|A Historic Occasion|
Monday, 23rd May 2011 21:37
Gavin Tucker looks forward to next week's massive play off final
It's great to see that as I write this there remains only a few tickets left for the Swans date with Wembley and probably as you are browsing this they may well have all been snapped up.
With average attendance at the Liberty this season of just over the 15,500 mark and with a Wembley allocation of over 39,000 all but sold, a big welcome is due for all new fans and a welcome back to all the long distance and long lost members of the Jack Army. Travelling to Wembley on May the 30th from many different directions and by many different forms of transport will be the largest single gathering of Swansea City fans in the clubs history. The closest comparisons being 32,796 in a FA cup match against Arsenal in the 67/68 season and over 32,000 that travelled to the Millennium Stadium for the 2006 league one play off final against Barnsley. Being a part of this alone will be a special moment for our club and fans alike.
Will Reading make it third time lucky in their third attempt in the Championship play offs after defeats at the hands of Wolves in 2003 and Burnley in 2009? Or will Swansea make it a case of bad things come in three's for Reading with another victory for Swansea after 1-0 wins home and away against the Royals already this season.
Despite the superstitions, luck will not decide the outcome. Hopefully, this encounter will not be decided by a silly mistake from either side or a dodgy call by the officials. Ideally, the best team will win after giving the best performance on the day, it's what this final deserves from the two teams that deserve to be there.
The bookies seem cautious with Swansea only ever so slightly the favourites to triumph under the arch.
The Swans at Wembley as Brendan Rodgers stated will feel like home. The pitch size and quality will suit our style of play down to the ground. The width should prove to be a rich hunting ground for well rested, speedy wide men Dyer and Sinclair. Close and double marking of our wingers only opens the door for attacking down the middle from goal hungry Dobbie and Borini.
The Royals have the option to try and neutralise our solid passing game and build up play from the back by putting pressure on our players by closing down when we are in our own half. This counter measure to put pressure on us drains opposition and if it does not reap any rewards for Reading it will only allow more space for the Swans to do what they do best as opposition legs start to tire as the game rolls on.
Long ball tactics deployed against us have proved unrewarding this season for many teams that have tried it against us. A solid defence and two holding midfielders ensure that 'hoof ball' rarely troubles us.
So what can Reading do, apart from trying to pressure us into a mistake? Their other option would be to nick a goal from a set piece. Swansea's defending from corners and free-kicks has improved in the last season; an experienced and strong back four combined with De Vries looking a lot stronger and commanding in these situations of late should prevail. If they try to sit deep and weather our storm well, Pratley can always smash one in from the half way line!
Come what may at the final whistle our team has already done us proud, heroes every one of them. We fear no-one and we BELIEVE!.
Photo: Action Images
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