Showing posts with label Liverpool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liverpool. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 15th March 2015)

I was away last week so we had to miss our regular Swansea City catch-up, but here's a bumper Mother's Day edition (it's not really that bumper...) to make up for it!

Swansea City vs Liverpool 

The Swans have had a nice 12 day break since their thrilling 3-2 loss against Spurs, so they should should be well rested and up for getting something out of Liverpool at the Liberty tomorrow night (8pm).

It's a really hard one to call, not helped by the fact that Swansea are so inconsistent. As we've seen this season, sometimes they'll grind out a brave win and shock everyone, and sometimes... well, sometimes they just don't look bothered. Thankfully in the last few games the effort levels from everyone seems to have increased so we can hopefully look forward to a good performance and maybe even a point.

Let's hope Swansea can make him this wound up on Monday...

Of course recent history doesn't bode well for the Swans, who have lost four of their last five meetings with Brendan Rodgers' side, losing 4-1 at Anfield in December. But, like Swansea, Liverpool are an unpredictable team when it comes to consistency, so it really could go either way.

Bafetimbi Gomis, following his collapse against Spurs, was back in training during the week and should be fit to start. With a pretty much full strength squad it'll be interesting to see if Monk goes for the relatively successful diamond formation he's tried out in the past few matches. Either way expect Jonjo Shelvey to start and score a goal for both sides.

I'm going for a 1-1 draw, a result most Swans fans would happily take it think.


Rangel forever

...well, for the next two years at least. The longstanding right back has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the Liberty until 2017. An important part of the team in the rise to the Premier League, Rangel has felt his importance slip slightly in the last year and his recent form has been shaky at best.

An extended Rangel

Still, he's a stalwart, and an important dressing room figure, so it's good news he's sticking around. Hopefully he'll be around to end his career with the Swans, going on to become a coach or even a club ambassador (although it may be tough to wrestle the job from the hands of Lee Trundle, who's embraced the roll to the highest order!).

As an added bonus, Jordi Amat has signed a one-year contract extension to keep him with Swansea until 2018. He's not the starting choice for Garry Monk at the moment, but Amat has shown time and again that he's more than capable of playing in the Premier League and he'll provide good competition and cover for Fede Fernandez.


Barrow gone (but not for good) 

Young winger Modou Barrow has temporarily left Swansea to sign for Nottingham Forest on loan until the end of the season.

The speedy Gambian has been brilliant when making appearances for Swansea and it's actually a shame because - although he's a little raw - he has proved he has the skill and speed to keep up with the rest of the side.

Of course I understand the decision - Swansea are safe and he'll get much more game time with Forest, but in a way he could have had a few more starts with the Swans between now and the end of the season? What have we got to lose?

Anyway he'll be back in the summer and hopefully he'll stick around for the 2015/16 season.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Why losing to Liverpool really wasn't that bad.

Swansea were embarrassed last night by Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool at Anfield, deservedly losing 4-1 after a scrappy first half and a lacklustre second.

A couple of defensive mix-ups, a bizarre mistake from Lukasz Fabianski and an unfortunate own-goal from Jonjo Shelvey (who had an overall dreadful evening) saw the Swans pretty much dead and buried with over 20 minutes left to play.

It's annoying, but is it that bad?

In a 'grand scheme of things' kind of way, no - it's not that bad at all. Garry Monk - still only half-way through his first full season in charge - has navigated his team through a tough few months of fixtures and injuries, and is ending the year ninth in the Premier League.

Right on cue: Shelvey played his part in an awful game.

And having already played teams like Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea, Man City and West Ham away from home, the second half of the season should be a little smoother, fixtures-wise at least.

Of course, losing Wilfried Bony and Ki Sung Yeung to their nations for respective national competitions is a big blow considering the impact both those players have had; Bony with his creativity and goals, and Ki with his strength and composure in the middle of the pitch.

