Preview: Swansea City vs FC Twente
Swansea City vs FC Twente
Saturday 18th July 2009
3pm Kick Off
Tickets: £10 Adults, £5 Concessions.
There's not really a great need for a traditional Match Preview for this meaningless pre-season friendly, but we still thought we'd preview the game to see what we can expect from the Swans and the opposition this weekend.
This will be the first opportunitity for Swansea City fans to watch the team ahead of the new season and to see what sort of changes we might see under new manager Paulo Sousa.
The philosophy is still very much the same under the Portuguese boss, playing football in the right way and to entertain fans by playing a neat, passing game.
So far, Swansea supporters will only get to see one new signing on show, striker Stephen Dobbie who signed on a free from Queen of the South. With Jason Scotland joining Wigan Athletic, the likes of Dobbie, Bauza and Pintado will be looking to impress to earn a regular starting berth next year.
The Swans will be up against some tough opposition, as Sccchhhhhteve McLaren brings his FC Twente side to the Liberty Stadium. The Dutch side finished second in Holland's top league last year, above Ajax, that achievement means they qualify for next season's Champions League.
Twente Manager Sccchhhhhteve McLaren took over the club in 2008 and he quickly picked up a Dutch accent, his early interviews were hilarious as usually the Dutch interviewer had better English than he did! You can watch an early interview at the bottom of the article.
McClaren said playing Swansea is the perfect preparation for his squad:
'We had many offers to come over to the UK but we agreed early on that Swansea was perfect preparation for us, as in less than 10 days' time we play our first Champions League tie,'
'We needed opposition that would test us defensively. And I can assure all home fans that I will bring my strongest possible squad and we will come to win.
'I know that we are playing a team which built up a reputation as being possibly the best footballing side in the Championship last season.
'When you add this to the fact that they have a very cultured, new manager and a stadium and surface second to none in the division, it's the perfect place for us to come to.'
FC Twente kick off their season in the Eredivisie a week earlier than us on August 1st as they travel to Sparta before a tough game against PSV 8 days later. They'll be in better conditions than the Swans, having trained for longer and they recently beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 in a training match. Swansea City also played in a training game in Portugal, beating Trofense 1-0 with Gorka Pintado grabbing the winning goal.
On the injury front, a few players are likely to miss out, most certainly Ferrie Bodde who still recovers from a knee ligament injury while Marcos Painter and Angel Rangel are gaining fitness after injuries but probably won't feature. Painter had a long-term injury while Rangel picked a problem recently in training. The Swans have also suffered a blow with the news that Darren Pratley has suffered a recurrence of the shoulder injury he picked up in January, he's set for 2 months on the sidelines. Fede Bessone is also set to miss the friendly match.
The Swansea City defence will be tested on Saturday with the likes of Blaise Kufo heading the FC Twente line-up. The Swiss forward has been the club's top scorer every season since joining them in 2003. He has also scored in all 6 matches for Switzerland since the beginning of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
FC Twente have also strengthened their side recently with the signings of strikers Bernard Parker and Ransford Ose and Costa Rica international Bryan Ruiz. Defender Nicky Kuiper also joined Twente in June as well as Chelsea teenager Miroslav Stoch - the striker joins the Dutch club on a season-long loan.
Manager Paulo Sousa is looking forward to the game and he told Swans World:
'The lads have enjoyed the intensity of our training,'
'After three weeks of training I believe that the players will take that level of intensity into a match situation.
'It will be a good test and the players are near the level that I want.
'We had a useful three-half training game in Portugal but the intensity against FC Twente will be higher.'