Swansea looked comfortable enough against Scottish giants Celtic with a 2-0 win, back at the Liberty Stadium for the first time since that immense game against Nottingham Forest.
During the first ten minutes it was actually quite nice to see a flare from the Celtic fans, momentarily turning the Liberty Stadium into the Stadio delle Alpi, before the stewards got involved for obvious health and safety reasons. Something different!
The resulting cloud of smoke had cleared up by the time the first goal was scored - Scott Sinclair took an edge of the area free kick which was on target but saved, though the spilled ball was mopped up by Rangel who made it 1-0 in the 63rd minute.
20 minutes later, a nice 20 yard run from Mark Gower set up substitute Stephen Dobbie who scored the second.
Like many fans, it was my first time seeing a number of the new players in action, including Gerhard Tremmel, who was in goals for the first half. Not officially a Swansea City player as he's still on trial, though he definitely took a step closer to signing after a solid performance between the posts, including a wonderful leaping save from a powerful Kris Commons strike on the 20th minute.
Up front, Danny Graham looked very hungry and strong, though not able to convert a few good chances into goals. Elsewhere, we only saw a little of Ryan Harley, though he looked keen enough while Steven Caulker looked a good pairing with Ashley Williams.
Moving onto the familiar faces, and the starting centre three of Allen, Britton and Agustien worked well in the first half, with opportunities being made, though the link play Stephen Dobbie usually creates was missing. Scott Sinclair looked a little rusty with his usually dazzling runs fizzling out to nothing and a one-on-one against Dominic Cervi on the 25 minute mark saw Sinclair try to poke the ball past the keeper a little too slowly and nothing came of the opportunity. He'll be back to his usual self by next week I'm sure.
Nathan Dyer was quieter than usual, though made some nice plays and showed good control and defensive ability at times. Nearing the end of the first half we saw him waltz past a few defenders before taking a shot, though this was saved too easily – when he finds out the how to score consistently, Dyer will be the best winger in the Premier League.
I know I am usually Luke Moore's biggest critic, but he looked fine when brought on for Dyer and made a good run towards the end of the match, before poking it through to Swansea's newest signing, fresh from Middlesbrough, Leroy Lita. Lita didn't have a great deal of time on the field, but showed strength in attack – I hope to see him start on Saturday.
Alan Tate had a great game, making sure he was always in plenty of space and went on a handful of good runs, as well as making a crucial defensive block. He captained the team well, and showed he will still fight for a place in the Premier League starting eleven.
Kemy Agustien impressed, with a good head at goal in the first half, though his temper got the best of him when some arguing saw him awarded a yellow card. He looked better than last season - a little faster and leaner - though no substitute for Stephen Dobbie's creativity up front, who kicked a little more life into the second half with purposeful runs and sharp vision.
Entertainment rating: an enjoyable game at times, though understandably had the slowness and flat points expected of a pre-season friendly: 5/10.
Kudos to the Celtic players, who gave it a go with a weakened team - Samaras and Brown impressed me. The Celtic fans were loud and proud, with aforementioned flares, green smoke bombs, odd Man City-esque dancing (Edit: the Celtic Huddle is what it's called! Thanks to the Celtic fans for setting me straight!) and plenty of song - a shame for them that their biggest cheer came from hearing Rangers were out of the Champions League qualifiers!
Saturday (against Real Betis) will be another, slightly different test for Brendan Rodgers' men and the last chance to tinker before the squad head to Manchester!
The Man City-esque dancing you mention is actually the Celtic huddle. Us hoops fans were doing that long before any Man City fans copied the "Poznan". Good luck in the Premier League this season. I always enjoy watching Swansea, a good footballing side.ReplyDelete
Ah, I'd only seen the "Poznan" done by Man City fans, so thanks for setting me straight! Good luck next season too!ReplyDelete
bet the swans fans would have cheered just as loud if they heard cardiff were out of champions league and not going to collect an extra 10m plus :DReplyDelete
best of luck this season
simon k celtic fan
From a Celtic fan, good luck in the premiership. Hopefully, play you in the prem some day:) We've been doing the huddle since the mid 90's. God bless MalmoReplyDelete
nice peice but i feel it generally played down what was a brilliant achievement for the Swans by saying it was a weak Celtic team.ReplyDelete
Lennon quite rightly doesnt send weak teams to play even friendlies..
Thanks to the Celtic fans - I've added an edit into the blog with regards to the Celtic Huddle!ReplyDelete
Elsewhere, I don't feel I played down a good Swans win, but felt the need to mention that it wasn't a full strength Celtic squad.
Swansea did very well and, apart from a few more cobwebs to dust off, look strong going into the PL in a week or so!
i take it its just smeltic fans allowed on here then as i said dont listen to there bull sh** they only did the man city thing for the first time last game of the season all the best to swansaa for the new saesonReplyDelete
I take it you go to every "Smeltic" match? I've been involved in huddles on the terraces for the last 10 years. Granted more and more fans are participating nowadays. The whole stadium did it on the final day and also when gubbing Rangers 3-0 earlier in the season. Another thing, try clicking the spell check option.ReplyDelete
villa fan here...just on to wish you all the best for the season ahead - i genuinely think you can stay up and i hope so...looking forward to seeing the football, you have some very decent players about youReplyDelete
It wasn't a full strength Swansea City side either, by any stretch of the imagination. Why did you not mention that?ReplyDelete
To the comment directly above me - by reading the whole blog and all the players I mentioned, most Swans fans reading could judge it wasn't a full strength squad without me having to say it (I must say the Swans fielded a decent squad though - 7 of the starting 11 were in the PO Final winning team).ReplyDelete
I only mentioned the Celtic squad wasn't full strength as Swans fans might not have known that.
Otherwise thanks to all for the good luck messages, nice to see it isn't all "Swansea WILL go down because their inexpereinced, etc" messages!
Good match report, I enjoyed reading.ReplyDelete
Thanks Joe, glad you enjoyed.ReplyDelete
Going back to the commenter (commentee?) who said it "wasn't a full strength Swansea City side either, by any stretch of the imagination", I have thought about it and... it was a strong squad.
7 members of the PO final winning team (Williams, Tate, Rangel, Britton, Allen, Sinclair and Dyer) and then our now first choice striker Graham, Caulker who is now a first team player, and Agustien, who looked fit. The only weak(ish) player was Tremmel, and even he looked confident between the posts.