Swansea City's First FA Cup Quarter Final in 54 Years
27th February 2018
Swansea City made history on Tuesday night, as they beat Sheffield Wednesday to reach the FA Cup Quarter-Finals for the first time in 54 years.
In Swansea's third consecutive FA Cup replay, goals from substitute Jordan Ayew and Nathan Dyer gave them a 2-0 win over Championship side Sheffield Wednesday after the goalless draw at Hillsborough 10 days ago.
The first half was a forgetful 45-minute period where the Swans failed to register on target, while Sheffield Wednesday did manage a shot on target, that was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt.
Carlos Carvalhal's starting line-up, which again featured a 3-4-3 system, was rather unbalanced, featuring Clucas out of position at left wing-back, with Wayne Routledge in front of him - and both were unable to help support the lone striker Tammy Abraham, who is still desperately struggling for form.
After a period of ball recycling and failing to get the ball to stick up top with the Chelsea loanee, Carvalhal made some much-needed changes at the break. Olsson's arrival fixed the imbalance of the team and allowed Sam Clucas to return to a more favoured midfield role, while Routledge had to make way for Jordan Ayew, who was man of the match simply for the spark of energy and creativity he added in the second half.
Swansea's pressing was one of the most impressive aspects of the performance all evening. They were positive in that aspect and made it very difficult for Wednesday to play out from the back and get into attacking positions. The second goal came from good pressure from Ayew, who stole possession just inside their half before feeding the ball over to the left to Abraham. Dyer was allowed to make a free run down the right and he picked up the ball before steering it low and through the goalkeeper's legs to guarantee our place in the quarter-finals.
It took us just 10 minutes after the restart to break the deadlock. Tom Carroll found himself some space with about 25-30 yards from goal and took aim with a low, powerful shot that hit both posts before falling kindly for Ayew to finish easily.
The opener forced the visitors to be more attacking, having been comfortable to sit deeper in a back five. But having been unable to look like getting the equaliser to force extra time, this opened up space for counter-attacking opportunities but we lacked that quality in the final third to make use of it.
It might not have been the most memorable of performances to get to the quarter-finals, but that is an achievement in itself, and it's a great one considering our struggling season so far. We've had to play two Championship sides to get there, including top side Wolves whilst thrashing League Two outfit Notts County in one of our three cup replays at the Liberty.
There were some disappointing individual performances too. Tammy Abraham is still desperately lacking confidence and some form as his ball control and hold-up continuously let him down throughout the 90 minutes, while many must wonder how Wayne Routledge still gets game time ahead of promising youngsters like Dan James, who was unfortunate not to feature at all during the game.
Defensively we looked solid after an edgy start to the game. Bartley looked a commanding figure at the back and Connor Roberts too put in another good display. Jordan Ayew once again changed things around for us in attack, bringing some much-needed energy, while Dyer improved and took his goal well with ten minutes to play.
Ki was somewhat disappointing, although Carroll showed a good range of passing and struck a superb shot that assisted our opener.
It's Spurs at home in the next round, who beat Rochdale 6-1 at Wembley, former striker Llorente netting a hat-trick. The tie will be shown live on BT Sport 2 on Saturday 17th March, kicking off at 12:15 pm.