But their absence will allow Bafetimbi Gomis - who looked pretty good against Liverpool - some time in the spotlight, while midfield is deep enough to cope without Ki for a month (providing Shelvey pulls his finger out a bit). And of course we'll finally be able to see Nelson Oliveira in action.

So it's been a good year; certainly ending better than it started (I need not remind any Swansea fan of the way 2014 began, with Michael Laudrup slowly guiding the team towards relegation). In reflection, losing to Liverpool - and Brendan Rodgers - was in no way desirable, but it's not the end of the world.

All that's left to do is say Happy New Year and see you all in 2015! (And don't waste those Christmas vouchers on something boring - instead, buy your copy of Swansea City's Greatest Games today!).


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Ok? Ok? Ok? - OK!

You may think I've gone mental, or my blog been hacked into, but no - the title is just a light-hearted jab at Brendan Rodgers (whose time on Being: Liverpool has exposed him as a religious user of the word 'ok').

It seems like just yesterday we all felt the jolt of panic when we sensed unrest in the Swansea City camp - Brendan Rodgers being linked with Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers being confirmed with Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers leaving for Liverpool. Then came the cliche-riddled letter to the Evening Post. Then he was gone.

We soon wiped away the tears. Some of us turned angry, others remained unsure whether or not he was the new Martinez. However, he soon confirmed his place on the Swans fans hate list after looking to poach players like Ashley Williams and Michel Vorm, and then succeeding in taking Joe Allen.

Tomorrow, for the first time, Swansea City come up against Brendan Rodgers in the Capital One Cup.


We probably won't see the usual cup match tradition, where most Swansea fringe players will be aired out - we would hope for (and I'm sure Laudrup will deliver) pretty much a first team squad, with a few exceptions.

With the Man City game taking one of Swansea City's most valuable players in Michel Vorm, Gerhard Tremmel will really need to rise to this occasion. He has look flaky in the past and even struggled against Barnsley, but Laudrup has confidence in him. Still, I guess he is a better option than David Cornell.

Elsewhere Angel Rangel is suspended, but it's not the end of the world as I'm sure Rangel needed a bit of a rest. Dwight Tiendalli or Jazz Richards may well get an airing out, while Alan Tate or Garry Monk may make an appearance somewhere in defence at some point.

Maybe we'll see Luke Moore start up front or on a wing, though Danny Graham and Nathan Dyer have both been bench-warming recently, so I'd be surprised if they don't start.

Of course, this is a cup match - if Swansea lose it's not the end of the world. Ultimately the Premier League is still priority, but it goes without saying a win would be more than just a win.

Rodgers has the advantage of it being in Anfield and has the 'bigger' players advantage - we know what Steven Gerrard, Louis Suarez and, of course, Joe Allen can do on a good day. However, it's likely they will be rested - which is good news for the Swans.

I'm not sure how the travelling Jacks will respond to Rodgers... okay, they won't be applauding him. We all know what Rodgers did for the team, but it wasn't just his doing, as some of the lazier media outlets like to insist. We have plenty to thank the Irishman for, but enough to be bitter about too.

While the Swans fans at the game will surely vent plenty of anger, it will hopefully be our (well, Michael Laudrup and the team's) football that will do the talking.

(Meanwhile, this is an interesting article I found on the origin of the word Ok). Ok?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Goodbye 2011/12: a brief reflection

From crashing back to reality with the hammering from Man City in August, to the comfortable win over Liverpool on Sunday, it's been one hell of a debut season for Swansea City!

The months since the Premier League new boys walked out at the Etihad have been incredibly memorable. The first win against West Brom; taking points from games against Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea; Alan Tate and his golf buggy; incredible possession stats; and the 3-1 loss to Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup (…yeah, scrap that last one).

This season has shown the world what Swansea City are all about. The pundits and bookies said the club would rejoin Cardiff in the Championship if they tried to replicate the pass-and-move style in the Premier League - how wrong they were.

Over the months we've seen some real talent join the club: Michel Vorm, Wayne Routledge, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Steven Caulker - vital players in the survival campaign. They won't all stay, but they'll be welcomed back any time! Some players joined and didn't make much of an impact, like Josh McEachran and the incredible return of Fede Bessone.

