Monday 12 December 2016

Vital Points Revive Super Swans

If you'd told me at the start of the day that we'd be out of the relegation zone by Monday afternoon on Saturday morning; you can be fairly certain my response would relate to going forth and multiplying and yet... Bradders actually pulled off a victory worthy of some serious praise.

As I mentioned in my Match Preview; Bob Bradley needed to inject some life into the attack and focus on the most talented members of the squad - who went on to secure the win? Messrs Sigurdsson and Llorente. Please, keep your applause until the end folks!

Don't get me wrong; the first half was like watching paint dry in the rain but when the lads trotted out for the second half they looked a totally different prospect. The attacking moves were brilliantly well thought out and it looked as though everyone had a particular part to play - playing to players strengths at last!

Even the referee, Craig Pawson, had a great game. Every decision he made was fair and correct, the penalty was correctly awarded and Angel Rangel can have no complaints about his booking - great to see the officials getting it right for a change.

We couldn't have asked for a better penalty taker than Sigurdsson in all honesty. I feel that Llorente wasn't quite set into the game until we took the lead then the big man settled right in and dispatched Gylfi's genius corner with aplomb.

I'm also glad to see 'Nando quite literally using his head - that second goal was very well taken and should give him the confidence boost he's needed. Between Llorente, Gylfi and Britt's we actually looked composed and threatening - we need more of this Bob and lots more of it.

Bring on West Brom on Wednesday night - if anyone's going to the game and has spare seats in the car etc; please let us know in the comments and we'll see if we can't get as many as we can to The Hawthorns.

Friday 9 December 2016

Bob's Bad Banter

Well thanks a lot Bob. A day after Bradley vowed we would ‘fight on’, he’s come out to the press and said he can’t defend our defending! That’s exactly what we wanted to hear the day before a crucial tie with Sunderland isn’t it!?

I’m not sure what was going through Bradder’s head if I’m honest. Yes, the club haven’t replaced Ashley Williams with any great success – Amat and van der Hoorn aren’t bad options at the back, they just lack a bit of solidarity and this is their first season in the Premier League – everyone takes time to adapt to a totally different league!

It was such a bad time to speak out on the defending given the visit of Sunderland this weekend and then West Brom, Boro, West Ham, Bournemouth and Palace – all games we should be winning with a positive attitude except maybe West Brom but Tony Pulis is on a hot streak; we could bring it to an end!

I can’t help but feel Bradley’s a bit out of his depth at the minute. When you look at who else was interested in the job (not you Giggsy), I’m still coming to terms with the fact we’ve got the Premier League’s first American manager – WHY!? He keeps saying the wrong things to the press and still hasn’t got a clue who his best team are.

He’s actually making the dodgy one, Jose Mourinho, look like he’s doing a good job at Man Utd. Small wonder he’s bookie’s favourite to lose his job – 6/5 for Bradley to be sacked next on SkyBet. We all know moving a manager on isn’t always the answer but unless he beats Sunderland he’ll have a worse record than Alan Curtis had when he looked after us after Monk messed it up.

There aren’t that many managers out of work but who’d turn down a crack at the Premier League? I mean Steve Clarke’s been available for ages and it bugs me that he wasn’t even given a look in for the Swans job – he doesn’t have the best record but at least he’s managed in England before and has some kind of scouting network!

Last week was embarrassing and shipping four goals against Palace was just as bad. I don’t think Bradders will see the new year in with us if I’m honest – he hasn’t got what we need right now.

Swansea v Sunderland Preview

The game against Sunderland couldn’t be much more important to the Swans right now. Victory will take us above David Moyes’ side in the table – possibly West Ham too if results go the right way. Not quite safety but it’s better than where we are ahead of kick off!

Looking up at the rest of the table isn’t quite what Bob Bradley had in mind when he came in to replace Francesco Guidolin and – in all fairness – he has only taken five points from seven league games; more than Francesco managed though which is positive.

