Report - Aston Villa 0-2 Swansea City
2nd January 2012
Swansea City recorded their first away of the season this afternoon at Aston Villa following a fantastic performance to win 2-0 at Villa Park.
Brendan Rodgers and his side proved they actually do have strength in depth as the Swansea boss made 7 changes to the first team, having made 6 on New Year`s Eve when they held Tottenham Hotspur to a 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium.
Nathan Dyer got us all wondering why on earth he`s been dropped for a few games recently, as he scored a superb early opener whilst giving Warnock the run-around in a forgetful 90 minutes for the defender. His poor attempted back pass gave Dyer the chance to open the scoring within 5 minutes, and he struggled to cope with the winger`s pace and trickery throughout.
Steven Caulker was back after missing the game against his club Spurs as skipper Garry Monk was back on the bench. Angel Rangel replaced Jazz Richards at right back and there were further changes in midfield and attack.
There was a surprise place in the starting eleven for Andrea Orlandi, who rarely features amongst the substitutes, while the likes of Leon Britton, Wayne Routledge and Kemy Agustien all returned after being rested on New Year`s Eve. Danny Graham was also back to replace Luke Moore up front.
Some fans doubted Rodgers` selection decisions before kick off today, and it was the same against Spurs, and while some supporters wondered why Orlandi was given a rare start, he was proved right as the Spaniard looked comfortable in possession and almost fired in a cracking goal from 25 yards but it flew just inches past the post.
Aston Villa were expected to be high in confidence following an impressive 3-1 win at Chelsea but it was quite the opposite for McLeish`s men. Whether they were still showing the effects of playing just two days earlier after just 1 change was made to the line-up, or simply showing a lack of quality at home but they were made to look poor but a fresh Swansea City side that were showing off some of their best passing game. The Swans have struggled away from home to say the very least. Previously they were the only side to have yet to win on their travels, fans have lacked confidence in them ending that poor run but they were comfortable and worthy winners today.
Dyer`s goal after just 5 minutes gave the Swans a boost in confidence and they looked to double their lead shortly afterwards. Orlandi saw a long-range shot go just wide before Dyer was causing more problems and creating further openings for the visitors.
Orlandi went close to scoring and then close to assisting, as he pulled a pass back to Graham from the by-line, but his side-footed shot went just wide. Dyer also created another chance for the former Watford striker but this time his close range effort fell straight to the goalkeeper to make a save.
Swansea were creating their fair share of chances while Aston Villa failed to take advantage of their numerous amount of corners and free-kicks they were winning.
With half time approaching, the travelling away fans were hoping their side could double their lead as they didn`t want to see them punished for a lack of accuracy in front of goal. Nor did they want to see an improved Villa side come out in the second half and get back into the game. Fortunately, Villa were still as poor following the restart, and the Swans got their all-important second goal within two minutes of kick off.
Wayne Routledge finally scored his first Premier League goal in 116 appearances. It was another error from the hosts as Graham did well to pressure their goalkeeper into a poor clearance., giving Routledge the chance to break down the left flank. The winger picked out Graham but his shot came back off the woodwork and into the path of Routledge, who finished brilliantly with a low-drive into the corner.
The Swans were flying now and their 2-goal advantage was looking pretty comfortable, but they wanted to avoid a repeat of the Wolves game, when they threw away a 2-0 lead to only pick up a point.
The visiting defence remained organised and solid to limit Villa to just a few half-chances as Michel Vorm had few saves to make for the remainder of the game. Ireland had a shot deflected out for yet another corner before Dunne saw a header go over the bar.
Graham should finally have rounded off a hard-working performance with a goal but he just didn`t have his finishing boots on. On another day he would have got a brace. Routledge put the forward through on a goal with an excellent long through ball, but Dunne did well to get back and force him into only a soft shot straight at the goalkeeper.
N`Zogbia went closest for Villa right at the end when a powerful shot came back off the woodwork, but a 2-0 scoreline was definitely the fair result to demonstrate an excellent professional performance from the Swans against a poor Villa side lacking defensive organisation and attacking creativity.
Villa: Guzan; Cuellar (Hutton, 55), Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Agbonlahor, Petrov, Clark (Bannan, 84), N'Zogbia; Ireland (Albrighton, 67); Bent. Unused subs: Marshall, Heskey, Weimann, Gardner.
Swansea: Vorm; Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor; Dyer (Sinclair, 78), Agustien, Orlandi (Allen, 58), Britton, Routledge; Graham. Unused subs: Tremmel, Monk, Lita, Moore, Richards.