Showing posts with label Taylor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taylor. Show all posts

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 6th September 2015)

It's September - that means autumn is summer is pretty much over. However the sun is actually shining, and this is probably the only time you'll be able to enjoy an iced coffee all year.

You sort out the coffee, I'll sort out the writing, and we'll meet back here in five minutes... GO!


International Swans

There's been no Swansea City action this weekend, but a handful of first team Swans have been playing for their countries over the past few days.

Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor both featured in Wales' crucial 1-0 win against Cyprus on Thursday, with Williams putting in one hell of a shift - definitely the Dragons' star player.

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored from the spot in Iceland's surprise 1-0 victory against Holland, while Jonjo Shelvey featured for England in their predictable 6-0 blitz of San Marino last night - making him the very first player to feature for England while playing for Swansea City.

And it was a good performance, showing off the best of his passing game. Definitely one to show Roy he's not a one-cap wonder.


Dyer gone

One of the biggest surprises of the transfer window was Nathan Dyer making a loan move to Leicester City for the rest of the season.

It's not gone completely to plan for Dyer over the past few years. While he certainly made the step up to the Premier League - wowing in some games - he failed to consistently deliver, and has recently lost some pace and confidence.

And with an abundance of talent available on the wings these days including Montero, Ayew and Routledge, Dyer will be much more likely to pull on a Leicester City shirt than a Swansea one.

Who knows - he may find his Championship form again and be a big part of Swansea's future. We all hope so. But for now, thank you Nathan and see you next year!


20 more legends

The next 20 names are set to be added to Swansea City's Robbie James Wall of Fame, on the external wall of the Liberty Stadium ahead of the Everton game on Saturday, 19 September.

There are some huge names on there - players that made a great difference to Swansea as both Town and City, such as Harry Hanford, Reg Weston, Jimmy Rimmer and Leighton Phillips. If you don't recognise the names you need to do some reading - get yourself a copy of Swansea City's Greatest Games!

The following 20 players' names will be fixed to the wall: Jimmy Collins (1919-30), Alex Ferguson (1927-35), Harry Hanford (1927-36), SJ Lawrence (1930-39), TB Olsen (1930-39), Trevor Ford (1946-47), Reg Weston (1946-52), Frank Burns (1946-52), Tom Kiley (1947-57), Alan Williams (1968-72), Des Palmer (1950-59), Ray Daniel (1958-59), Mike Johnson (1958-66), Brian Purcell (1958-68), Brayley Reynolds (1959-64), Dai Davies (1969-70,1973, 1981-83), Jimmy Rimmer (1973-74, 1983-86), Leighton Phillips (1978-81), John Mahoney (1979-83), and Dave Stewart (1980-81).

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 29th March 2015)

Quick, you're late! The clocks went forward last night and you've missed all the fun stuff because you were sleeping!

Oh well, grab your latte with a shot of hazelnut syrup (if that's what floats your boat) and let's see what's been happening this week.


Three-match March

March hasn't been a good month for Swans fans, as the club have only played three matches over the four weeks. And there was no Swansea match again this weekend thanks to the international break.

However, on the bright side, Swansea are safe in the Premier League for another season and they will be playing next weekend - at home to Hull City on Saturday, 4 April at 3pm.


Swans players in action

One good thing about the international break was that we got to see at least some of the Swans stars in action in a different environment. And they were all winners!


Captain of Wales

Yesterday evening the Welsh team beat Israel 3-0 in their European Cup qualifier, with Swansea's Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor both in action.

Elsewhere in Europe, Gylfi Sigurdsson played the full 90 minutes for Iceland in their comfortable 3-0 win against Kazakhstan, although he failed to score. And not forgetting Lukasz Fabianski, who is likely to start for Poland in tonight's match against the Republic of Ireland (7.45pm kick off - the match is live on Sky Sports 5).


Tiendalli has gone

Don't worry - he'll be back (as if anyone was worrying...). Yes, earlier in the week it was announced that Dwight Tiendalli would be joining Championship high-flyers Middlesbrough on loan until the end of the season.

Tiendalli in action...

