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Cooper Fosters The Swans In Magnificent Display as Deeney is Cleverley Kept Gray
Saturday, 2nd Jan 2021 17:45 by Keith Haynes

Swansea City blasted away the Reading pre new year cobwebs and served up a championship winning performance at home to rivals Watford in the EFL game of the day.

The first half was dominated by the swans but it was Watford with a strike from Tom Cleverely who took the lead on twenty minutes. It came from a misplaced pass from swans keeper Woodman which Marc Guehi failed to control leading to a throw in. The strike from Cleverely was slightly deflected by Matt Grimes who was lucky not to be awarded a free kick as Woodman dived to his left but couldn’t stop the spinning shot nestling in to the net. The swans were not daunted and Connor Roberts continued to harass the Watford back four with a series of crosses which once again just like a Reading failed to end up in the back of the net. In fact before the Watford goal, only one side looked like scoring. Fulton went close as did Smith in a cross shot from Roberts which was reminiscent of Paul Gascoigne -inches away miss against Germany many years ago. And the usual frustrations set in. Swansea continued their raids down the right hand side with Smith and Roberts inter linking play an Grimes pulling the strings in midfield.

Referee Bond became a bit too involved in the game at certain points, significantly booking swans players for offences Watford were not penalised for.

An early goal from Tom Cleverley did nothing to deter the magnificent swans

Swansea were not afraid to recycle the ball to Guehi and Bidwell in a remade back four due to a warm up injury to Joe Latibeaudiere. Manning looked confident relishing a rare opportunity to prove his worth to Steve Cooper. Although Ayew was quiet he went close to an equaliser until Jamal Lowe popped up with an exquisitely place shot from the edge of the area which saw him bag his seventh goal of the season. It had been a frustrating game and a half for Swansea, making chance after chance without scoring, so this goal was celebrated by every player in white.

The frustration that the Watford bench were experiencing was highlighted by the lack of crowd as obscenities and loud shouts were evident. The swans went in at half time happy but also rueing five good chances to have put this game beyond doubt by half time. Ayew and Roberts walked from the pitch smiling, Cooper had much to dwell on as we all looked forward to another exciting second half.

Lowe scores again for Swansea

And what a second half it was, the pressure from the swans continued with chances for Bidwell, ruled offside, then Ayew and Grimes which were saved by Ben Foster in the Watford goal. Something had to give and once again after another raid down the Watford left a cross game in and Jamal Lowe met the ball with a sweet header and it’s 2-1 to Swansea. Frustratingly after that the swans reverted to type defending deep but keeping Watford down to a Deeney shot and solid clearances. Fantastic defence work from Guehi who worked magnificently, and Korey Smith who is the Swansea Independent man of the match. Substitutes came in the form of Morgan Gibbs-White solely for the swans, but my word did we see what we had missed. Working with Roberts, Ayew and Lowe the corner flag became Coopers friend as the swans saw the time out. Albeit frustratingly at times.

Watford never looked like a side who were going to win this game, they were out fought and out thought by a swans side who were dominant in defence and rampant in attack. If there are any doubters tonight on Swansea City’s chances of going up look at the table. Top six is fantastic, top two as it stands is the best New Years present the club could give their thousands of fans throughout the the world. Doubt that and look at the Jacks at home on Twitter. Today’s game is believed to have been watched by over 45,000 jacks worldwide. Wales premier club side for as many years as many can recall press on, under the guidance of Cooper and Marsh the future is looking so so bright.

It was a superb performance, and one from a team that works hard, has a real ethic and believes entirely in what they do.

Hard working Ayew again dominated the Watford defence

If there are any negatives from today it has to be the defensive mode the swans took up on scoring the second goal, this is something many swans fans will find frustrating to the point of annoying. It worked, so Cooper will be happy. Another factor today was the amount of players who slipped or fell off the ground ( literally) in prime opportunities. The swans do need to review their footwear for coming games. Seven players slipped on the ball today.

Lowe points out the obvious

Swansea City: Freddie Woodman; Ben Cabango, Marc Guehi, Jake Bidwell; Connor Roberts, Korey Smith, Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes (captain), Ryan Manning (Morgan Gibbs-White 84); Jamal Lowe, Andre Ayew.

Unused Substitutes: Steven Benda, Viktor Gyokeres, Wayne Routledge, Yan Dhanda, Cameron Evans, Jordon Garrick, Kasey Palmer, Oli Cooper.

Watford: Ben Foster, Jeremy Ngakia (Adam Masina 46), Ben Wilmot, Tom Cleverley (Will Hughes 90), Troy Deeney (captain), Ken Sema, Nathaniel Chalobah (James Garner 60), Andre Gray, Kiko Femenia, Ismaila Sarr, Francisco Sierralta.

Unused Substitutes: Daniel Bachmann, William Troost Ekong, Marc Navarro, Sam Dalby, Joseph Hungbo, Kane Crichlow.

Referee: Darren Bond

Photo: Action Images

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Boundy added 17:56 - Jan 2
Excellent team performance , which they carried it on from the Reading game , I have mixed feelings now with the FA cup next, a well needed break for some of the players but perhaps a loss of momentum .But it does give the players time to recover which isn't a bad thing

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