Tottenham vs. Swansea: Key Questions for Spurs Heading into EPL Clash

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2012

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Everton player Sylvain Distin can only watch as Spurs player Gylfi Sigurdsson gets in a shot at goal during the Barclays Premier game between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on December 9, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur look to continue their run at the top of the Premier League table in a key matchup with Swansea City Sunday.

Tottenham is enjoying a great season thus far. It stands at No. 5 in the table with eight wins, six losses and two draws on the season. Despite the great start, it will be important for Tottenham to continue to play well every week with Swansea nipping at their heels. 

The Swans have experienced mixed results this season and find themselves in the top 10 with an opportunity to make some serious ground with a win over the Spurs. 

This is sure to be a great match as these two teams appear to be evenly matched and have a lot to play for. Here are the key questions that will shape the outcome when these two teams take the pitch.


What Impact Will Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto Have?

The Spurs are putting a respectable campaign together as they are, but the strength of the squad should be strengthened by the potential returns of Parker and Assou-Ekotto. 

Parker has yet to play at all this season thanks to an Achilles injury, and Assou-Ekotto has missed three months due a knee injury. 

According to Sports Illustrated, both Paker and Assou-Ekotto are possibilities to be in the lineup against Swansea. 

After missing so much time, it's unlikely that either of these players see extended minutes on the pitch, but it will be interesting to see how they look in their returns. 


Will Gareth Bale Bounce Back?

Gareth Bale hasn't missed nearly as much time as Parker and Assou-Ekotto. He last played two weeks ago when he injured his hamstring against Fulham.

Nonetheless, he should be making his return to the lineup against Swansea, and everyone will want to see how he bounces back. 

Bale has played well this season, but he has earned the reputation as a diver after earning four bookings for simulation throughout the season. 

According to ESPN, the star winger recently had talks with referees' representatives over the issue and hopes to shed that reputation. With his "diving" becoming a bigger issue, one has to wonder if it will mean that Bale is any less aggressive in the box. 

The Spurs will need him to contribute to have the best attack possible. That means that a tentative Bale is the last thing they want to see. He needs to get right back to playing at the level he was playing when he left. 


Can the Spurs Stop Swansea's Momentum?

This is a pivotal matchup for both teams. A win for either team would do wonders for them in terms of their position on the table. 

Despite the lower current standing for Swansea, the club has been playing really well lately and has the tools to really challenge Tottenham despite traveling to White Hart Line. 

The Swans are coming off of a big win over Middlesbrough to advance in the Capital One Cup and have won three of their last five games and only lost once. 

The Spurs, on the other hand, are coming off a loss to Everton in which they gave up two goals in mere minutes to lose and will need this win to regain the form that they've been playing with before the late-game meltdown.