With Kyle Naughton in good shape and Rangel a fine back-up, the right-back position is pretty much sorted, so there's little for Tiendalli to do apart from rust up on the bench. So it's a good move for both the club and the player - who definitely needs game time.

In 2010 Swansea borrowed Marvin Emnes from Middlesbrough and he produced a very memorable goal against Cardiff. Let's hope Tiendalli can be of similar use to Boro in their quest for the Premier League.


Jack in Time

Earlier in the week I wrote a new Jack in Time post about Swansea City's Football League Trophy Final escapades at the Millennium Stadium in 2006, with a couple of videos - check it out here.




Monday, 12 August 2013

The left-back headache: Davies or Taylor?

It's been an ongoing point of conversation for many Swans fans - who should start at left-back next season: Ben Davies or Neil Taylor? However, making his ForzaSwansea debut, JAMES GILL highlights why he believes the decision isn't as complicated as it first seems.

---

By James Gill

Just three games into last season Neil Taylor suffered a horrific injury against Sunderland resulting in a dislocated fracture of his ankle. After the initial worry for the player, many of the fans attention switched to who would fill in for Taylor after his outstanding rise over the previous two seasons, especially in the step-up to the top flight.

As a nervous looking Ben Davies first ran out onto the field to make his Swans debut, I wondered whether this was a temporary replacement before we signed a free agent. But Davies immediately put any doubts to bed.

From his first game Davies showed his intent and, surprisingly, his confidence on the ball. He also showed an overlapping prowess that added an extra element to Swansea's attack, while he was technically good in defence.

He even bagged himself a goal against Stoke using his wing-back mentality. Within months of making his debut, he received a Wales call up and earned his first cap, again replacing Taylor in the left back position (he has since made five appearances).

As each game went by this 19-year-old looked more and more comfortable, as if he'd been playing Premier League football for years. When Neil Taylor announced he was hoping to return before the end of the season, I did wonder how he would get back into the side. Davies hadn't put a foot wrong all season! How can you drop a player who had done everything that had been asked of him?

In his first season (37 games) Davies contributed one goal and two assists whereas Taylor has never scored a goal for the Swans and only has one assist to his name since arriving from Wrexham in 2010.

Davies created 18 chances last season compared to Taylor's seven. However Taylor does have a slightly better pass rate at 88% compared to Davies 83%. And these stats continue to shine through when you look at how they play for Wales.

As the season approaches I believe it will be Ben Davies who will start in the left back position. Because of unfortunate events Michael Laudrup only had Taylor in his side for three games last season, meaning the rest of the season he worked with Davies week in week out. Managers tend to stick to what they know and, as I've said before, Davies doesn't deserve to be dropped at the moment.

It's up to Taylor to win his position back, which will only ensure Davies keeps on top of his game. Taylor would be a great asset for any team outside the top four to have and I think it shows how far as a club we've come when we have quality such as him sat on the bench every week.

And with a European campaign looming, the quality we have in the two of them will allow us to rotate if needed and that gives us a great advantage.

Either way you look at it, all Swans fans will agree that it's a nice headache to have!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Swansea City vs. Aston Villa: Defensive woes...

The clearest, biggest, fattest issue that must be addressed before we discuss the upcoming game against Aston Villa is Swansea City's defence. Or lack of it...

We all winced when we saw Neil Taylor stretchered off against Sunderland. The wince turned into a violent shudder when we heard he would be out all season with a fractured ankle. One vital player down. In the same game, another defender ruled himself out of the next three games - the ever-feisty Chico Flores. He'll be serving the first of his three-match ban for his stupidly high tackle on Louis Saha. That's another key man gone.

Then we had a moment of good news/bad news. The good news was we all remembered Kyle Bartley had been signed for situations just like this! Brilliant - an ex-Arsenal/Rangers defender, eager to make his mark on the team! The bad news... yeah, you guessed it - he's injured. Ruled out for three months with a thigh injury picked up in training. Typical.
Don't fret (or stop your current fretting) - Swansea do have a few options. There are those full of potential, like Jazz Richards and Ben Davies, but Swansea do need someone with experience to fall back on. Thankfully, the club have signed former Holland under-21 international Dwight Tiendalli on a season long contract (a good-value free-transfer). He'll replace Taylor on the left. I've not seen anything of Tiendalli, so whether he will be as strong going forward (or at the back for that matter) will need to be seen.

