After last week’s memorable win over Arsenal, Abi Davies hopped on the Swan Express and headed north to Wearside to visit the ever improving Sunderland team.
Swansea City went into Saturday’s game at The Stadium Of Light undefeated in their previous 5 games, and on the back of 3 consecutive victories were looking to retain their 100% win record in 2012.
Brendan Rodgers made just one change to the side that started against Arsenal six days ago, as loan signing Gylfi Sigurdsson was handed his full Swansea debut, following a sensational second half performance last weekend.
The Swans should have no shame in the manner in which they lost the game on Saturday, with it taking a sublime strike either side of the interval to condemn the Welsh side to their eighth defeat of the campaign.
The home side got the game under way and were the quicker to settle into their rhythm putting Swansea’s defence under instant pressure making their intentions clear from the outset, Martin O’Neill’s side didn’t allow the Swans to dominate proceedings with their fluid passing movements early on.
Nicklas Bendtner and David Vaughn applied relentless pressure on Swansea’s back line, not allowing them any time to dictate the pace of the game or pass the ball out from defence as they often do to great effect.
Despite Sunderland’s early dominance, it was the visitors who should have found themselves in front, when Nathan Dyer supplied a dangerous ball across the face of goal which eventually fell for Scott Sinclair, however the winger could not keep his shot down as he failed to work the keeper with his effort.
The Swans were made to rue this missed opportunity moments later when Sessegnon fired home a superb strike following some neat interplay with James McClean inside the area.
The home side threatened again soon after, this time Welsh international David Vaughn had the shot, however blasted the ball high over the cross bar.
Having signed on loan for the Swans less than a month ago, Gylfi Sigurdsson has already made a name for himself in the Swansea City side and the Icelandic midfielder almost set up the equalising goal for the visitors, however his delivery into the box for Danny Graham didn’t quite fall for the striker who couldn’t direct the ball on target.
McClean was enjoying mass success down the left flank due to Angel Rangel’s poor positional play at full back, which saw the Catalan caught high up the field on numerous occasions.
Swansea soon began to get a foothold on the game, dispossessing Sunderland with ease and stringing some good passages of play together as Joe Allen and Sigurdsson began to command the midfield. However, despite Swansea’s dominance in possession, they were not sufficiently testing Sunderland keeper Mignolet who was not made to work until the hour mark when he did well to palm away Sigurdsson’s free kick.
There appeared to be very little penetration pushing forward from the Welsh side as they were lacking a cutting edge in the final third, as they passed the ball around well however were not advancing into the 18 yard box often enough.
Neither of our wide players enjoyed much success on Saturday, being muscled off the ball frequently with defenders doubling up on Sinclair each time he was looking to advance into dangerous areas of the pitch.
With little over 60 minutes played, Sigurdsson was replaced by fellow loan signing Josh McEachran. I feel the Swans missed Sigurdsson after his departure despite McEachran doing well with the few touches of the ball that he had.
Swansea controlled the game in the majority of departments, however Sunderland punished them for not capitalising on their opportunities and sealed victory 5 minutes from time when Gardner lofted a sensational strike over Vorm ensuring Sunderland’s resurgence under O’Neill continues.
With Swansea suffering their 7th defeat on the road, I feel changes may be needed away from home. Personally I would opt for a diamond formation, omitting our wide players for games away from The Liberty, as I believe we would still be able to offer width going forward due to our attack minded full backs.