It’s tough to say what’s going wrong right now; look at the squad and say it’s not capable of making it to mid-table. I mean between Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente alone we have two class players leading the attack but we can’t seem to balance decent attack with any kind of solid defence.

Are the team still missing Ashley Williams? Well yes and he probably shouldn’t have left frankly but we need to be pro-active and accept suitable replacement wasn’t brought in – thanks Guidolin! We’re totally exposed at the back as proven in the Spurs game last weekend and, even though we beat Palace, it was proven in the game before as it took five goals before Pardew’s side stopped responding!

Bad news ahead of the Sunderland game; Ki Sung-Yeung and Federico Fernandez are both out with broken toes. It has to be said, we’re missing Ki’s influence in the middle of the park – he’s got that brilliant skill of disappearing and always being available; we’re limited on passing options without him.

Happily; Britton, Routledge and Llorente are all available for the visit of Sunderland. A bit of experience, pace and flair will no doubt boost the lads – I just hope Llorente doesn’t get marked out of the game like he has in a few this year.

Sunderland won’t be bringing Duncan Watmore, Lee Cattermole, Jack Rodwell or Paddy McNair with them to the Liberty thanks to injury but it looks like Fabio Borini will be playing some part along with either Seb Larsson or Adnan Januzaj. Mixed news on the opponent front but the stats look good.

We’ve only lost one of the last eight Premier League games against Sunderland but Moyes has never lost a Premier League game against the Swans – he likes breaking records so now might just be the time David!

Happy to see SkyBet have put some decent odds on for once: Swans are 21/20 to win, a draw is 5/2 and Sunderland to win is 5/2. I’m really liking the look of the home odds; finally the bookies have some faith in us! It doesn’t matter that Sunderland will probably be heavily backed at those odds – let them lose their money.

I’m backing: Swans to win, BTTS, 11+ match corners and 60+ match booking points at 22/1. I can’t see it being a tame affair; let’s be honest Leon Britton has his moments and will be looking forward to letting Borini know who’s in charge – should be a good ‘un this!

Sunday 2 October 2016

All change at ForzaSwansea!

Good evening Swans fans!

I bring you news of some changes! Firstly, rest assured ForzaSwansea is staying put - it's just me that's going away.

It's been an absolute pleasure to create, edit and write for this website over the past six years (that's right, SIX years!).

I started this blog back in 2010 to chart the activity of Swansea City, just as Brendan Rodgers was settling in. Little did I know that it was to become the season the club would dramatically rise to the top flight! I followed the Swans as they took their first steps in the Premier League, their brief but exciting European tour, charted the rise and fall of both Michael Laudrup and Garry Monk, and a lot more in between.

I even won the title of Best Sports Blog in Wales at the Wales Blog Awards 2012, and wrote two books about the Swans (in 2014 and 2015). A fantastic journey that wouldn't have been possible if I was writing about a boring club.

However in the last year or two I haven't been able to dedicate the time this website deserves, thanks to other projects eating up my waking day. So I've made the decision to pass the reigns to a new group of bloggers, who have assured me that the blog will remain focused on the Swans.

The change will take place over the next few days, but make sure you keep coming back for the usual Swans news and check out the archive from the last six years.

I'm still writing about the Swans for Yahoo! Sport and am sure I have another book in me somewhere... For now, you can keep in touch with me on Twitter.

Keep visiting ForzaSwansea and keep following the Swans!

Forza Swansea!

Chris Carra
2 October, 2016

Friday 2 September 2016

Swansea Till I Die - Old Radio Show, New Home!

It's been a long time since I posted on Forza Swansea, but it's only because the majority of my Swans writing now takes place on Yahoo! Sport these days. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for updates on my newest articles.

But I also wanted to mention that the well-loved radio show Swansea Till I Die is back after a brief absence. The show is currently live on Monday evenings at 6pm on 1386AM, although is podcasted soon after and available for download.

