Report - Swansea City 2-1 Wigan Athletic
20th October 2012
Michael Laudrup was a relieved man after watching his side hold on to a much-needed 2-1 win at home against Wigan Athletic.
Swansea City looked certain to win their first game in six after Spanish duo Pablo Hernandez and Miguel Michu both netted within a few minutes in the second half, but when the visitors got a quick goal back, they were in for a nervy final 20 minutes as Wigan piled on the pressure for an equaliser they felt they deserved.
Laudrup said yesterday that he was looking for ways that he can improve his side's performances, and while we thought Luke Moore could replace Danny Graham up front, instead, Michu moved into a further attacking role, with Graham joining two other strikers on the subs bench.
Michu's move left a place in midfield which was filled up by De Guzman, who returned to the starting line-up after being dropped recently. Hernandez also returned in place of Nathan Dyer.
The Swans were looking to keep their first clean sheet, but that didn't mean they'd put too much emphasis on achieving that, as like they did against Reading a fortnight ago, Laudrup's side created another 20 or so chances in front of goal.
The hosts made a promising start to meeting their targets for the game - a win and a clean sheet. Chico Flores looked particularly solid in defence, while Routledge was causing all sorts of problems for the visiting right back.
And it was the winger that created our first and best chance of the first half. After stealing the ball and moving forward , he did brilliantly to cross it square to Michu in the middle of the box with the outside of his foot. Michu had space and time to take a touch, but he volleyed it first time and was unable to keep it down as the ball flew harmlessly over the bar.
It was proving to be a good, open game of football and it was also encouraging to see two sides looking to play the game on the floor, and making few needless fouls as the game flowed well.
de Guzman curled a 20-yard strike just wide of the target but they were still struggling to force the goalkeeper into a decent save.
For all their efforts and possession, the hosts almost suffered similar circumstances to that of the Sunderland and Reading home games - in that they had all the possession and chances but then conceded a goal against the run of play. Fortunately they didn't today, as Vorm made a good save and saw another shot go just over the bar following a good break down the left flank.
The Swans needed to keep up their momentum after the break as they looked most likely to break the deadlock, but they needed to be more accurate in front of goal if they wanted to end their 5-match winless run.
After pushing forward for an opening goal, their efforts were rewarded 20 minutes after the restart. Routledge, a good contender for man of the match, showed a delightful bit of skill to beat his man before de Guzmsn picked out Hernandez on the edge of the box. The Spaniard had his back to goal and did well to turn before finding the bottom corner with a low shot that the goalkeeper was never likely going to stop.
After Swansea City opened the scoring, they then had a boost in confidence and they were soon 2 goals in front when Michu headed in straight from a corner.
When they looked to be reasonably comfortable with a 2-goal lead, the Swans shot themselves in the foot, and made it a very nervous final 20 minutes as the momentum soon shifted to the Latics, who dominated and pegged Laudrup's side back into their own half after Boyce got a quick goal back to make it 2-1.
The hosts sat deep, almost inviting Wigan to attack - giving far too much time and space to create some chances.
Vorm, celebrating his 29th birthday, was on top form to deny Wigan an equaliser, but they thought they'd got one when they had a headed goal disallowed for offside. Luck was on our side today as we don't often see such close offside decisions go our way.
After Dyer forced a decent save following an excellent counter-attacking move that started with Rangel in his own half, fellow sub Danny Graham had a much better chance to absolutely guarantee the three points. The striker probably summed just why he was dropped, as he couldn't find the net in a one-on-one situation, as he fired a shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Wigan's final chance was from a late corner in which their shot stopper went up to boost their numbers. He met the corner at the far post with a header but it was a simply save for Vorm.
Not their best performance of the season by far, but they did enough to get the three points, but after going 2-0 up, they should never have given the visitors the hope that they could have rescued a late point.