Friday, 19 August 2011

Swansea v Wigan: the must win game!

Maybe it's too soon to declare the game against Wigan as “must win”, but isn't it just that? It's not the games against Man City, Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool that Swansea are expected to win; it's victory over the likes of Wigan that will see them survive come May. Games like this will define the season.

Wigan are, again, amongst the pundits and bookies favourites to face relegation this season and it's up to Swansea to help make that happen by taking all three points on Saturday. In the Liberty Stadium, with the twelfth man advantage, the Swans can't afford to miss out on this occasion.

Naturally the Roberto Martinez factor will also play a part on Saturday – his return to the place he once called home is significant and he is probably, quite rightly, expecting a frosty reception, but this match should be more than just getting one over on the man who dumped the club for better things.

Garry Monk and Neil Taylor are both likely to return to the squad, easing the pressure on defence – the weakest area in Swansea's opening fixture against Man City. I can assume Alan Tate will be dropped to the bench to allow Taylor and Sinclair to play their effective left wing game. Taylor will probably take part in his first competitive game since that heart-stopping evening back in May and will have to put in a good performance to impress those he offended with the Newcastle-gate scandal in the summer.

Again, Sinclair and Dyer are expected to start up front with Danny Graham, though I have a suspicion that Leroy Lita may take the starting striker position. Even if he doesn't, it could be a good move as his pace, combined with Dyer and Sinclair's, would make a dangerous front line. It also shakes things up a little and shows strikers like Graham that they have to work for their place, no matter how much was paid. Whoever takes that starting position will be looking to grab the club's first Premier League goal.

The middle three are, as usual, the only uncertain spots in the starting eleven. Leon Britton had a good game against Man City, as did Kemy Agustien. Stephen Dobbie was a little too quiet in the Eithad, though will have more space against the Latics and, with Swansea needing goals, may be the best to start. Joe Allen instead of Leon Britton? Or instead of Agustien? It's good to see Agustien is now more than just a bench warmer and his inclusion against Man City has added another incentive for all midfield players to perform well in training.

Vorm had a terrible game against Man City, stupidly letting in four goals - he should be dropped... I am, of course, joking. He was Swansea's stand-out player in Manchester and has surely sealed his place between the posts for the season.

My team to face Wigan?

Rangel Caulker Williams Taylor
Dyer Allen Dobbie Britton Sinclair

So what about Wigan? They are an attacking team albeit without a consistent goalscorer to put chances away. Still, they've had six consecutive seasons in the Premier League and will pose a similar threat as the likes of QPR did last season.

Wigan's first three matches are against the three Premier League newcomers, all games they were expected to take all three points from. However, dropping points against Norwich means Wigan will be desperate for all three at the Liberty.

Still, this isn't enough for the bookies, who place Swansea as favourites to win in the 90 minutes. I'm predicting 2-0 to Swansea (9/1 PaddyPower). It's a realistic scoreline and one which they need to be achieving – they won't be favourites against many teams this season, so Saturday is about making it count!


  1. If Lita starts, I promise never to criticise another one of your badly written blogs again.

  2. I would give Lita a run too, but would keep Tate in and Taylor on the bench.

    Kemmy would stay and Routledge in for Dobbie.

  3. Thanks for the comment Bilgola,

    I guess the joy of some good summer signings is the fact that the team can be changed around. Like you say, Routledge in for Dobbie may be a good thing to see.

    Wouldn't you like to see Taylor and Sinclair link up against Wigan though?

  4. Well, surprise, surprise, Lita didn't start! I will admit that he made a difference when he came on and personally, I would have put him on at least 10 minutes earlier. However, any suggestion that he will start ahead of a £3.5m signing this early in the season, is way off the mark.

  5. I'd just like to see him start one time - it could be a complete boob up and he misses everything, but that's football.

    Graham will score soon and that'll open the flood gates I'm sure, though the money shouldn't make a difference - Look at De Gea for Man Utd vs Vorm! Millions apart but I know who I'd rather have between the sticks!