Report - Bony Sent Off As Southampton Win 1-0
20th September 2014
Wilfried Bony's first half sending off cost Swansea City the chance of maintaining their 100% winning record this afternoon as Southampton finally broke through a stubborn home defence to win 1-0 at a lively Liberty Stadium.
Swansea City took around 10-15 minutes to get into their passing rhythm as they started to control the game against a well-balanced and hard working Southampton side.
Unlike the previous two home games against Burnley and West Brom respectively, the Swans were given very little space to work with but Monk's side were playing some neat, quick inter-changing play and as the half went on, the home side looked more likely to break the deadlock.
Wayne Routledge really should have when the ball was worked through to Routledge as he ran clear into the box, but he volleyed a bouncing ball past the keeper but it struck the corner of the crossbar and out of play.
Both sides forced the goalkeepers into saves from headers but they were both tame efforts but the changing point came just 6 minutes before the break.
Bony had already picked up a booking for a very strong shoulder barge up in the air so you'd think he'd be careful for the rest of the game and not take any risks. But you have to wonder what on earth was going through his mind when, after losing hold of the ball, he's tried to win it back by what can only be described as a scissors tackle from behind. He made contact with the ball as he kicked it away, but there can be no excuses for attempting such a challenge from behind.
From looking like a goal was coming to going a man down, the game was flipped on it's head, as the Saints were given a massive life-line as the Swansea defence were looking very safe yet again on their own soil.
Federico Fernandez made his League home debut as Jordi Amat is out for 6 weeks with knee ligament damage. He needed a bit of time to settle into the game early on but he soon did and looked solid and reliable. Questions were asked about the Argentinian international after coming at Chelsea last week but his confidence grew as the game went on.
There was plenty of opportunity to see how Fernandez would perform in the second half as the Swans pretty much defended for the entire half up until the 80th minute winning goal.
Sigurdsson was out of his depth leading the line in Bony's absence. He struggled to win the long balls from Fabianski and you did wonder whether Gomis would soon come to give us a long-ball option.
Southampton continued to work hard off the ball and it made it such a hard task in trying to create any decent chances on goal.
Montero replaced Dyer on the hour-mark as Monk looked to try and help our cause in getting the ball into the final third. Montero has the ability to go on 20 or 30-plus yard runs down the flank, but again, the Saints were able to double up in these areas.
Instead of Gomis, Emnes was given the nod to come on, but not until the 85th minute. Southampton didn't really look close to scoring as the home defence had excellent shape and maintained it admirably.
Southampton often had extra players in their wide left flank but they rarely used it effectively. Rangel read the game very well, as he has done all season so far and him Dyer, and then Routledge had a good working partnership in dealing with that threat.
Pelle was a big presence up top for Southampton but he very rarely looked like going close to scoring. He was often frustrated that he wasn't getting the service from his team-mates, crosses into the box were easy for the hosts to clear and narrow play in and around the box didn't work either.
That was up until the 80th minute when Wanyama produced that one moment of quality to find the back of the net. The ball was played into him on the edge of the box and he wasn't tracked well enough by Ki, as he allowed him to run through and fire past Fabianski and into the net.
Swansea City had to pick up the pace and push forward, which they did but nothing came from a couple of corners and a free-kick, Shelvey was trying audacious passes now and then that weren't helping and the visitor's points looked to be safe.
The performance was again impressive, both offensively and defensively and it was disappointing to concede the goal after being solid and limiting Southampton to only a few half chances here and there. The Swans also played well against a competitive and well organised Saints side but Bony's decisions in the first half ruined the game. It was a great one to watch up until his stupid decision on 39 minutes to try and win the ball with both feet from behind.
Again, plenty of positives to take into the next game but Bony learned a big lesson - but one he should already know of course, don't go sliding into hard tackles after already picking up a booking.