Thursday 19 April 2012

Swansea City vs Bolton: Now, back to the top ten!

That dreaded fifth defeat in a row didn't come last week thankfully, as Swansea comfortably beat Blackburn 3-0. This Saturday sees the Swans take on relegation strugglers Bolton in the Reebok Stadium.

Now, I thought 40 was the magic number of points needed to mathematically stay afloat in the Premier League pond, but others, including Brendan Rodgers, are insisting on another win to be sure. I guess this isn't a bad thing; we wouldn't want him to come out and say “yep, we're done for points this season - Gower will start in goals on Saturday, with an injured Alan Tate up-front, just for a laugh!”.

No, Rodgers wants to be sure, and a win on Saturday will guarantee Swansea are safe.

However, winning the game against Bolton would be another stepping stone to, what should be, Swansea's next achievable goal: finishing in the top ten. It would be a real triumphant end to a season already filled with a variety of memorable accomplishments for the little club from South Wales.

Four games left. Two are very winnable. One is certainly drawable, if not winnable too (the Liverpool game). If results don't go well for other teams around the Swans in the table, that tenth place finish is there for the taking.

So - Bolton. Joe Allen, Scott Sinclair and Danny Graham all scored in October as Swansea beat Bolton 3-1 in the Liberty Stadium.

Bolton have a few on the injury list including Stuart Holden, Ricardo Gardner and Tyrone Mears along with Fabrice Muamba, who is recovering well it seems, after his collapse a few weeks ago. This encouraging news will ensure Bolton have nothing on their minds except winning.

Swansea will also come up against Darren Pratley for the second time this season. I don't see much reason to boo him, though I assume he may get a jeer or two from the odd few travelling Jacks. Not as many as I anticipate Dorus de Vries will receive next week... but that's another blog post entirely!

Looking at Swansea and, apart from Alan Tate's fresh calf injury ruling him out, they have a full squad to choose from (minus long term absentees Kemy Agustien and, of course, Ferrie Bodde). The Swans squad, as usual, picks itself. Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Caulker, Taylor; Dyer, Allen, Sigurdsson, Britton, Sinclair; Graham. I can't see Routledge forcing his way back into the starting squad this week.

As you are aware, Bolton are in the bottom three (18th), which don't make them nice opposition at this time of the year. They have slightly more to play for than Swansea and have the home crowd behind them. It's a dangerous mix for the Swans, who do stutter on the road.

My prediction then is a 2-2 draw (priced at 11/1 on PaddyPower). It's been a while since I've predicted 2-2, but I just have that feeling. If Swansea concentrate though, the win is well within them, so add another goal onto that for 3-2 (at 25/1). For your information, Darren Pratley to score and Bolton to win is priced at 13/2 – maybe worth covering, just in case.