Swansea put in a refreshing performance at the stadium of Light, but ultimately capitulated after two excellent goals from the home team.
Sunderland welcomed back Wes Brown in the following line-up: 22 Mignolet, 02 Bardsley, 05 Brown, 11 Richardson, 16 O'Shea, 06 Cattermole, 07 Larsson (Elmohamady 89), 15 Vaughan (Gardner 78), 23 McClean, 28 Sessegnon, 52 Bendtner (Wickham 12). The visitors fielded 01 Vorm, 02 Williams, 03 Taylor, 04 Caulker, 22 Rangel, 07 Britton (Routledge 78), 11 Sinclair, 12 Dyer, 24 Allen, 42 Sigurdsson (McEachran 66), 10 Graham.
Swansea, along with Norwich, have been a breath of fresh air in this top league. They have passed the ball well, kept it on the ground, and shown exceptional enterprise, especially at home, in the exceptional Liberty Stadium. I must confess to having a soft spot for them, as Swansea is my father’s home town, and I went to a few games at the old Vetch Field. I once went to see them when very young and was not really sure which was the home team! This was in the old 4th division, Swansea City 0 Chester City 5, 26.12.1968 – I soon found out that Swansea played in white!
Things have changed a lot since then and the Swans and they had 64% of the posession in this game, and 4shots on target. They dominated possession for long periods without really seriously threatening to catch out the home keeper Mignolet.
There were a few pieces of action upfront, including Larsson scraping the post early on after a cross from the left. But Sess proved to be the match winner again by scoring am amazing goal after an exchange of passes with James McClean down the left of the box. He found the top corner with an unstoppable lob come shot into the far top corner
The pattern was the same, with the Swans looking enterprising but losing their way at the edge of the home box. It was a bit like Sunderland in our last game at Chelsea, we were just destined not to score, but at least we got closer to the goal. Martin O’Neill suggested that the team were tired, but there was nothing tired about Connor Wickham’s performance after coming on for Bendtner, who may now have a long layoff after serious facial injuries.
The same went for late substitute Gardner who was found in space by a crossfield pass from Sessegnon; he took the ball on his chest and cracked in a piledriver from 25+ yards, something which is fast becoming a bit of a habit for the lad. This shot had a vicious dip on it which ensured it was nestling in the left hand corner of the goal. 2-0 and that was it, another clean sheet and a fine home win against a decent footballing side.
So it is back into 10th spot in the Premiership ahead of Sunday’s fascinating clash with Boro’ in the FA Cup.
©Lars J.S. Knutsen
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