Fixture Reviews

After drawing 2-2 with Bournemouth on the weekend, next up for Garry Monk’s Swansea City is a trip to Anfield to take on a buoyant and revitalised Liverpool.

The Swans were held by relegation-threatened Bournemouth on Saturday – and if it wasn’t for a first-half comeback, the Cherries could well have taken all three points.

For large parts of the contest, Howe’s side were the better team. They had more of the ball, more shots at goal, and they will certainly feel aggrieved that they didn’t take maximum points back to Dean Court with them.

Unfortunately for the Swans, a trip to Anfield to take on an in-form Liverpool side isn’t exactly ideal right now. Jurgen Klopp’s side are fresh off the back of a master-class performance, which saw them comfortably see off Manchester City 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Reds were a class above City, and in truth, they could quite easily have scored more than just the four.

A trip to Anfield is tough at any given time, but a trip to face a Liverpool side who are starting to find their feet under a world-class manager is an ominous sign for anyone.

We take a look at what Swansea can learn from the Reds’ faultless display in Manchester, and what threats they will cause the Swans this weekend.

NEXT: Liverpool Looking Good

Swansea City entertain Bournemouth this weekend, with both sides eager to claim all three points.

Currently, the Swans and the Cherries are two of the Premier League’s most out-of-form teams. Garry Monk’s side have tasted just one victory success in eight league games, whilst Eddie Howe’s troops haven’t won since beating Sunderland 2-0 at home in mid-September – I think it’s fair to say that both sides are in somewhat of a crisis at present.

Bournemouth’s struggle is not too surprising. They are Premier League new boys, and the majority of promoted clubs struggle to adapt to the pace and rigours of the Premier League.

But as for the Swans, their plight has been a shock and a real wake-up call for Monk and co. After starting the season so brightly, Swansea have gone off the boil at a rate of knots. Since beating Manchester United at the end of August, the Swans have only won once since, that came against struggling Aston Villa last month.

Nevertheless, we’re going to focus on Bournemouth, and what kind of a threat they will pose on Saturday. Even though the Championship champions currently occupy a place in the relegation zone, they still have players who are more than capable of troubling the Swans at the Liberty this weekend.

We take a look at three Bournemouth players who Swansea need to watch out for the most tomorrow.

NEXT: Gifted Scotland International

Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur played out a very entertaining 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

Swansea went into the game with Spurs without a win in any competition in four.  In contrast, the visitors had won their previous three Premier League fixtures on the bounce.

A header by the excellent Andre Ayew gave the Swans the lead on 16 minutes, only for Spurs’ Danish international Christian Eriksen to equalise with a free-kick.

Harry Kane then sliced into his own net four minutes later to send Garry Monk’s team 2-1 up going into the break. However, it was that man Eriksen again who had the last laugh – another expertly taken free-kick beat Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea net and meant that the Swans and the Lilywhites shared the points.

Although Swansea led twice and would have been slightly disappointed not to have taken all three points, a draw against Mauricio Pochettino’s men signals a very good result and somewhat puts a stop the mini slump in form.

Garry Monk went on record to say that the Swans were back to their best after the draw – and we pick out the top three positives to take from Swansea City’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

NEXT: Ghananain Back in the Goals

Garry Monk’s Swansea City earned a hard-fought 0-0 draw at home with Everton on Saturday.

The Swans and Roberto Martinez’s Toffees battled it out for a point a piece at the Liberty Stadium on the weekend. Both sides had half chances but ultimately it turned out to be a game for the defenders. Swansea’s backline and Everton’s defence both held strong throughout, and a goalless draw way probably a fair result.

Speaking after the match, Swans boss Garry Monk revealed how a 0-0 draw with Everton shows signs of progress. Speaking to reporters after the game, Monk said;

“I think that was a good marker to see where we’re at. We more than matched them. I thought we were great.

“That shows how far we’ve come as a club, the fact we’re talking about Everton with all their history and the power they have in this league. For us to feel we’re on par and just as good as them… shows how far we’ve come as a team.”

Despite not being able to secure all three points, there were still plenty of positives to take. We pick out the top three positives from Swansea City’s 0-0 draw with Everton on Saturday.

NEXT: Stalwart Skipper

Garry Monk’s Swansea City continued their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a creditable and hard-fought 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

The Swans were far from their blistering best in the North East and the game really could have gone either way. The Stadium of Light crowd were ferocious and extremely expectant, and as a consequence Monk’s side failed to produce their free-flowing attacking football.

However, as usual, Swansea dominated possession and dictated a lot of the play. Bafetimbi Gomis made it three goals in three games with an excellently taken strike in first-half stoppage time. Right-back Kyle Naughton raced through midfield before slotting a beautifully weighted ball through to the Frenchman to give Swansea the lead.

To be fair to the hosts, they rallied in the second-half and would not give in. Just after the hour mark, Jermain Defoe equalised after some good link-up play from former Swansea man Danny Graham and new signing Jeremain Lens.

Overall, the Swans would have been disappointed not to have taken all three points, but then happy to have brought back a point to South Wales at the same time, it was that type of game.

