Thursday 4 October 2012

Swansea City and the first 'not-must-win-but-must-not-lose' of the season!

It's pretty early in the season to describe any game as 'must win', but we've discussed not-must-win-but-must-not-lose games in the past and I believe Saturday's match against Reading falls into this category.

Last time Swansea met Reading!

We're all aware of the current blip in Swansea's second Premier League season. After such a brilliant first two games, the three losses in a row probably hit us harder than if the Swans had just won one, lost one, one won, lost one, and so on.

It will be vital to pick up at least a point against Reading - not just to finish this lame period of despair, but to also take something away from Reading; a team likely to be battling Swansea towards the end of the season.

Also, let's face it - Reading are a team Swansea should be beating, especially at home. We did it at Wembley last year so who is to say we can't do it again on home soil in the big boy league!?

Michael Laudrup has said it will be one of the four biggest fixtures of the season. While it may not be a Liverpool clash or Man City at home, the Swans boss is right and it's good he knows this. It would be disconcerting for him to come out and say "Reading is just another game - play like you have been boys".

Reading are without a victory in their season so far, so while this will be a winnable game for Swansea it is certainly not going to be a walk over.

Before you say 'negative bastard' and click the little red cross at the top of your browser, I will say it is always reassuring to see that Swansea can lose three games in a row and still be 11th in the Premier League table! A win could well put the club back in 8th in the table, which is nicer to focus on instead of what fate looms if they suffer another loss. 

So onto the squad and, apart from Neil Taylor and Kemy Agustien, Swansea are basically back to full strength after the period of red cards and injuries. This means there are no excuses about being sparse in certain areas - the quality of play is the only thing in question.

It was Chico Flores' fault that Peter Crouch was unmarked for the first goal conceded at Stoke, but we'll blame that on rust thanks to his three game absence. He has no excuses this week. His fellow centre back Ashley Williams also needs his game head on after some recent poor form.

Angel Rangel has come out of the last few games one of the only players who seems to have done - or tried to do - his job properly. Ben Davies on the other wing isn't the most confident, but has done a decent job recently - however, I would still like to see Dwight Tiendalli start this week.

In midfield Leon Britton will play his 400th game for the Swans if he plays on Saturday. When I say if it will almost certainly be when he plays. He must partner up with Ki Sung Yueng, who - like Rangel - seemed to do a good job when others were losing it. Michu is the final man in the middle three and, though less effective recently, deserves the chance to start because we all know what he can do.

The final third has been a problem for Swansea in the last three games. I know it's technically all been a problem - especially with seven goals conceded - but Danny Graham and co just haven't been compensating with goals for Swansea. Graham seems isolated at times while Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge - who should both start on Saturday - just haven't had the confidence that they did against QPR and West Ham.

Onto Reading and... well I don't know much about Reading. I tried to get a Reading blogger on board but none were interested. To sum up - a poor start leaves them in 19th place with just two points. If you are desperate to find out about the opposition, I suggest reading the BBC preview whenever it is released...

I actually feel Swansea will turn things around this week. I almost had my 2-1 to Stoke prediction correct and feel I will be bang on with a 2-1 to Swansea prediction this week (at around 7/1). Bet on this at your peril.

Whatever happens Swansea cannot afford another loss, and certainly cannot afford another bad performance. I doubt it will change much but it will do nothing for the confidence of the side going into the international break.

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