I have a mammoth Swansea City 2011 yearly review on its way in the next 24 hours, but I have taken time out of compiling that to write a few thoughts about Swansea vs QPR.
Football returned to the Liberty Stadium on 27th December for a very entertaining game between Swansea and QPR. Both promoted last season, both in need of a win to repair a slight dip in form. Both, probably, felt they would have won it on paper and should have won it at the end of the game. But they didn't – it was a draw, and a draw was a fair result.
Swansea deserved to win from their first half performance. Again, very slick, easy-on-the-eye passing which resulted in the opportunity and goal for Danny Graham. Was it a handball from the striker? To be honest, it looked like. Should it have been disallowed? Probably, but, as you know, the ref wasn't having the best of days.
Graham had a good game overall, as did Leon Britton, while Kemy Agustien was strong in the centre (until he moved to right back). Michel Vorm had a few good saves and Joe Allen looked good, if slightly flustered.
However, Neil Warnock seemed to transfer his anger to his players and the second half became QPR's to win. The point that turned Swansea from 'cruising' to 'stumbling through' appeared to be the joint substitution of Dyer and Moore for Rangel and Routledge. No sooner had this happened, a flick backwards from Britton saw Mackie outrun Williams and draw level. Swansea looked disjointed from this point onwards and QPR could well have scored another two.
A stonewall penalty appeal was turned down by Mr Probert, cancelling out his earlier mistake which allowed the Swans goal. Probert seemed to have an odd game. The ref is said to have done a good job when he tends to keep out of the limelight, but Probert was all over the place – frustrating both teams in equal measures. As mentioned, he allowed Graham to handball, but turned down a clear penalty. He wanted throw-ins retaken and allowed players to talk back too often. He even got in the way of a Joey Barton run, which nearly ended in a Swansea goal.
Though a point is obviously better than a loss, the game against QPR was one Swansea should've grabbed by the scruff and put away before half time. However, like we've seen a few times already this season, they've let the opposition get back into it. With Spurs rampant anything more than a loss on Saturday will be an exceptional result. Then again, Swansea seem to perform better when they are expected to lose, so a point or three isn't that unlikely.
At 14th in the Premier League table, Swansea are in a dangerous place, but it's not time for panicking yet. At halfway through the season they're looking like a team that are “almost there”. Some tweaking with the final third – maybe another capable striker – in the transfer window and I'm still confident of a top ten finish this season.