Despite not getting the win, there were plenty of positives to take from the 1-1 draw with Sunderland on Saturday.

NEXT: Defender’s Emergence

leicester-v-swans-analysis

With the sun shining in the East Midlands Swansea were unable to make it four games unbeaten, falling to a 1-0 defeat at Leicester City. Leonardo Ulloa steered home in the fifteenth minute and despite a few decent spells in the second half few will be able to argue with the result, and had it not been for some poor finishing the hosts could have added further goals to their lead.

Ulloa’s opener came after the ball rolled into his path, and he expertly steered into the bottom corner. It was the striker’s first league goal since Boxing Day and he was clearly delighted to get on the scoresheet. Swansea did have chances in the first half, notably through Shelvey & Sigurdsson, but Nelson Oliveira was struggling to get into the game and Leicester should really have created more with the dominance they experienced before the break.

The game continued in a similar vein after the restart, but Swansea clearly had a bit more drive and determination to get on the ball. This was strengthened when Jefferson Montero arrived from the bench, but Nelson Oliveira’s departure for Marvin Emnes cancelled out the added impetus as the Swans ability to retain the ball in the final third was dampened.

That set the scene nicely for Leicester to capitalise, and capitalise they did. Cambiasso hit a free-kick at goal which bounced in front of Lukasz Fabianski, and the Pole could only parry the ball into the path of Andy King, who steered home from close range. Poor from Fabianski who’s been excellent this season.

A disappointing result for the Swans, but Leicester did play well and we can’t win every week. Kasper Schmeichel made a couple of decent saves but the result was fair, and we now move on to Newcastle away where Swansea will once again go in search of a point (or three) which would see them set a new records for points accrued in the Premier League.

What had been billed as a feast for fans of pure football turned more into a scrappy war of attrition this afternoon, but after going behind to Aaron Lennon’s first-half opener Swansea fought back to level through Jonjo Shelvey’s equaliser.

Swansea started the game brightly, and Bafetimbi Gomis was having fun in the early exchanges. After almost fashioning an opening thanks to a good ball from Sigurdsson he went close with a long-range effort, but Howard was equal to it in the Everton goal.

Sadly for Swansea Gomis pulled his hamstring in attempting the latter shot, and was replaced by Marvin Emnes shortly after. This affected Swansea’s momentum and while they did have a brief first-half resurgence following Gomis’ substitution, Everton started coming into the game more and more.

It would result in a goal too. A sign of things to come came a minute or so earlier when Seamus Coleman found space at right-back, but the warning wasn’t heeded and Aaron Lennon found acres of space at the far post to steer a finish into the far post. The goal came after 41 minutes and Everton had managed to do what Swansea hadn’t – score when on top.

With the scores level at the break Swansea didn’t make any changes, instead looking to get in Everton’s faces and make it difficult for their opponents. It took a while but they managed to get on top, and at the end of one of their better spells Marvin Emnes – who came into the match a lot more in the second half – ran at Seamus Coleman before the Everton defender handled the ball whilst stumbling under the Dutchman’s pressure.

Michael Oliver flagged for a penalty and Jonjo Shelvey wasn’t fazed by Howard’s delaying tactics, coolly slotting the ball into the bottom right of the net with Howard having dived the wrong way. 1-1, and game on with over 20 minutes to play.

The rest of the game went from end to end with Everton having the better of it, truth be told. The Swans did look to create openings but without a static presence up front we struggled to build attacks, and Everton probably controlled more of the game by the time the final whistle blew.

Monk will hope the injury to Bafetimbi Gomis isn’t serious, as with Nelson Oliveira currently sidelined with a foot problem Swansea look perilously thin up top. That won’t detract from a hard-won point for Garry Monk’s men though, who are now level with their best ever points tally in the Premier League with six games to spare. This still has the potential to be a famous season for Swansea, and this result will have done nothing to temper Swansea ambitions of a lofty finish.

Swansea City yesterday claimed a deserved 3-1 win over Hull City thanks to two goals from Bafetimbi Gomis and a tap-in from Ki Sung-Yueng, a result which saw them break their previous record for most wins in a season and edge to within a point of equalling their record points tally at Premier League level.

Pre-match it was obvious that, on paper, the match meant more to Hull and while there were signs early on that the Humbersiders really needed the points, the Swans deserved to be up at half-time. First Ki tapped in from a rebounding Jonjo Shelvey long-shot before, as half time drew near, Bafetimbi Gomis acrobatically smashed in our second and with a two goal lead heading into the break.

At this point we knew we’d have to do well to come away with no points from this fixture, and Hull returned from half-time a full five minutes early – apparently Steve Bruce’s teamtalk could be heard several rooms away. You can hardly blame him as, during the first half, Hull certainly didn’t look like a team trying to stave off relegation.

Despite warnings to the contrary from Monk, Hull were able to push back into the game as the second half got underway and had it not been for David Meyler’s red card – which came just minutes after Paul McShane had halved the deficit – things may have been that much more uncomfortable.

