Writer: Matthew Thomas
Date:Tuesday January 29 2013
Stadium of Light
29th Janaury 2013
Swansea stretched their Premier League unbeaten run to seven games after enduring a frustrating goalless draw at the Stadium of Light. The South Wales side had not beaten the Black Cats since 1982 and dominated the first half. Dyer, Michu and Chico had chances early on with the centre-back Flores seeing his effort saved well by Mignolet.
Sunderland struggled to impose themselves against the Capital One Cup finalists and could only register two attempts on goal. A transfer target for Sunderland, Danny Graham, could have won it in injury time but Titus Bramble somehow managed to block the striker`s point blank effort.
Michael Laudrup`s side came into this game on the back of securing their place in the Capital One Cup semi-final.
There were three changes from the team that dumped Chelsea out of the League Cup, Dwight Tiendalli slotted into right-back for Angel Rangel, Nathan Dyer returned to the starting XI replacing Wayne Routledge and Itay Shechter was preferred as the main striking option dropping Ki Sung-Yeung to the bench. Having not scored in the league since the 1-1 draw with Manchester United, Michu moved back into the attacking midfield role. Sunderland transfer target Danny Graham took his place on the bench.
Swansea looked comfortable during the opening exchanges and had early shouts for a penalty when Shechter went down under a challenge from John O`Shea going for a Pablo Hernandez ball but the referee saw no foul.
Nathan Dyer had the game`s first chance on 10 minutes as he cut in from the left handside but his right footed strike went harmlessly wide.
Two minutes later a lightening counter attack from Swansea released Dyer down the right and Shechter controlled his cross to find Hernandez who played in Michu whose shot was well blocked by a Sunderland defender.
The chances just kept coming for Swansea as Chico`s neat footwork found Shechter whose blocked effort broke well for the Spanish centre-back who forced a Mignolet to palm the ball out for a corner.
Dwight Tiendalli was the next to find himself forward but his tame shot was easily held by the Sunderland goalkeeper after a lay off by Nathan Dyer.
Sunderland`s first chance came on the twenty minute mark when Tiendalli fouled Adam Johnson. Sebastian Larsson took the free-kick that Tremmel had to save at the near post.
The Swans continued to frustrate the home side with Steven Fletcher looking increasingly isolated as Laudrup`s side bossed possession.
A lovely flowing passing move led to Ben Davies getting into the mix, hoping to add to his first Swansea goal against Stoke, but was unfortunate the ball struck his hand in the box.
Sunderland were feeding off scraps and struggling to break down a resolute Swansea defence.
Michu was the latest to have a chance as Hernandez pulled the ball back to Swansea`s top scorer but his shot deflected behind for a corner off O`Shea.
Despite a dominant half from the Swans they couldn`t find the breakthrough and the game went into half time still goalless.
It was a quick start to the second period from Sunderland as Chico just about took Gardner`s cross off Sessegnon`s foot. Steven Fletcher also very nearly got in behind the Swansea defence but Williams was back to intervene, shortly afterwards Leon Britton was booked for a foul on Sessegnon.
Jonathan de Guzman fired a free-kick just over and Michael Laudrup made his first change as Ki Sung-Yeung replaced Itay Shechter meaning Michu moved forward into the striker`s role.
Sunderland had started closing Swansea down quicker and the visitors were struggling to play out from the back and were not seeing as much of the ball as during the first half.
With twenty-five minutes left Pablo Hernandez was replaced by Roland Lamah to make his second Premier League appearance for Swansea. And the Belgian nearly broke through as he nicked the ball off the Sunderland defence but Mignolet was quickly off his line to smother.
Ki saw a thirty yard drive easily held by the Belgian keeper as the Swans started to reassert themselves back on the game.
With fifteen minutes to go Michael Laudrup made another attacking change as Danny Graham came on for Leon Britton to a chorus of boos from the Sunderland fans even though the striker is linked with the Northern club.
Then the game`s best chance fell to Swansea as Dyer robbed David Vaughan and fed Michu down the right, the Spaniard pulled the ball back to the winger eight yards out and missed the target.
Tiendalli could have sealed the points when he found himself right handside of the penalty area but his shot was way off target right on the stroke of ninety minutes.
In stoppage time Danny Graham looked to have made himself a hero again as Michu knocked the ball down to the striker inside the box and Titus Bramble somehow got himself in front of the shot to stop what would have been a deserved victory.
Swansea`s dominance was reflected on the number of attempts for both sides with Swansea registering 15 shots on goal to Sunderland`s two.
The frustrating goalless draw means Swansea move up to eighth at least until the remaining games are played tomorrow.
Thanks to Matthew Thomas for his match report. You can access his blog at http://matththomas66.wordpress.com/ and follow him on Twitter @mcthomas2905
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Date:Tuesday January 29 2013
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