Total Pageviews

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Swansea Preview

A two game unbeaten run now with no goals conceded and four points in the bag and Parky was clearly pleased with the result at Oakwell.
Blustery conditions perhaps making it a scrappy game but be careful Parky that the games don't run out on you. I did say last week that defeat against Barnsley was unthinkable and perhaps Parky took me to heart with some stout defending and a late surge that failed to get the goal that the baised reports say we deserved.
The fact of the matter is that we've now visited seven of the nine teams that have the worst home records in the fizzies - Blackpool, Forest, Plymouth, Barnsley, Doncaster, Norwich, Sheffield United (we're the eighth and Southampton are still the worst of all) with only a single win to show for our efforts and a total of six points from the 21 available. The words relegation form come to mind.
And before you get all excited about our back to back clean sheets, it must be pointed out that there's nobody better to play when wanting to defend than the duo of Barnsley and Plymouth who have the highest number of no-score games in the fizzies - Barnsley with 15 and Argyle with 14.
By contrast Swansea have only no-scored on nine occasions this season with the Addicks, surprisingly only one worse on 10. But obviously your next question would be - so how are Swansea at home? Labelled the fifth best in the fizzies on points won at home from 8 wins and 8 draws they also have the worrying statistic of least number of home defeats - only a single reverse all season and that to Birmingham 2-3 back in November after being in 2-1 in front at half-time.
But that large number of home draws does tell a story. It speaks of points lost when a win was at hand. In fact the Swans are the fizzies draw specialists with 15 - three more than anybody else - and have dropped more points than most from a winning position. Of course, we've well aware of exactly which team is currently the worst at giving away games, us of course. Seven times we've lost after going in front - against Preston, Wolves, Sheff.Wed, Brum, Sheff.U, Burnley and Bristol - , but take heart 'cause Swansea have similar problems and there must be something in the water in Wales because both Swansea and Cardiff have drawn the most games after leading, the Swans on 7 and the Bluebirds on 8.
Current Form A team with only one defeat in their last 15 fizzy games - a 0-2 defeat at Vicarage Rd on 17th February, although it should be pointed out that a massive nine of them were draws, including 8 draws in a row that would have bored even Curbs.
Who They Got? Overlapping fullbacks, high scoring midfielders and a hotshot striker. There's plenty here for Parky to get worked up about with the classy midfield of number 7 Leon Britton, number 14 Jordi Gomez and 24 Joe Allen probably the most important. It's these three that made the team tick and provide the chances for the strikers. And, although we don't usually get a look in, the fizzy team-of-the-week last week included the on-form loanee from Espanol Gomez ( as well as two Southampton players...).
They have a couple of injury doubts, however, with "influential" skipper Monk, who missed the 3-1 Championship win over Doncaster last weekend with a back problem and failed to recover in time to play aganst Fulham. Midfielder Joe Allen also missed the Cup game after he picked up a thigh strain against Doncaster.
DangerMan While we've been wasting our time for most of the season on 2 million man Varney, Roberto Martinez has been doing what appears to be excellent business in obtaining, at next to nothing prices, a couple of real hotshots for us to worry about. West Indian international Jason Scotland from Trindad and Tobago was somehow prised away from St. Johnston in the summer of 2007 for a reported 25k after a record of a goal every two games and is currently on 19 for the season and heading towards a repeat of his massive 29 for the Swans last year and behind him there's youngster Jordi Gomez, on loan from Espanol, on 15 in all games clearly enjoying his stay in Wales. And if you thought that maybe players hailing from warmer climes, wouldn't be enjoying a Welsh winter very much then think again, Scotland is on 14 goals in his last 15 games while Gomez has scored 5 in the last 5 games which is not at all bad for a midfielder. .
What's Their Secret Well, Parky, although they are billed as the third highest scorers in the fizzies with 49 goals you've come to the right place if you want to scrape another of them draws. Nobody can better their number of goalless draws, five in all and their favorite score is 1-1, and there's been six of them. So you won't be surprised to learn that there's only a couple of teams, Blackpool and QPR, with more stalemates than Swansea at half-time - seventeen now in all. The Addicks by comparison have been leading 12 times and drawing only 8 at the break.
So while they may be content to reach 45 minutes playing pretty football it has to be said that if you want to win this one Parky, you have to hit 'em before the break. Watch out for the first 5 minutes - they've scored 4 times in the first 3 minutes - and then impress on everyone the importance of getting a goal. And the reason for the rush? Because they've only been losing 6 times at half-time but have failed to win only of them.
History Another place where we've only won 4 times (with 12 defeats) and our last win there was 1965, 44 years ago...
Having said that, we don't play each other very often and since that 3-1 win there's only been seven games, of which we've only won a couple including this last encounter 2-0, back at the Valley in August.
Overall, we're in charge, the score being a close 16-15.
What're They Saying Martinez after last weekends home win over Doncaster "We saw plenty of character and without a doubt that was our best performance of the season." Opps..
As for Parky his comments after Barnsley draw were, "There are a lot of positives for us, the attitude of the players was excellent and we looked a strong side. There were no weak links and we looked a strong and resilient side and we had a couple of chances to go and win it but it just didn't quite fall for us."
Team News
Sorry Toddy, but Leon Burton returns from his one game suspension and will take your place on the bench. As for the starting eleven, with no substitutes used last Saturday because "the balance was right", its odds-on for another unchanged side this weekend.
Maybe they'll be a place on the bench for ZiZi although this weeks been pretty quiet on that front so with two vital home games coming up it could be that Parky's keeping him in reserve .
Elliot; Murty, Ward, Hudson, Youga; Soares, Racon, Spring, Bailey; Kandol, Dickson
Subs: Randolph, Holland, Ambrose, Shelvey, Burton
Summary A bit of a toughie then against a stylist passing team that have only suffered one home defeat, against Birmingham, all season. They've had a disappointing week being knocked out of the Cup on Tuesday by Fulham, and maybe that'll have tired them out physically and mentally, because that defeat was only their second in 19 games but the second in 10 days and another bonus may be the slight physiological advantage in having beaten them already this season.
But after the luxury of playing the relative blunt attack of Plymouth and Barnsley, it'll need 90 minutes of outstanding defending to keep this lot from scoring when you consider that only Coventry have stopped them in their last 11 home games in which they've managed to score no less than 25 times....

No comments: