Swansea laid to rest their goal drought demons with a comprehensive three goal victory over West Bromwich Albion, and it couldn't have come at at better time. With four games already ticked off the fixture list, the Swans couldn't afford to go a fifth with no goals without seriously damaging their confidence. Not only that, but wins for Norwich, QPR and Blackburn meant Swansea needed some points to keep up with the pack.
As it happened, West Brom's Paul Scharner was kind enough to spot the Swans a penalty kick to get things started. Ben Foster in the Baggies goal had obviously done his homework, correctly recognising that Scott Sinclair favours the left side from the spot. Fortunately, Sinclair guessed Foster might be a good student and duly deposited the ball into the right instead. Leroy Lita put in a fabulous first full appearance by scoring the Swans second goal and setting up Nathan Dyer for Swansea's third. True to his nature, he also picked up a yellow for over-celebrating. As a beacon of enthusiasm and positive intention, the image of a fully charged Leroy Lita belting down the touchlines waving his shirt aloft was more than worth the booking.
Of the other players making their first starts, Mark Gower put in a solid performance and it was business as usual for Garry Monk. Fede Bessone also made his second debut for the Swans, coming on as a late sub for Neil Taylor, who had been injured after West Brom's Peter Odemwingie decided a flying headbutt was an appropriate way to challenge for the ball. I know I described Odemwingie as "dangerous" in a reply to a comment on my last post, but that wasn't quite what I had in mind. The good news for Swansea is that Taylor won't be out for long, needing just a few stitches for a gash on his head and about forty thousand paracetamol.
Up front, Leroy Lita more than took his chance as a starter with a goal and an assist, as mentioned above. He also piled up eight tackles (winning five) and has no doubt given Brendan Rodgers a striker selection dilemma for the next few games. It was hard not to feel sorry for Danny Graham who could only watch from the stands as his main competition for a starting sport did what he hasn't been able to. I feel that had Graham started, this would have been his game for a goal anyway, and the difference of style between the players gives Rodgers some flexibility. I can imagine Lita starting against Chelsea next week, where his pace will facilitate Swansea counter attacks against a big six side. Against Stoke, the Swans next home fixture, I imagine Graham might give Shawcross a more even match for muscle, although it looks like Lita could be a nuisance for anyone.
Elsewhere, Ash Williams played well and had something to prove against the team that let him go as a youth player. Joe Allen looked lively and tackled well and the Leon Britton school of passing excellence was in full effect (96.67% completion rate!). Michel Vorm was also awesome, as ever, making two very good saves to help Swansea to their third clean sheet. The Swans might have taken their time getting their first goals, but they have yet to concede at home; a particularly impressive achievement for a newly promoted team.
Talking of impressive achievements, here's an interesting fact; only two other teams in Premier League history have started their season by not scoring in their first four games. Both teams (Newcastle in 2005-06 and Sheffield Wednesday in 1993-94) went on to finish seventh, so perhaps Swansea aren't in bad company. On the evidence of Saturday's display, perhaps such aspirations are not entirely unrealistic; ok, seventh is a stretch, but avoiding relegation seems a more than achievable aim. The fact Swansea managed to record a convincing victory with so many injuries to important players shows the depth at the club is more than adequate to achieve this task.
Positives : Scoring a goal. Scoring another goal. Scoring a third goal. Keeping another clean sheet. Strong performance from depth players. Leroy Lita's celebration. Dizzy's finish.
Negatives : Classless section of Albion fans disrespecting the minute's silence - not even Cardiff fans would be so callous. Neil Taylor's inevitable headache.
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