Now... this is it for Alan Tate.

Really, this is his big chance to make an impact in the Premier League. Tate had a frustrating time last season with injuries and defensive competition, but he now has three full Premier League games to show that he can cope with the power and pace of the best attackers in the country. He will slot into the centre-back role next to Williams. Come on Alan - this is your moment.

Elsewhere, the Swansea starting XI (that's '11' for those who didn't do Latin in school) still isn't as predictable as last season. In a good way I guess, as there is a little choice among the rest of the squad.

We should see the same effective trio start in the middle: Britton, Michu and de Guzman. Originally I had a feeling Sung-Yueng would start this one, but he is likely to begin on the bench after fitness concerns. He played 90 minutes for South Korea in their World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday - we don't want to risk another injury now, do we?

Nathan Dyer, overlooked for the England squad once again, will appear on the wing. While his exclusion from the England squad seems ridiculous to everyone except Roy Hodgson, at least every time he pulls on a Swans shirt he will feel like he has something to prove, and that can't be a bad thing for Swansea City.

Joining Dyer on the wing will probably see the d├ębut appearance for Pablo Hernandez. This may be a little harsh on Wayne Routledge who has been nothing short of superb in the opening games, capped off by a superb goal against Sunderland two weeks ago. It would be good to see what Hernandez can do though, so I wouldn't say no to Routledge sitting this one out.

Now, onto Aston Villa. It's not been a convincing start for Paul Lambert's men - one point from three games sees them just one place above the relegation zone in this early stage. Without a win in 13 Premier League games, Villa will be gagging for three points.

Not sure about you, but I have a feeling Villa may nick it. For the first three matches I was optimistic but I just have this looming feeling of a loss on the cards for the Swans.

As you know, now and again I like to link up with an opposition blogger to share thoughts ahead of the game. This week we have Stuart Young from avillafan.com, who knows Villa inside out and has given us some brief thoughts:

There is a new positive vibe around Villa Park following the appointment of Paul Lambert. Too many people in the media were quick to jump on the Villa faithful last season for them not getting behind Alex McLeish. In reality, the vast majority did give him a chance, but his negative style of football soon turned us.
Anyway: this is a new Aston Villa. We wont make out that we will return to the heights we found ourselves under Martin O'Neill this season but we hope for slow and steady improvement to get back into that position.
Lambert, didn’t hang around, and brought in seven new faces during the summer - some will make an instant impact, while others will take time. I fully expect the new manager to stick with the same side that managed a score-draw with Newcastle. So we should line up something like this:
Guzan 
Lowton, Clark, Vlaar, Lichaj 
Holman, El-Ahmadi, Ireland, Bannan 
Weimann, Bent
I wouldn't be surprised to see both Gabby Agbonlahor and new signing Christian Bentake come off the bench and make some kind of impact.
It wont be an easy game for us, but I believe we must get a win and really kick start our season. 

Thankfully Swansea's first three games have produced seven points, so a slip up won't be taken too badly. This doesn't mean Swansea can afford to lose this match - there will be plenty of time to lose matches against bigger teams. Aston Villa, once a top six club, are now struggling at the wrong end of the table and Swans need to kick them when they're down so to speak.
 
As I mention, I'm not as confident as usual for Swansea to get a result, despite the amazing start. I will say Aston Villa to win 2-1 (odds around 7/1). Another bet I've been happy to cover recently is Michu to score two or more, this week at around 18/1 - worth a pound or three with his record!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Swansea 2 – 3 Norwich: a game best forgotten

It's not often a team will out-Swansea Swansea. I expect it to happen when Swansea eventually make it to the Champions League and play Barcelona, but I didn't expect it yesterday against Norwich.

I had heard a few Swans fans were a little pessimistic before the match, but I honestly couldn't see it going any other way than three points to the home side. Yet Norwich came out and really did a number on the Swans and deserved their win. They had us sussed from start to finish.