We've also said our goodbyes to some such as Craig Beattie, and two gingers, Ryan Harley and Shaun MacDonald, while Stephen Dobbie made a loan move (again) to Blackpool (again) where he helped them secure a place in the play-off final (again).

Swansea had their ups and downs on the field, from the deserved victories against Man City and Arsenal, to never being able to win against Wolves (even when it looked certain!). Low periods of form did become a worry at times, but the Swans never looked like being dragged into a relegation battle, with 17th being the lowest place all season, after the second game.

Despite that well-deserved win against Liverpool, Swansea ended the season with a poor spell - winning just one in eight and losing four in a row. Had they been a little more clinical in the final third, scoring just one or two goals where it mattered, Swansea could easily have finished in the top ten.

Having said that, finishing too high in the first season might not be desirable as it could set unrealistic ambitions for next time.

No, this season will be remembered as a highly positive campaign. 11th place was more than any of us predicted and to do it in such style and with limited resources has gained the club followers from across the globe.

So, what can we expect next season?

Some are already using the clich├ęd 'second season syndrome' when looking ahead, but this seems to be coming from the same people who said we'd see Elvis sooner than we'd see Swansea survive... and we all know what happened there.

In their 100th season as a football club, Swansea will no longer have the 'new boy' tag and many fans will expect to better the 11th place finish. Maybe a place in Europe? Maybe that's a bit too ambitious for now, especially with a squad lacking depth. I'm sure we'd all take another season of survival!

I will explore the ambitions, targets and how it'll be done over the next few weeks, but for now enjoy the summer Swans fans - you've earned it!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Swansea City vs Liverpool: Farewells from Graceland

It's May already?!

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that the Premier League had a shiny gloss of untried anticipation about it? Now we're all old pros, having stood face-to-face with the giants, showing planet football that Swansea aren't just making up the numbers.

We've seen so much this season, and I'll capture those memories in an upcoming blog post. But for now it's a look ahead to Swansea's final game: at home to Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers has already ensured that the stadium will have a party atmosphere about it, with his request for fans to wear Elvis costumes on Sunday. This is, of course, to highlight Swansea's silencing of the critics who said there would be more chance of seeing the fat man (not Michael Chopra...) reappear than Swansea surviving the Premier League.

Though Swansea's dreams of finishing in the top ten have all but gone, along with the other dream of finishing above Liverpool, the most important dream of league survival was the only one that needed to come true. And it did.

So this game shouldn't matter.

But it does. It's the last chance for the East Stand to shout and sing, showing the club their appreciation for the season gone by. It's also the chance for the players to show the fans a final good performance, because the Swans fans really have played that 12th man role all season. Everyone deserves a good game.

Liverpool are eighth in the table after giving Chelsea a good thrashing on Tuesday night, and they have nothing to lose on Sunday either, except dignity; something they have already lost in bucket-loads this season. They'll be coming down to Graceland with intentions to claw a little back, ending their damp season on a high.

I don't expect much in the shape of a team overhaul from Brendan Rodgers – Liverpool are still a good footballing force, so the inclusion of weaker fringe players will probably wait until those pre-season friendlies in America. On Sunday it should be the same eleven we've seen so much of this season. However, I wouldn't mind seeing Orlandi get a run around again, if he can shake off his injury. He intrigued in his last match...

This could also be the last game we see Steven Caulker and Gylfi Sigurdsson in Swansea City white, depending on their intentions during the summer. Hopefully they will stay, but if not this will be their farewell game.

Having a final bet of the season? Put it all on Swansea! 12/5 with the bookies, and well worth a gamble. The Elvis stunt is bound to create a 13th, 14th and 15th man for the Swans, spurring them on for that final win to round off a memorable season.

It's also worth sticking a pound on 4-4. You never know.

I'll be back with my season reviews, player report cards and next season previews over the next few weeks – until then, Forza Swansea!