Hardly Vintage Stuff But 3 Points is 3 Points
9th December 2017
Swansea City relieved the growing pressure that they've put upon themselves this afternoon with a crucial 1-0 victory against West Brom at the Liberty Stadium.
Wilfried Bony scored his second goal in as many Premier League games as he pounced on a loose ball inside the box as Pardew's side failed to clear away a corner.
After West Ham's earlier win against Chelsea - putting the Swans 4 points adrift of safety, equalling that was vital ahead of some tougher fixtures coming up.
Paul Clement surprised us all with his starting eleven choices, making another four changes as he opted to go with a 4-3-3 system, playing Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer either side of Wilfried Bony, as Tammy Abraham settled for a place on the bench. There was no place for loanee Renato Sanches, while Mesa was back in after his absence for unknown reasons at Stoke City last weekend.
Before today, the Swans hadn't scored a Premier League goal in the last 30 minutes of a game, a rather shocking but not surprising stat, that we ended today. It was no coincidence either that we scored our first late goal of the season when Clement left more firepower on the bench. Abraham had to settle for a bench place again, while Ayew was also dropped. The head coach also brought on Narsingh who added extra pace down the right as Dyer struggled to impress for the most part. It was the same for Routledge who was far worse as almost everything he tried failed to come off. Losing possession far too often meant that he had to be first player to be subbed early in the second half.
The first half was a rather poor and drab affair between two sides who looked like they'll be competing where they are in the table for the remainder of the season. There was a complete lack of quality in each corresponding final third. Swansea showed a little more in that we hit the post (off a West Brom head following Carroll's indirect free-kick), while the Baggies simply tried to make use of their height inside the box, but van der Hoorn and Mawson continued to impress as a defensive unit.
And it was Mawson who should have done better when Routledge did have a good moment down the right as he sent in a cross, but the defender couldn't get over the ball enough to direct it on target as his effort flew harmlessly over the crossbar.
The Swans showed a bit more purpose in the second half, but they were fortunate at times that West Brom wasted chances on the counter attack. Wilfried Bony did well to turn away from a West Brom player before moving forward and cutting inside on his right he let fly, but his low shot from long range went just the wrong side of the post.
Jordan Ayew then stung the hands of the goalkeeper after coming on, he cut inside before firing hard and low towards the near post.
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The goal then came in the 82nd minute. Ki Sung Yueng sent in an in-swinging corner from the left that West Brom failed to deal with properly, and the fall fell inside the 6-yard area. Wilfried Bony was quickest to pounce and fired the ball into the net before rushing over to celebrate in front of the South West corner of the ground.
Tammy Abraham should have guaranteed the win late on when he nodded the ball on to run clean through on goal. His run started off just inside his own half, and with Narsingh running along side him, he could simply have passed it for him to score into an empty net, but the Chelsea striker tried to dink the ball over the keeper but he failed to find the target.
Thankfully, West Brom couldn't find a way back in and we took three well-deserved points. It was hardly vintage stuff from the Swans and worth getting overly excited about, and it wasn't a performance that was much different from what we've seen before, but we kept a clean sheet, got the win, and we saw other positives in that Bony is on a good goalscoring run, and Mesa was back in the team and played well.