over Chico Flores' volley.
Although Spurs are yet to score from open play in the league this season, they are showing they can cope without Bale.