After last weekend's iffy showing against Hull City; Paul Clement will no doubt have told the squad to buckle down and play to win, no matter what. The side looked as though there was too much consideration for the backline rather than pressing forwards and it proved to be Swansea's downfall against Hull - we can't afford this against Bournemouth.
With so many teams around us holding a game in hand advantage; we cannot afford to leave the Vitality Stadium with anything less than three points. Hull are easily the biggest threat to our position of safety but Middlesbrough have a game in hand to upset even the Tiger's party - it's all very complicated at present and the fixture list needs addressing urgently.
Focusing on the game in question; we are set to be without Kyle Naughton unless he passes a very late fitness test to secure his involvement in the game - his influence will be missed should he fail to regain full fitness. Perhaps worse than Naughton's potential absence; Fernando Llorente has been struggling with a dead leg he picked up in training and must shake it off before the game if Clement is to field his preferred line up.
I honestly don't know what went wrong last weekend but I do know that we cannot allow it to happen again. A win could take us above Leicester City where defeat could see us too close to the relegation places for comfort - it all depends on which version of our side turns up!
If it's the free flowing, attacking side that showed the rest of the league we are here to fight then we'll have no problems against Bournemouth. However, if we set up defensively and start to confuse one another again then it will be a long, long trip home from the English South coast.
Either way; I'm looking forward to this game more than most this season as I genuinely can't pick between the sides. Obviously my favour is towards Swansea but it's such a close run thing that I won't be betting on the game - that's for certain.
My hope is 2-0 Swansea but my head is suggesting Bournemouth will at least breach our backline.
Friday 10 March 2017
If now isn’t the time to press on up the table, then I don’t know if there ever will be a time. Seeing Paul Clement running the entire area of the pitch last weekend has easily become my favourite moment of the season so far – it’s about time we had a manager who wears his heart on sleeve and shows the same passion for victory as the fans!
It was a tense affair last weekend against Burnley but from the moment Olsson levelled the game there was a real feeling that we could win the game around the Liberty – thankfully – Fernando Llorente pulled it off yet again but I didn’t have any nails left by the time he headed in the winner! A bit earlier next time Nando!?
Then again, early goals have proven to be an issue for us earlier in the season as we still struggle to keep clean sheets. That’s nothing against Fabianski nor the back four; we are in the Premier League and there are no easy games! Only Leicester have failed to breach us in the last six league games; winning games is vital but we must stop making it hard for ourselves.
Hull are in the midst of a sticky patch where injuries are concerned as Davies, Mbokani and Evandro look set to miss out. The latter might pass a fitness test but the Tigers are somewhat toothless since they allowed Robert Snodgrass to leave the club in favour of West Ham – great news for us!
Dyer is set to be absent for the Swans once again as he continues his injury struggles; we wish him a speedy recovery but Montero and Ki are both available for selection – will Clement change the winning formula to accommodate the pace and fearlessness of the duo?
Given our clean sheet issues; we will no doubt find ourselves breached at the back but we look imperious moving forwards. The space the midfield are finding to play the ball between themselves is exceptional and strings are being pulled up top to offer avenues towards goal – I can wholly see us outscoring Hull in this one rather than romping to victory.
If you’re a betting character; I’d be backing both teams to score and Swansea to win this one – we need the points to get away from the relegation zone, despite a five point cushion, and Hull are on a rotten run of form.
We’ve got this in the bag, I hope!
Saturday 4 March 2017
So how do we all feel about the idea of taking an enormous step away from the issues that are plaguing the clubs around us? Three points at home against Burnley will no doubt see us above Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth and beyond the struggling Leicester City – we’re well on the way to safety and it could be a path less travelled looking at the competition.
The last time it was so close at the bottom at this time in the season; allegations were thrown at Sir Alex Ferguson for fielding a weakened side to allow Hull City their Premier League survival. However; things might not be so crass this season as it becomes ever more apparent that Sunderland and Hull have run their course in the top flight so only one place is up for grabs in the drop zone – realistically.
Thankfully, that has nothing to do with us and Sean Dyche’s Burnley turning up on our doorstep is a welcome reminder that we’re off the pace in the Premier League. Winning at Leicester, Liverpool and at home to Southampton proves very little – beating opponents we ought to overtake before the end of the season is a very different.
Annoyingly, Jefferson Montero is back in training but is very, VERY unlikely to feature as the lack of pace in the squad continues overall. Narsingh and Ayew are set to start but at the expense of whom? Wayne Routledge is a key candidate for the chop despite his acceptable performances.
The most likely outcome, according to the BBC, is 1-1 but I can’t see it going to a draw – especially not a low scoring draw. I’ve a feeling that Jeff Stelling will be asking for updates from the Liberty all afternoon – high scoring draw or big scoring victory for the home side.
Burnley lost at Turf Moor in August and are seven points ahead of us – this all means utterly nothing as we’ve lost two managers; bought and sold in January and resurrected our season since then. We’re on for a win here and a decent win at that – I can’t wait for Dyche’s excuses in that 20 a day Marlboro voice.