The trip to Manchester is the penultimate match for Swansea City this season and the chance to cause another real upset in this unpredictable league.
Man United quite possibly threw away their chance at a 20th league title after that lacklustre, tired performance against their rivals on Monday night, but are still tipped to destroy Swansea on Sunday.
However I am optimistic. Perhaps I shouldn't be, with Swansea winning just one in their last seven games and with odds of 12/1 to win this one, but I feel we're still in for one more Swansea City shock before the season is through.
The Swans are safe. They have nothing to lose, and nothing more to gain (the top ten spot is probably just out of reach unless other results go the right way). The Sky cameras will be on, Swansea are clear underdogs and Man United, who are also slightly out of form, will be playing with desperation. Call me a silly sausage, but I feel this has 'upset' written all over it!
Who does Brendan Rodgers pick then? The 3-4-3 worked well to an extent last week, giving Swansea a much stronger attacking threat, but leave three at the back and the Swans will surely be torn apart by Rooney and co.
No, it'll be much the same as we've seen all season – 4-5-1 or thereabouts.
I'd like to see Orlandi take part again, after an effective first half last week. Possibly in the place of Leon Britton, maybe even Gylfi Sigurdsson – two players who might have been figured out a little by the opposition.
Alan Tate is expecting to make a return for this game against his former club. However, if Angel Rangel is fit, I don't think many will see Tate starting the game. He may come on at the end, depending on how things are going, similar to Mark Gower getting a little run-around against his former team at Spurs.
Whatever team Rodgers picks for this game, be sure that Sir Alex (...Ferguson) (...you knew who I meant) will field a younger Man United team, a much different side from the bunch who lost to Man City. Good news for Swansea as Jonny Evans and Danny Welbeck are unlikely to feature due to injuries, but we may see the return of Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez to the starting line-up.
Betting on the game? Swansea, as mentioned, are around 12/1 to win, and 6/1 to draw. A decent bet to cover may be 'Swansea to win or draw' which is priced at 4/1. It's hard to call a score on this one – I wouldn't bet against 4-4 (at 350/1) if I'm honest, but a more realistic 3-1 to Man United may be wiser (9/1).
Either way, it should be a great final away game for Swansea before a sure win against Liverpool the following week!
Friday, 4 May 2012
Saturday, 28 April 2012
I'm not sure what result Mr Rodgers was hoping for when he put his new look 3-4-3 side out against Wolves. I guess it wasn't 4-4. Still, safety was basically secure, so trying something new was worth a go...wasn't it?
If you saw the game, you know what happened and can miss out the following paragraph (unless you want to relive the horror...):
Kick-off. 22 seconds and Orlandi heads past de Vries. 1-0! Allen makes it two within four minutes. 2-0! Dyer grabs the third. 3-0! Game over! No, Wolves claw one back through Fletcher. 3-1. Graham puts the game to bed with Swansea's fourth. 4-1! Or does he? Jarvis soon makes it 4-2. Half time! Restart, Edwards makes it 4-3. A comeback is on. Nope it's already here - Jarvis makes it 4-4. Wolves should really go onto win the game, but it ends 4-4.
A thriller - Amazing. Entertaining. Annoying. Frustrating. Sloppy.
From 3-0 up in 15 minutes to 4-4 at the final whistle. Swansea haven't really self-imploded like this all season... not since... well, that game against Wolves in October.
In a match they were expected to win quite easily, Swansea could have done just that. Not many teams who are already relegated find the will and energy to stage a come back. But Wolves had nothing to lose and, sensing a vulnerable Swansea defence, come back they did.
The formation certainly contributed to Swansea both scoring and conceding those total six goals in the first half. The additional man in midfield gave the Swans plenty to work with. Orlandi, that extra man, really put in a good display and scored the quickest Premier League goal this season, before he was subbed at half time. It's a shame he wasn't on in the second half as you feel Swansea might have clung onto that lead.
It was Swansea's defence that lost it today. Very sloppy from all involved. Having three at the back in the first half saw too much pressure when Wolves decided that they actually wanted to come away with something. Bringing on Taylor should have made things more solid, but Caulker was forced to play as a makeshift right back. This wasn't the reason for the draw though – letting Wolves score even one goal was too much of an error.
Some have put Swansea's unravelling down to tired legs and tired minds, but we must remember Wolves have played the same amount of games. It's no excuse really.
The result means Swansea drop a place to 12th, where the win might have propelled them to 9th. I think a dream top ten finish is now out of the question. A shame, but survival was more than anyone hoped at the start of the season.
A few positives to end this blog post:
- Swansea scored four goals
- Andrea Orlandi looks to be a decent player again
- Swansea recorded the quickest Premier League goal this season
- De Vries didn't have a great game (or save a penalty like I predicted)
- We witnessed Terry Connor smiling. It was heart-warming.
See you in Manchester!