The first Premier League game held outside England turned out to be one of the most exciting 0-0 draws I've witnessed! Speed, skill, cards, hit woodwork, penalty (saves), male voice choir... the game had it all. Apart from goals.
Ultimately both teams will see the draw as two points dropped instead of one gained, especially Swansea who dominated possession for the first hour - 70 percent heading into half-time for the second game running show Swansea won't find the ball hard to come by in the next few months. However, no goals to show for their possession highlights the cutting edge is still not there.
Wigan warmed up in the second half which didn't help Swansea's case, with two strikes bouncing off the woodwork. It looked like the Latics would take the lead in the 72nd minute after Ashley Williams brought down Jordi Gomez in the box, however the resulting penalty, taken by Ben Watson, was expertly saved by The Penalty Killer, also known as Michel Vorm. The only downside to Vorm's display seems to be his authority during corners and set pieces, sometimes looking unsure of himself. Still, the penalty save alone sees him retain his hero status without a doubt. £1.5 million very well spent – THE summer signing.
While I mention summer signings, is it me or did Danny Graham look slightly uncomfortable? His few chances came early in the first half, but he seemed quiet from then on. Despite Graham only starting two competitive games, I'd like to see Lita start the next one. Starting Routledge with Agustien and Britton was a relatively untried midfield and that worked very effectively, so changing the starting striker may also prove a worthwhile move for one game. Would it knock his confidence? Maybe, but then again he was brought to the club as a striker, not the striker. Just a thought.
Routledge and Agustien worked hard in the centre and probably impressed me the most in the first half, as well as Nathan Dyer, who claimed another deserved man of the match award. Ashley Williams, even though he gave away a penalty, had a good game, as did Steven Caulker who looked very comfortable in the air. Scott Sinclair looked more alive this game than against Man City, with some exciting runs, while Neil Taylor showed his strengths in attack.
Substitute Stephen Dobbie, again, looked out of place. I'm sure he will eventually find a way to fit into this slightly different looking Swans side, but made some decisive errors in attack, while his corner taking didn't work as planned.
Overall a very deserved point for Swansea - if they can just be more punishing in front of goal, games against the likes of Wigan will end more comfortably.
They play again on Tuesday away to Shrewsbury in the second round of the Carling Cup, though it's not a game worth killing players over. In fact, the sooner they exit the Carling and FA Cups this year the better. It's going to be a difficult enough season without risking injuries and fatigue in cup matches. A trophy or a nice run is nothing to be snubbed, usually, but all concentration should be on staying up this year.
I see the logic regarding getting cups out of the way, but I can never agree with any club actually wanting to be out of them. Personally I want the team to do well in both cup competitions, and now we're in the PL I think we should have a chance of a decent run. That said, I don't want us to be this season's Birmingham - so yeah, like I said, I do see that logic also. However, surely anything less than a win against a Shrewsbury side with 5 points from 12 in League Two will be a very bad result?ReplyDelete
Also - just seen your Stockdale tweet, made me smile. Vorm is the PL's bargain of the summer surely.
Also (part 2) - the 'post comment' button does exactly the same job as the preview button, therefore rending the latter button pointless.
Firstly, I won't take credit for the Stockdale tweet; it looks like mine on the sidebar, but it was actually a retweet of someone else's!ReplyDelete
And yes anything but a win in Shrewsbury would be odd, even with a weakened team, but I don't think many would complain if it was a loss.
Here's a question I may bring up in the podcast - if Swansea won a cup but were relegated from the PL, would the season be deemed successful?
Well that question came up with Birmingham last year - I wonder how many of their fans are looking at their current league position (18th in the Championship) thinking 'oooh but we won the Carling Cup last year!'. So no, the league is the main, week-to-week event your team competes in, relegation will be an unsucessful season regardless of what happens in the cup. That said, an FA Cup win and finishing 17th would be a fantastic season wouldn't it?ReplyDelete
But yeah, if you offered 17th place in return for instant cup elimination, I'd take it. I agree with the thinking there. I just don't understand someone (not you specifically) actually wanting to lose - why bother entering in the first place (after all, clubs technically don't have to enter, do they, such as with the Man U controversy in 2000).
I suppose my other point regarding Shrewsbury is, while the cup exit itself wouldn't bother me much, it's the fact that we are a Premier League team now and we should be beating Shrewsbury, regardless of who plays.
I feel as though I am trying to argue, even though I actually agree with you in general!