Showing posts with label Stoke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stoke. Show all posts

Sunday 3 May 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 3rd May 2015)

**UPDATE FOR SUNDAY 10 MAY**  Sorry, there's no catch-up today as I've been busy this week finalising my second Swansea City book, which will be out in September! However, I promise to have a nostalgia piece up next week. Enjoy your Sunday and see you soon, Chris


I've missed the last two weeks of Sunday catch-ups, but I hope you were still drinking your coffee without me. I did post a couple of other articles during the week, including a nice one from Alec Johnson on why Swansea need to set their sights on cups instead of top of the league next season.

But now let's see what we can catch-up with this week:

Swansea City 2 - 0 Stoke City

So we're into May - that season went quite quickly! And kicking off the final month, Swansea beat Stoke 2-0 in their penultimate home game.

After a pretty forgettable first half, the game livened up soon after the break, as did the crowd at the Liberty. And although more chances were being created, a 0-0 still seemed on the cards - until 15 minutes remaining when, after some hard work to get to Nathan Dyer's poorly placed pass, Jonjo Shelvey chipped in a cross for Jefferson Montero to head home - his first Swansea City goal.

Stoke were reduced to ten men when Marc Wilson was rightly shown a second yellow for blatantly hacking down the breakaway Montero, before second-half sub Ki Sung Yueng slotted in his eighth goal for the club in the first minute of injury time.

The two goal win takes the Swans to 53 points and extends their lead in eighth place (with Stoke now six points behind in ninth). A great start to the final month of the season.

Pre-season tour announced

Heading back to the States!

This summer, the Swans will once again head off to America as part of their pre-season tour, where they will take part in a mini tournament in Texas in mid-July. I know there are many Texas-based Swans fans who will be celebrating this news, having the chance to see the club play on their doorstep.

It seems Swansea will take on both Malaga and Mexican top flight side Pachuca in their 'group' games, before playing either Newcastle, Lyon or Moroccan outfit Raja Casablanca afterwards. The first two Swans' games are currently scheduled for July 14th and 16th, although stay tuned for changes.

Loan watch

Let's briefly look at those players out on loan and how they are doing now the season is coming to an end.

Firstly - as you've probably guessed considering he made a late appearance for Swansea yesterday - young Modou Barrow is back from his time with Nottingham Forest, having made four appearances for the mid-table Championship side.

After his poor debut, Dwight Tiendalli remained with Middlesbrough and played just one more game, bringing his total to two. He didn't impress fans with his shaky performances, and I can't see Boro trying to keep hold of him somehow.

Elsewhere Swansea's young Irish striker Rory Donnelly made quite an impact with Tranmere Rovers, scoring five goals in 20 games and was even named Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month back in January.

Michu is still with Napoli, but rumours suggest he'd be happy to return to Swansea having had an awful time with the Serie A giants. Jazz Richards' one month loan at Fulham was extended to the end of the season - he made 14 appearances for the Championship club since joining at the end of January.

And finally club stalwart Alan Tate is still with Crewe Alexandra, having made 26 appearances with the League One Railwaymen since joining at the start of the season.

Monday 11 November 2013

The 93rd minute

I rarely write a match report these days because... well, there are so many out there and most people see the match live or recorded it seems a little pointless.

However I am going to share a few of my thoughts about Swansea's frustrating match against Stoke, which ended 3-3 thanks to another injury time penalty!

Conceding in injury time to the detriment of points is an unfortunate habit that the current Swansea side seem to have fallen into. Swansea fans usually have a lot of patience, but nobody would blame even the most docile fan for getting irate, considering it's happened three times in as many weeks (twice with Kuban Krasnodar and once with Stoke).

Twice it has been a penalty - the one against the Russians was justified, however the one given to Stoke by Robert "The Twat" Madley was little more than a guess on his part and replays show very little to suggest otherwise. He cost Swansea the game. Referees make mistakes, but that really was a tough mistake to swallow.

However - even though he is fully to blame for his stupid decision - we have to look at why Swansea aren't able to close a game out. There must be an underlying reason why concentration lapses and the opposition score and there must be a solution! I'm not saying they need to take the ball to the corner flag at the end of every game, but whatever happened to the easy passing that would ensure the team would keep possession until the final whistle? I guess this is a discussion for another blog post though.

Anyway, if we put the annoying ending aside it was definitely a cliched "game of two halves", with the first a complete shambles, similar to many other Swans games we've seen recently, and the second half a perfect representation of what Swansea should play like week-in week-out. 

So - were some Swans fans within their right to boo the team off at half-time after that dismal 45 minutes? It's completely understandable that they were frustrated and I believe all fans have a right to voice their opinion. However a muted clap or just silence is probably a more dignified way to let the world know you were not keen on the performance. Boos - while a good way to make yourself heard - are more for clubs who are in a really bad place, like those who want to get rid of a manager or those who are in the relegation places (think of Sunderland recently). Boos aren't really Swansea City.

Finally I will touch upon Chico Flores and his play acting. When the team are doing well nobody seems to mind it (or at least nobody speaks up about it), but yesterday when the team were looking like a Championship side, Chico hamming it up was quite embarrassing. Like boos, play acting and deliberate diving is not really what Swansea are about. Yes, it can be amusing occasionally and was an oddly refreshing change when we first saw it, but ultimately there is no need for it in football and it's becoming a little cringe-worthy. I feel he will stop this - if only from the amount of abuse he got on Twitter yesterday.

