40 Points, Up to 8th In The League!
28th February 2015
Swansea City have reached their 40-point season target with 11 points to spare thanks to a 1-0 win at Burnley this afternoon.
After West Ham lost at home against Crystal Palace, the Swans moved up to 8th position as Burnley failed to deal with a corner kick, as an unmarked Jack Cork help the ball into the net as the ball took a final touch off Trippier on the line.
Garry Monk kept his diamond formation from last Saturday's win against Manchester United but was forced into making one change, as Gylfi Sigurdsson was missing with a hamstring problem. Tom Carroll came in as his replacement and played in a more advanced role than what he's been used to since his loan switch from Spurs.
The new formation allows the side to push extra players forward to apply pressure as both teams competed well in the early exchanges.
Loose passes and poor first touches from the visitors allowed Burnley a couple of half chances early on, but they were unable to take advantage.
It was another display that wasn't pleasing on the eye, and while the team and more-so Monk will continue to receive criticism for slowly losing the free-flowing passing we've all been used to in recent years - he's getting results, we're starting to win in the vital column in the match stats - goals scored - rather than possession and pass success rate.
The Swans actually edged possession in the game, with 55%, but did little with the ball as the hosts were working hard and making it difficult for them to string any decent amount of passes together.
Jonjo Shelvey was attempting his long, direct through balls and they found their targets throughout the game on a few occasions, but neither Wayne Routledge or Bafetimbi Gomis could put them to good use.
Lucasz Fabianski again deserves a lot of credit for another solid performance, as Burnley forced him into making a few great saves - more so than Manchester United managed last weekend.
There were a few scares early on. Ings showed some excellent skill to help the ball around a defender before Cork helped the ball on but a shot from Ashley Barnes was well stopped by the Polish stopper.
The striker could find himself very lucky not to have been sitting in the stands for the game, having not been punished for his dangerous tackle on Matic in the 1-1 draw at Chelsea last Saurday.
The home fans showed their frustrations towards the referee during the game for Ashley Williams' high arm on Danny Ings, and also towards Fernandez for going down easily, but it's not as if their team is free of players playing dangerously! The referee also ignored shouts for a penalty when the ball accidentally touched Fernandez's arm while there was ironic cheers when their side was awarded free kicks.
The penalty would have been extremely harsh, Williams was lucky not to get booked for a high arm but they were never dangerous enough to warrant a red.
Just as Burnley started to get on top in the first 10-15 minutes of the second half, they gave Swansea a big life-line shortly after the hour mark.
Jefferson Montero had recently replaced the ineffective Tom Carroll to give Swansea a bit more pace and width going forward, as the full backs rarely got forward in support.
Gomis, who was barely involved in Swansea's moves into the final third, was most effective at set pieces, whether it was attacking or defending them.
He flicked on a corner from the right at the front post, nodding the ball on towards Jack Cork - who was unmarked at the back stick. His volley somehow came back off the woodwork, saved by the goalkeeper but fell over the line off Trippier.
It was unlucky for the home side, but Sean Dyche will know that his side needed to defend the corner far better.
You knew it was going to be a defensive job for the Swans for the final 26 minutes.
Fabianski made another two impressive saves to keep a clean sheet as Burnley continued to push the Swans on the back foot in search of an equaliser.
The goalkeeper made a save from a long range effort, but pulling off arguably his best of the game when diving to his left to keep out another effort.
Swansea City almost guaranteed the three points late on as Nelson Oliveira came on and almost scored within a minute of replacing Gomis, but his shot - from what appeared to be an impossible angle on the goal-line, rolled ever so slightly past the post.
You could argue that Burnley didn't deserve to lose and Swansea didn't do enough to win, but back to back victories sees them go up to 8th on 40 points after just 27 games, a massive achievement for Garry Monk and his side!