I've not written a match report for a while, but will give a few thoughts on last night's superb game at the Liberty Stadium, where Swansea comfortably beat Newcastle 3-0.
In a nutshell, we saw something that had been lacking from a Swansea City match for a few weeks - sheer enjoyment!
Swansea went into the game off the back of a deflating 3-0 loss to Man City and a previous loss against Valencia. Things were looking a little bland for the team and some of the Premier League/European gloss looked to have finally worn off. Newcastle on the other hand were in brilliant away form, and on a four-game winning streak. So it was inevitable that Swansea would turn everything around and win in impressive style!
The first half was filled with heavy possession and slick passing from Swansea, with chances at both ends - a hint of the game to come. However things looked bleak when Alvaro Vazquez - Swansea's third and final striker - limped off with a groin injury in the 28th minute. Talk about bad luck. It was difficult enough to score with strikers, so what would happen now? Thankfully we had nothing to worry about as we watched three slide past Krul!
Jonjo Shelvey had arguably his best game ever in a Swans shirt. Despite some immaturity and fortune, he showed strength, determination and goalscoring capability with his superb goal from outside the box, Swansea's third. What's more, he made the second goal (though it went down as a Debuchy own goal) with a well-timed run, and passed the ball around well all game. (Meanwhile keep an eye out for a Shelvey-dedicated blog post from Alec coming up later this week)
We also saw great performances from Pozuelo and Dyer especially (with his good first half goal), with a top-class save from Vorm in the first half. In fact every Swansea player put in a performance worthy of applause - yes, even Tiendalli and de Guzman.
Another thing I noticed was that the Liberty Stadium had some atmosphere! We've always lauded the Liberty as probably the best home support in the Premier League, but recently things have been uncharacteristically quiet. I'm not sure if it's been the chilly weather or, more likely, the lacklustre performances, but things haven't been as noisy for a few weeks. Thankfully the team gave us something to shout about and things were back to normal.
I should mention Howard Webb - I never praise referees but he let the
game flow well. He also overlooked the Shelvey incident, and didn't penalise Newcastle's penalty appeals (Williams' push and Davies' handball) which we
thank him for (we needed some luck for a change!)
So, although the Europa League has taken its toll on the squad, contributing to the injuries and recent sluggish form, Swansea really showed once again that they can deliver in the face of adversity. The win gives all Swans fans a little boost going into a hectic winter!