It features myself, Matt Barroccu, Mark Beevers and Ben Charles, as well as the usual callers from across the globe. Good old fashioned Swans chat - perfect for venting frustrations on the Swans (and there certainly seem to be a few around at the moment!).

Make sure to check out the official #STiD Facebook and Twitter pages for more updates and episode news. The first episode can be found here.



Friday 12 February 2016

Swansea City vs Southampton: Preview

Right - let's make sure we win this one.

I say that because in the last two Swansea City matches, points have been thrown away due to bad defending. As I outlined in my post earlier this week, we need to ensure we defend corners properly (i.e. no sticking Leon Britton on Graziano Pelle) and score more than one goal (because one is rarely enough).

The Swans take on Southampton at the Liberty this Saturday (3pm) - looking for a little redemption after the 3-1 thrashing at St Mary's back in September.

The good news for Swansea is Ki Sung Yueng is likely to play after recovering from the concussion he suffered in the 1-1 draw against West Brom. While he's not been in the best form this season, it's always handy to have him as an option.

In fact, it's as strong a team as we've had for a while with no injury worries - Francesco Guidolin has a good selection of players to choose from in all areas. I don't think any Swans fan is worrying about Guidolin's choices regardless. He seems to be on the ball, and going for another unbeaten game (although hopefully a win this time).

Thankfully Gylfi Sigurdsson is finally back in form and will look for a third goal in three consecutive games, while new boy Alberto Paloschi will be desperate to get on the scoresheet. With Ayew also fit and available, it's unlikely we'll see much more of Bafetimbi Gomis.

Meanwhile, Southampton will probably wear their away kit which looks surprisingly similar to Swansea's this season. Let's hope it brings them as bad luck as it has done Swansea tomorrow!

Unfortunately Soton keeper Fraser Forster is in top form, and looking for a sixth consecutive clean sheet in tomorrow's game. They will miss Victor Wanyama though, who is suspended for five matches after his third red card of the season!

Despite their clean-sheet heroes, I still feel either Sigurdsson or Paloschi will find a way through. But so too may Pelle or Long... So my prediction - I feel this could well be another 1-1!

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Swansea City 1-1 [The Other Team]: Twice

Even though we have finally seen some respite from the bleak results we witnessed back in December and January - mainly thanks to the arrival of Francesco Guidolin - Swansea have managed to throw away four important points in the last two matches.

In the game against West Brom at the start of February we saw the Swans take the deserved lead through the quick feet of Gylfi Sigurdsson in the 64th minute. They then held on for 25 tough minutes until injury time when Saloman Rondon fired in from close range after a chaotic corner. 1-1.

In the end, a disappointing draw - but at least one point and some confidence to take into the next game.

This was against Crystal Palace at the Liberty the following week, when we saw Sigurdsson once again score the deserved opener in the first half, only for Scott Dann to equalise after the Swans failed to defend a corner... again. Another 1-1.

When you look at both games it's definitely a case of four points dropped.

More annoyingly for me, I had Swansea to win on my Saturday accumulator both times - the West Brom game in particular would have seen me win a couple of hundred quid! I should have cashed out when they were ahead - taken my money and run.

(I'm aware I have broken my main rule this season - never bet on Swansea).

But I guess we can't dwell too much. Both games extended the run of unbeaten matches to four, and both showed a drastically improved Swansea City.

However there are two lessons we can take from this. Firstly, the players have to work on defending set pieces. How many times this season have we seen a goalmouth scramble following a corner? Or the tallest opposition player being marked by Leon Britton? Too many. It's a fundamental flaw, and needs to be addressed.

Secondly - one goal is not enough! This should be obvious, but these days nursing a 1-0 lead is a dangerous game to play. I mean, look at Liverpool on the weekend - 2-0 to 2-2 within a few minutes. Swansea have to start scoring a couple of early goals, then holding onto them.

That's where the points will come from.