So who didn't turn up? Literally Joe Allen, but he was injured so it's forgiveable. I can't say I was overly impressed with his replacement – Josh McEachran was a little too weak in an area that needs strength. Leon Britton needed someone more physical next to him and unfortunately McEachran didn't offer it. It's a shame Kemy Agustien was also injured as it might have been a different game with a stronger ball winner in the middle.

Angel Rangel was uncharacteristically disappointing. Too many times we saw a Norwich goal-scoring opportunity come from an attacker in too much space on that left wing. The rest of the back four all had a poor game in my eyes, although Steven Caulker showed some attacking talent with a few decent headed attempts at the other end.

Neil Taylor scoring a second consecutive home own goal was just bad luck, but own goals are only scored when there is pressure on the defence – and there was plenty of pressure on the defence yesterday! Elsewhere, Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair weren't allowed their usual space which resulted in both being rightly subbed.

On a positive note, Leon Britton, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Michel Vorm had decent games, but the performance by the whole team was very under-par.

The Liberty is a hard place for visitors to score (we actually have to go back to 2009 – Paulo Sousa reign – for the last time three away goals were scored there), but Swansea lacked the composure, style and accurate passing we have been spoilt with so regularly this season.

The worrying thing is that there doesn't seem to be a plan B for these situations. It's good for football that Swansea won't just hoof it long up the field, even when under pressure, but what can they do when their Barcelona-esque passing isn't an option?

The bench offered little in the way of impact subs – Mark Gower is fine to float a few balls into the area, and is a nice player to air-out when ahead, but he's no game changer. The introduction of Leroy Lita and Wayne Routledge seemed more out of desperation than a well thought out plan.

Let's get this right – Swansea will secure safety this season. I'm confident. At risk of jinxing it, there are too many other teams that are destined for the Championship and I can't see Swansea being one of them. But to continue and grow in the Premier League, Swansea need more of an idea of what to do if they aren't allowed to play their usual game.

It would be nice to see this experimented after safety is secured. It would be interesting to try a new formation or a new system. This experimentation could end up ruining a game for the Swans, but it would be worth it for a clearer idea of what is needed when teams come looking for trouble.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Swansea 1 – 1 Chelsea: an honest look at the game.

As I'm sure many will have said as they poured from the stadium last night: had Chelsea scored first and Swansea equalised (a la Spurs) it would be a scoreline worth celebrating. However, last night's point is acceptable to be annoyed at. As I see it, it is two points dropped.

As many others will have said: to be disappointed with a draw against Chelsea really shows Swansea have come a long way. Yes it does, but that fact doesn't make the disappointment any easier.

Looking at the match, and the evening in general, it was quite entertaining. The first half saw the typical Swansea set-up and the slick pass-and-move philosophy. Swansea could well have taken the lead at the 15-minute mark when three beautiful open-goal opportunities presented themselves, but it was not to be.

The pressure did pay off when Scott Sinclair took a blind swing at a bouncing ball and it dipped and floated past Petr Cech. A deserved 1-0 to the Swans.

Second half was a different game. Swansea's passing was way off the mark, with one too many loose passes and aimless runs. I had a feeling it wouldn't end 1-0 and I was right. It's just so cruel that the equaliser came in the 93rd minute from an own goal! The own goal won't be remembered though – Taylor had a good night and didn't deserve it. But Chelsea's goal looked imminent during the last 20 minutes.

I think a turning point was bringing on Luke Moore for Scott Sinclair. Apart from the goal, Sinclair didn't have an outstanding night, so a sub was a decent call. Bringing on Moore wasn't. He just doesn't do the running of Sinclair and never seems that interested in defending. I'd have brought on Routledge or even Richards if they wanted to close the game up. Ultimately Moore let Bosingwa through and there came the goal.

Moore and his lackadaisical approach aside and it was a decent team performance: Dyer didn't seem as composed as usual, but frustrated the hell out of the Chelsea midfield towards the end. Ashley Williams put in a good man-of-the-match performance, while Caulker mopped up a lot of loose ball at the back. Leon Britton was busy as usual and Kemy Agustien seemed to have a positive impact when coming on.

The referee was terrible in the second half generally, though he did issue the yellow cards and eventually send off Ashley Cole, so he got something right.

