Showing posts with label Safety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Safety. Show all posts

Thursday 19 April 2012

Swansea City vs Bolton: Now, back to the top ten!

That dreaded fifth defeat in a row didn't come last week thankfully, as Swansea comfortably beat Blackburn 3-0. This Saturday sees the Swans take on relegation strugglers Bolton in the Reebok Stadium.

Now, I thought 40 was the magic number of points needed to mathematically stay afloat in the Premier League pond, but others, including Brendan Rodgers, are insisting on another win to be sure. I guess this isn't a bad thing; we wouldn't want him to come out and say “yep, we're done for points this season - Gower will start in goals on Saturday, with an injured Alan Tate up-front, just for a laugh!”.

No, Rodgers wants to be sure, and a win on Saturday will guarantee Swansea are safe.

However, winning the game against Bolton would be another stepping stone to, what should be, Swansea's next achievable goal: finishing in the top ten. It would be a real triumphant end to a season already filled with a variety of memorable accomplishments for the little club from South Wales.

Four games left. Two are very winnable. One is certainly drawable, if not winnable too (the Liverpool game). If results don't go well for other teams around the Swans in the table, that tenth place finish is there for the taking.

So - Bolton. Joe Allen, Scott Sinclair and Danny Graham all scored in October as Swansea beat Bolton 3-1 in the Liberty Stadium.

Bolton have a few on the injury list including Stuart Holden, Ricardo Gardner and Tyrone Mears along with Fabrice Muamba, who is recovering well it seems, after his collapse a few weeks ago. This encouraging news will ensure Bolton have nothing on their minds except winning.

Swansea will also come up against Darren Pratley for the second time this season. I don't see much reason to boo him, though I assume he may get a jeer or two from the odd few travelling Jacks. Not as many as I anticipate Dorus de Vries will receive next week... but that's another blog post entirely!

Looking at Swansea and, apart from Alan Tate's fresh calf injury ruling him out, they have a full squad to choose from (minus long term absentees Kemy Agustien and, of course, Ferrie Bodde). The Swans squad, as usual, picks itself. Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Caulker, Taylor; Dyer, Allen, Sigurdsson, Britton, Sinclair; Graham. I can't see Routledge forcing his way back into the starting squad this week.

As you are aware, Bolton are in the bottom three (18th), which don't make them nice opposition at this time of the year. They have slightly more to play for than Swansea and have the home crowd behind them. It's a dangerous mix for the Swans, who do stutter on the road.

My prediction then is a 2-2 draw (priced at 11/1 on PaddyPower). It's been a while since I've predicted 2-2, but I just have that feeling. If Swansea concentrate though, the win is well within them, so add another goal onto that for 3-2 (at 25/1). For your information, Darren Pratley to score and Bolton to win is priced at 13/2 – maybe worth covering, just in case.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Swansea City vs Everton: Safety matches!

The notion of “safety” in the Premier League seems a little irrelevant when Swansea City comfortably hold eighth position in the table.

Even so, the mathematicians among you (which, I suspect, is not that many) will want the added feeling of security that 40 points will bring and a win in Saturday's game against Everton will push Swansea into the desired “safe” zone.

The current team is looking more and more comfortable each week. I can't see much being changed this Saturday - the old cliché reads 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. (Other clichés I enjoy include: 'stubborn as a mule', 'tip of the iceberg' and 'start from scratch' - all have probably featured heavily in this blog over the years.)

Nathan Dyer will be serving the last of his three-match ban for his red card at Wigan, leaving Wayne Routledge to once again fill in on the right wing. I guess “fill in” undermines him slightly as he's done so much more than just fill a hole. While arguably less skilful and certainly less speedy than Dyer, Routledge's delivery into the box has been superb and it's something that is definitely leading to goals.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is having an inspired few weeks and I wouldn't bet against him getting another goal or two in the game against Everton. He's certainly the player to permanently fill the Dobbie-role (now on loan to Blackpool until the end of the season) – if Swansea can raise the funds to sign him.

Ashley Williams is still not a certainty to start after missing out at Fulham due to sickness last weekend. We hope he returns, but I'm sure Monk would relish another starting appearance (and probably deserves it).

Before we get too caught up in getting the fourth win in a row, lest we forget Everton are still a “big” team. Despite now being below the Swans in the table (tenth), they're consistently a top-ten side and boast a number of impressive players and a good manager in Moyes.

Everton took all three points from Swansea in Goodison Park at Christmas time with a 1-0 win, but were unable to overtake the Swans in the table on Wednesday, when they lost 1-0 to Arsenal. In fact the Arsenal game marked the third in a row without a win, so they'll see Swansea as a route back to winning ways. I'm sure they'll be wary though – I don't think any team now feels Swansea is an easy three points, especially at the Liberty Stadium.

But who am I to analyse Everton? In a ForzaSwansea first, I've allowed another blogger to grace my blog. Here's some great analysis from Nic, writer at top Everton blog The Executioner's Bong:

Brendan Rodgers has rightly been lauded for the way Swansea have lightened up the top flight. The best thing about your style is that it shows you don’t have to play the direct, dour percentage football adopted by other sides that have come up.

Against a side who keeps the ball like you guys do there is perhaps a plan A and Plan B. ‘Plan A’ is to let you have the ball, conserve energy by only pressing when you approach 20 yards from our goal. Plan B is to stop you playing from the back. Given the small squad and the vital cup replay on Tuesday I’d doubt very much if Moyes would adopt an energy sapping tactic like Plan B and will instead adopt Plan A and look to stand off, narrow the passing angles to Swansea’s defenders and push them to play longer.

Moyes will certainly shuffle his pack for this one given the Arsenal game last night and the cup game next Tuesday. I’d expect Stracquilarsi, Anichebe and perhaps Gueye to get run outs given they all have good energy as we will probably spend a lot of time not in possession. Pienaar is cup tied for Tuesday so will probably start also. I’d imagine Cahill, Jelavic and possibly Drenthe will all be rested.

Our goal scoring record on the road is awful – less than one per game – so you probably only need the one goal to win it!

With that in mind, let's move to some bets! If you're planning to place a wager on the match, a few to cover are listed below:

Swansea are favourites at 5/4 so would be a good inclusion in any accumulator you have going this weekend. 'Sigurdsson to score first' is at 13/2 and probably worth covering as he is the man on fire at the moment.

My score prediction is 2-1 to Swansea, which is priced at 15/2. Nic says just one goal could win it for Swansea, and 1-0 to the home side is at 11/2 (all odds from PaddyPower)!

Thanks again to Nic and be sure to check out The Executioner's Bong for more analysis!