McShane had tapped home after Alex Bruce had flicked on a free-kick (with the Swans having struggled at defensive set-pieces throughout) but Meyler’s rash challenge on Taylor was worthy of a red, and thankfully sapped the impetus from a Hull team that had, until that point, been in the ascendancy.

It allowed the Swans some time to regroup, and retain possession. Hull were still causing problems but their belief had understandably waned, and the Swans did will to weather anything the Tigers threw at us. Their best chance came from the left – a fizzing cross was driven in but Hernandez dummied and Elmohamady, arriving at the back post to challenge Neil Taylor, was also unable to get a touch.

That was Hull’s last real chance and with Bruce’s men throwing caution to the wind in search of an equaliser, it was always likely we’d be able to hit them on the break. Gomis had held his position just inside our half and when Dyer regained possession with a great sliding tackle, Sigurdsson wasted no time in hammering a pass downfield to the Frenchman.

Gomis made no mistake. Running at McGregor he had Matt Grimes – just on to make his first-team debut and busting a gut to offer an option to his left – in support but waited, and waited, before dinking a cute finish over the Scot and into the Hull net. 3-1 and game over, and you could see how much grabbing a couple of goals meant to him.

He now looks a confident player, and none too soon. His goals were those of someone who is finally free of the shackles of self-doubt, and with seven games remaining – many of which you’d consider “winnable” – he must surely fancy his chances of increasing his tally.

For the Swans, a seventh placed finish is likely to now be the target. Yes it’s unlikely, but if we can keep winning Liverpool & Southampton will be feeling the pressure, and a loss for either side in their next game (coupled with a Swans win) would see us only four or five points behind them. If Spurs lose at Burnley today they’d also be in this group, making our chances that much greater.

This is already a season of records broken. Just imagine if we qualify for Europe through league position too…

Swansea were able to secure a narrow victory on Saturday thanks to a tactical switch which halted Villa’s momentum just when they were coming into the match.

In the first half the teams lined up as below, with Swansea once again operating with a 4-3-1-2/diamond midfield.

AVLSWA

The Swans were able to boss the majority of the ball, and finished the half with upwards of 60% possession. In the second half Villa played with renewed vigour, and until Jefferson Montero was brought on for Gylfi Sigurdsson it was looking like it may be a long afternoon.

Thanks to a change in formation to the more familiar 4-2-3-1 we were able to disrupt Aston Villa’s rhythm, and this is demonstrated perfectly by this possession chart (from whoscored.com – as is the team graphic above).

AVLSWA2

Jefferson Montero’s substitution is the first arrow pointing upwards, and Swansea’s possession line is in red. Montero comes on – the Swans have the ball. In fact, barring a little wobble around the 68th minute the Swans controlled possession for almost fifteen minutes after we made a change. If that isn’t proof of the power of a switch in team shape I don’t know what is.

Montero was also heavily involved in Swansea’s goal, though a nod to Wayne Routledge first. His exquisite through ball with the outside of his right foot came after a lovely shimmy to make space, and led to Jeff bursting beyond Bacuna into space down the left. His first-time cross – also with the outside of his foot – was met by Gomis who made no mistake from close range.

Speaking after Swansea’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park – which marks another home & away league double completed for the Swans this season – Garry Monk said that striker Bafetimbi Gomis, who missed a few gilt-edged chances before securing the victory with an 87th minute strike, has shown of late that he’s willing to put in the hard work necessary to secure himself goals:

“You’ve seen from the last two performances there’s no stopping him. His work rate is incredible. Yes he’ll be disappointed he didn’t take early chances but he kept pushing and got his goal in the end. He deserved that and it will give him confidence.

“A lot of people can get upset and lose concentration but they are very focused players. There were some big performances out there from us

“In the first half we were fantastic, we created some good chances. The second half was much more even with both teams pushing and fighting.

“When you consider we were away from home, with a big, expectant crowd and a confident Aston Villa team, I thought we dealt with that well. Overall we deserved that.

“A lot of people will be questioning what we have to play for – we’re not going to get relegated and we’re not fighting for Europe – but that showed the character, focus and spirit in the squad that we continue to fight and push. We did that very well in the second half.” Garry Monk

Source

True enough from Monk. Swansea were very good in the first half and while we did allow some decent chances in the second, it was a well-earned clean sheet which takes us to eleven in total in the league.

Behind Fraser Forster (13) no other goalkeeper has kept more, with Fabianski tied on 11 with Mignolet & Ben Foster, with the former able to go clear in 2nd if he’s able to shut out Man Utd today.

This deserves as much credit as Gomis does for his late winner. Clean sheets have secured us valuable points time and again this season, and yesterday was no exception. With goal threat still improving, a solid defence will be crucial as we look to maximise our points total against sides who still have plenty to play for.

As for Gomis, hopefully this goal will provide him with the confidence boost he needs. Having been our number one striker since January can’t have been easy physically either, so the international break could possibly have come at a good time as he can now recharge, and prepare to assault the last eight games of the season with relish.

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