We can't blame the referee though. Swansea let Chelsea keep possession and territory in the second half and that led to the goal. The now famous “Swansea Triangle” was rarely seen in the latter stages. The skill is always there, but the composure and concentration is the thing that tends to transform three points into the single one with Swansea.

Still, it's a point...

Onto West Brom on Saturday, where there's now just a little more pressure to get the away win.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Swansea 3 - 0 West Brom: Told you so...

Much like Italy in the 2006 World Cup, off-the-field incidents seemed to spur the players to an on-the-field performance to be proud of as Swansea beat West Brom 3-0 on Saturday.

Local tragedies had been building through the last few weeks, so it seemed right that the Swans should banish their goal demons on a day where they were playing for more than just points - they played for the four Welsh miners, the local five-year-old and Brendan Rodgers' father, who all sadly died recently.

I don't particularly want to mention the moment's silence prior to kick-off, but I will: the first 30 seconds were a touching tribute, however a minority of West Brom fans (who were reported to be entering the stadium at the time) began a shouting battle which quickly ruined the moment. Very shameful, if it was a purposeful interruption.

Onto the match, where we finally saw Swansea score not one, but three goals! Fair enough, it was a penalty, but I think a penalty is what was needed. Surely a message from the Gods of football: “You've had so many bloody chances and keep missing - just have one on us”. Scott Sinclair put it away and, like many had predicted, the flood gates opened.

The amount of abuse I've recently received for asking “why not start Leroy Lita instead of Danny Graham” was large and consistent. Not one to gloat, let me just say “TOLD YOU SO!” and move on. Seriously though, it took an injury to the aforementioned Graham to see Lita claim his first Premier League start. Lita knew, like the majority of us, that he might not get regular chances to impress with Graham fully fit, so he had a lot to prove; and prove he did. He looked hungry for the ball from the off. The first chance that fell to him was put in the back of the net – very refreshing. He made a number of impressive off-the-ball runs and also contributed to Nathan Dyer's goal with a nice flick from Vorm's clearance. An enjoyable performance by the pitbullish Lita.

A note about Danny Graham: it's possible that, now goals have been scored, the pressure is off him personally. Therefore he may relax a little more in front of goal during his next game and put away his chances.

As I mentioned, it was nice to see Dyer score for a change – the amount he creates has always been overshadowed by his (lack of) ability in front of goal, but he managed to calmly slide one between the legs of Ben Foster early in the second half. It may well be the last goal of his for another year, but as long as he continues running and creating, he'll be the first name on the team sheet for some time to come.

Defensively, Swansea were solid once again. In a time where every feasible defensive option appeared to be unavailable, we saw Garry Monk return to the pitch slightly before he was 100% fit, though you wouldn't have guessed: he fell back into action like it was an extension of that play-off final.

The injury to Neil Taylor was very worrying, especially with the appearance of stretchers, paramedics, oxygen and Fede Bessone on the sidelines, but it doesn't seem to be as serious as it first appeared thankfully. He had a good game (apart from the occasional lapse of concentration) and it'll be good to see him back at Chelsea - we hope.

Fede Bessone did appear, as I said, and seemed to slot in fine. I doubt he was expecting to feature at any point against West Brom, though he didn't look too phased by the “big time”. Elsewhere, Joe Allen and Leon Britton had wonderful games, Mark Gower played some lovely long balls and Scott Sinclair troubled the Baggies defence a number of times. A convincing team display by Swansea.

Generally, the opposition were not terrible and had their chances (which gives even more credit to Swansea) – Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie looked sharp throughout (though I'd better curb any praise of Odemwingie due to his poor challenge on Taylor). It was good to see West Brom not completely give up towards the end, which ensured an enthralling finish, instead of everyone just counting down the seconds until the final whistle.

If you read my last blog, I hope you followed one of my tips and covered the 3-0 win (at 25/1) and are all collecting your winnings? I wish I'd put more than a pound on it now!

The Swans travel to Chelsea next Saturday with at least one win and, more importantly, a few goals under their belts. Will Taylor be back in time? Will Swansea lose another three to the injured list? Will Lita start again? Find out next time on, Swansea in the Premier League!