• Premier League round-up

Vertonghen fires Spurs up to fourth as WBA draw

ESPN staff
December 16, 2012
Tottenham just about edged past Swansea City © Getty Images

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Tottenham are in possession of the fourth Champions League spot after they beat Swansea on Sunday, while fellow chasers West Brom could only draw at home to West Ham.

A well-taken finish from Jan Vertonghen proved the difference as Tottenham claimed an important 1-0 victory at home to Swansea. The Belgian - restored to central defence as Kyle Naughton slotted in at left-back - showed his technical ability to turn home a deflected free-kick after 75 minutes, although the Welsh side had reason to feel aggrieved as television replays indicated Vertonghen was marginally offside.

Spurs, having picked up a habit of conceding late goals, looked nervy in the closing stages, but held on to move up to fourth in the Premier League table - level on points with third-placed Chelsea. Andre Villas-Boas will be heartened by his side's third clean sheet of the season and the energy of the irrepressible Jermain Defoe, but playmakers Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele offered little.

Emmanuel Adebayor limped off with a second-half injury and there was a brief injury-time cameo from Scott Parker, making his first appearance since suffering an Achilles injury at Euro 2012.

Shane Long could not find a breakthrough at the Hawthorns © Getty Images

Spearheaded by the Premier League's joint-top scorer Michu, Swansea rarely troubled the home goal and looked lethargic after their midweek Capital One Cup quarter-final victory over Middlesbrough.

That was in contrast to Vertonghen's intervention - which was the reward Tottenham deserved after controlling a disappointing encounter that failed to match expectations before exploding into acrimony deep into injury-time.

Swansea striker Michu was caught by Hugo Lloris as the goalkeeper punched the ball clear and fell heavily to the floor. While those players closest to the stricken Michu furiously waved to the touchline for medical assistance, Spurs played on through substitute Andros Townsend.

Incensed by Townsend's perceived lack of sportsmanship, defender Chico Flores confronted the forward and several Spurs players and was only placated when his Spanish compatriot Michu climbed to his feet.

West Brom could have leapfrogged Spurs into fourth had they won by three clear goals at home to West Ham, but they only managed a 0-0 draw at the Hawthorns. The result snapped a run of three straight losses for the Baggies, but they stay sixth level on points with Everton.

James Morrison was twice denied by the woodwork as West Brom failed to score for a third successive game in a dire stalemate. Sam Allardyce's side were worth a share of the spoils in a game which seldom moved out of second gear.

West Ham were only able to field six substitutes due to their current injury crisis after Mohamed Diame was ruled out with a hamstring injury. However, they should have taken the lead in the first half when Winston Reid spurned a gilt-edged chance from James Collins' header.

Albion started the second period on the offensive and Morrison's hooked volley struck the top of the bar. The Scotland international then struck the bar for a second time with 17 minutes remaining with a header from Chris Brunt's corner.

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