Swansea City will be looking to end a disappointing run of form when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.
Michael Laudrup's Swansea (5-6-10) had a terrific season last time out, winning their first ever silverware (the League Cup) and finishing impressively high in the table. However, the Swans have been far less consistent in this campaign, and have failed to win any of their last seven league games - dropping them deep into the relegation struggle. Sunday's visitors may be fighting on different fronts, but Laudrup sees the game as an opportunity for a morale-boosting victory.
"Everybody wants so much to win," he said. "We need those three points so that we can move forward. This period is so important for us. One win can change the whole atmosphere and a few results can change everything.
"I think that the last 11 teams in this moment are all considered to be in battle, and it could go on like that for at least seven or eight games. If one team wins two consecutive games, they can move away. It's so close. But it all depends on what we can do, during the next month and a half from Spurs to Crystal Palace.
"No disrespect to Spurs, but I believe they are beatable and we can win this game."
Tottenham (12-4-5) have dropped out of both cup competitions since the arrival of Tim Sherwood a little over a month ago, but have picked up an impressive number of points in the league, winning four and drawing one of his five games in charge. The new manager's change of style has inevitably led to a host of transfer rumours relating to players brought to the club during Andre Villas-Boas' tenure, and Sherwood isn't denying the possibility of some departures.
"I think Franco (Baldini) might be working in the background regarding a lot of transfers," said the Spurs boss. "Players want to play but my priority is to keep us as strong and competitive as possible, and I wouldn't be making any decisions based on any national team.
"You can only go with a certain amount of players, obviously the pressure's on because it's a World Cup year for a lot of these players. It's important that they're playing. We can't guarantee that they're going to get maximum game time, but we certainly won't be leaving ourselves short. If no-one left I wouldn't be shedding any tears over that either."
Both teams have major injury problems. Swansea have concerns over Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring), Dwight Tiendalli (hamstring), Jonathan de Guzman (calf), Roland Lamah (groin), Michel Vorm (knee) and Nathan Dyer (ankle), while Jose Canas (ankle), Pablo Hernandez (hamstring), Michu (ankle) and Garry Monk (knee) are out. Tottenham are missing Paulinho (ankle), Younes Kaboul (hip) and Jan Vertonghen (ankle), while Kyle Walker (calf), Erik Lamela (hip), Gylfi Sigurdsson (calf), Andros Townsend (hamstring) and Sandro (calf) are all doubts.
A Roberto Soldado penalty gave Spurs a 1-0 win when these teams met back in August. Swansea had a greater share of possession in the game, but were out-shot 19-7 by the Lilywhites. The Londoners have won the last four league meetings between the teams (by a combined score of 7-1) and have only dropped one point against the Swans since they were promoted to the top flight in 2011.
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- Tottenham Hotspur
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- Michael Laudrup