Thursday, 12 December 2019

Post-Match Review - Swansea City vs Blackburn Rovers

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Ben Cabango made his full league debut

Swansea still haven't won in six games, but they came close against Blackburn as Danny Graham's opener was cancelled out by Andre Ayew as the two sides fought hard for a 1-1 draw.

Switching things up
Swans head coach Steve Cooper made four changes from the side that was comprehensively beaten by West Brom last weekend with Ben Cabango making his full league debut alongside Tom Carroll, Bersant Celina and Jake Bidwell.


The Welsh side, however, seemed to pick up where they left off against the Baggies, conceding in the fourth minute to a Danny Graham effort. The tension around the Liberty Stadium was palpable as Cooper's men looked to be staring defeat in the face yet again. But, an Andre Ayew header from a Matt Grimes cross in the tenth minute settled the team and the crowd.

Major improvement
In fact, Swansea showed a vast improvement from their demolition at West Brom, with Ayew in particular causing the visitors all sorts of problems. Carroll's red card 12 minutes into the second-half stemmed the Swans' momentum, but Bradley Dack soon followed Carroll for an early bath ten minutes later.

Cooper's men ended the game with 57% possession and 14 shots to Blackburn's 8. This must have given the former England youth boss confidence that his side can turn things around in the Championship.

Controversy
But, what didn't please Cooper was the performance of referee Jeremy Simpson. Incandescent, Cooper blasted Simpson, stating that he should be dropped to the conference. The Swansea boss labelled Simpson's decision not to award a second-half penalty for handball by Rovers' Dack as a "massive error."

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Referee Jeremy Simpson came in for some criticism in the 1-1 draw

The list of Cooper's issues didn't stop there though as he referred to Carroll's and Dack's second yellow cards as "mistakes" and also wanted a penalty for a foul on Sam Surridge as Swansea tried to force a winner late on.

Positives
Ghanian Ayew led from the front and seemed to be on a one-man mission to help his side get the three points at the Liberty Stadium. With the worst home record in the Championship's top 17, a loss would have been catastrophic, but the Swans plugged away with Ayew - who is currently looking far too impressive for the second tier - at the helm.

Connor Roberts enjoyed some great runs forward and was a rock at the back when necessary whilst captain Matt Grimes kept the Swans ticking - even after receiving a whack that saw Dack sent off.

Striker Surridge made some superb runs in-behind, but failed to hit the net.

What to Work On
Surridge could do with adding another few goals to his name if he wants to keep his place as does Celina. Again, defensive frailties were on show though with Mike van der Hoorn enduring a nervy first-half and Jake Bidwell getting caught out for Blackburn's goal.

However, it was a much improved performance and there were plenty of positives for Cooper to take into the weekend's game against Middlesbrough. A draw might not have been enough to stop the vultures circling at SA1, but it certainly lifted spirits.


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