The international breaks always seem to come at a bad time for Swansea, but let's hope the team can regroup and rethink what is going wrong - and what is going right - before the away match at Fulham on Saturday 23rd November.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Swansea vs. Stoke: not that different?

The 'top of the league' chants have stopped, the Michu goal-machine is broken and the fawned-over passing stats have recently been less impressive.

Yes, after the unbelievable start - picking up six points in two games - Swansea City have settled into a more believable Premier League season, earning just one point in the last three and looking like a poor Championship team in the process.

It should be pointless me saying 'let's not panic' because people shouldn't be panicking. However, Swans fans are understandably uneasy with the way things are going. The team need to sharpen up a little and play a bit of... well, football.

Still, it's early in the season and there is now a chance for the team to redeem themselves against Stoke on Saturday. Stoke are 13th in the table - two places below Swansea after a poor start for them - on four points with four draws.

Most media outlets will be billing this as a 'clash of styles' and last season it was very true. Stoke are a big physical side who - clich├ęd as it may be, but quite true - love to play a long ball to a tall front man. Last season Swansea were bullied off the ball and succumbed to strong set-pieces. But this season things already seem different. Swansea are looking to play a longer pass at times and - with the likes of Michu, Chico Flores and Sung-Yueng - are looking a tougher side, able to cope with what Stoke can throw at them physically.

Who should start in the middle on Saturday is a question worth asking. The side certainly missed Leon Britton against Everton so he needs to be the first name on the team sheet in my eyes. Michu, despite a poor spell recently, is certainly on there too. The fiery ying to Britton's calmer yang. Completing the trio should be Ki Sung-Yeung who was one of the only players against Everton to have a decent game. This relatively untested group should work well.

Nathan Dyer's silly sending off meant he missed one game (as it was two yellow cards, not a straight red), so he will be back this week after missing the Crawley game. I'd assume Wayne Routledge will join him on the other side as Pablo Hernandez looked a little useless against Everton.

Swansea's defensive worries remain worrying, though we're relieved to see Chico Flores back from his three-match ban. He'll certainly bolster the back four considerably, in place of Alan Tate who looked unable to cope against Everton. Elsewhere I think I'd prefer to see Dwight Tiendalli start at left back instead of Ben Davies for a change. Tiendalli had a good game at Crawley by all accounts and a Premier League start is deserved.

Would it be a stupid move to change Ashley Williams for Garry Monk? Probably. Either way, Williams needs a good shake after some of his worst ever performances in a Swans shirt recently.

With a defence lacking in confidence, goals are likely to be conceded - there's no escaping that. However the attacking players need to balance this out with goals of their own.

Stoke, as we've mentioned, have also started poorly and will be desperate for all three points after not winning in their last 11 Premier League matches. Stoke are without banned Andy Wilkinson, while former Swans player Mamady Sidibe is also out with an injury. They still have power, skill and, of course, height in players like Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam, though have a talented short-arse in Michael Owen likely to cause some trouble.

I feel it'll be a fiery game, with goals from both sides. However I have a funny feeling Swansea will feel the pressure away from home, especially at the Britannia - well known for its great home atmosphere. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm going for 2-1 to Stoke (at around 7/1). However with Stoke's recent record of score draws, 1-1 is a bet worth covering at around 5/1.

I'm sure none of us would complain with a point. None of us would complain with a loss if Swansea played with a little more purpose and direction than against Everton!

Friday 24 February 2012

Swansea vs Stoke: something to do with pottery?

As you may be able to tell I was unable to come up with an original title with a good play on words for the Swansea vs Stoke (aka Potters) game. You could say... coming up with a title has... driven me potty! Boom.

So, shit introductions aside and Swansea City are back playing this weekend following what has essentially been two weeks off. They're playing away, they're playing Stoke and they're playing for the win.

Whereas Swansea's last international flight was a week ago, returning from a relaxing break in Tenerife, Stoke's last flight was probably this morning after retuning from their 1-0 Europa-League-exiting defeat to Valencia last night. Swansea, despite having to travel to the Britannia Stadium, should have a more relaxed air about them.

They'll need it after their last match. The game against Norwich was the first in a long time that Swansea visibly lacked composure. Yes, it's been put to bed now, but Stoke will surely have taken note of it and will know that to win, all they must do is ruffle Swansea's usual cool, calm game.

Stoke, as everyone is quick to point out, are very heavy handed. They have the height and physical advantage and have as much to play for as the Swans (both teams on 30 points at the moment). The Swans, as many more will be equally quick to point out, can out-pass Stoke all day long. In fact they've done so already this season, winning 2-0 in the Liberty against them in October.

A win on Sunday would probably see Swansea hold onto 11th place in the table – not a bad position. If things don't go as planned and they lose, Swansea could well fall to 15th. While that wouldn't necessarily be a dire situation, it's certainly the wrong end of the table to be finishing the weekend in, especially ahead of the upcoming game against Man City.

We can be thankful that there are no testing injury worries for Brendan Rodgers, so he has much to chose from. On Sunday I'd go with:

Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor
Dyer, Britton, Allen, Agustien, Routledge

Kemy Agustien and Joe Allen were both missed in the Norwich game, but need to be included this time: Allen for his ball winning and Agustien just for his size and physical nature. However, there is news that Agustien has picked up a knock in training – if that's the case and he's sitting this one out, Sigurdsson is certainly the man to bring in. On the wing, I'd start Routledge for a change as Sinclair seems slightly off form (though he'd be a great sub to bring on to add speed when legs get tired). The rest goes without saying.

Onto predictions: I see a Swansea away win. 1-0. I think that ends this blog post.