|Millwall 0 v 3 Swansea City|
Saturday, 10th April 2021 Kick-off 12:30
Can the swans make it five matches without a goal ?
Saturday, 10th Apr 2021 08:00 by Keith Haynes & Steph Lawrence
An early kick off again in front of the SKY camera at the new den awaits Steve Cooper and his Swansea City side which hasn’t seen them score a goal since god invented grass. It’s a worrying time for Cooper whose popularity has fallen not only over these four games, but in the past two months of very sad, mouse running on a wheel, dour football.
We shouldn’t forget that prior to the initial lockdown last March - 2020, that it was hardly an exciting time to watch Swansea City. Albeit that seasons start was impressive. It wasn’t until the return to competitive games, and that ridiculous run in that saw the swans reach the play offs. Certain attitudes were changing towards Cooper and Marsh obviously. This season up until early February there have been some monster performances by the swans mixed in with the extremely monstrous too. Cooper is remaining positive, but of course that is his job, and in the face of being remembered for breaking records for all the wrong reasons he will be looking to ‘not lose’ at the new den. He tried with a more attacking side on Bank Holliday Monday against Preston North End, that didn’t work, it was horrendous, almost as bad as his trusted formation performed away to Birmingham City on Good Friday, there was nothing good to come from it though. Both games were lost in the dying embers of the game 1-0.
Ben Cabango scores the winner at the Liberty v Millwall last October in a 2-1 win
All hope of an automatic promotion place were given up at that point, and Watford who beat Reading last night with two impressive quick fire goals from Ismaila Sarr are close to securing that second spot. We still believe that the swans will make the play offs, however in this rich vein of complete catastrophe this side won’t feature in any final that’s for sure.
Ismaila Sarr scored a brace last night to defeat Reading 2-0
Millwall have absentees but their recent form has been eye catching, and they too harbour slight hopes of sneaking in to the play offs. Matt Smith, Ryan Leonard, Shaun Hutchinson and Ben Thompson remain absent for the visit of Steve Cooper's side, whilst Ryan Woods will return to the squad having missed Monday's game due to the terms of his loan agreement. The swans are sure to go more defensive with more senior players being included, and Millwall will definitely fancy the points.
With the start time being so early the swans travelled to SE16 on Friday as they normally do for early kick offs. The hope is someone will break the rot, someone will get a shot on target, and at least someone will give the swans something to believe in during the ninety minutes. Around the swans the top two, Norwich and Watford are gone, Premier League bound. Reading have played two more games, and are three points behind Swansea. Barnsley who haven’t a better goal difference than Swansea are at home to Middlesbrough. If they (Barnsley) win the swans drop down one again to fifth, that’s if Cooper doesn’t get the away win later today. In fact if he secures a draw at Millwall and Barnsley win - the swans still drop a place. If Barnsley only draw and the swans don’t collect points, yes, the swans again drop to fifth. Stunning.
In his press conference which was largely dominated by the social media blackout after three swans players had suffered racial abuse online, Cooper said “ There’s never a good time to not pick up any points and score goals. As I've said before, success isn’t easy. It’s an up and down road to reach objectives. We talk about it openly with the group. You either fight and work even harder, or you accept it and you give in. It certainly won’t be the latter. We recognise you’ve got to do things a bit better. I’ve loved the attitude of the players this week“
It’s around this time we look at previous results and comment on previous matches, and albeit the results overall have been favourable, this is now and it’s time to see some real ambition on the pitch. We will leave that process for another day.
On his opposite number Gary Rowett at Millwall, Cooper admiringly stated “ Seven games to go, most others have six. Points seem even more important. They’ll be no different to us. We’re going through a tough spell with results and we’re fully aware of that. But we’re looking forward to playing again because we're determined to put things right. You only do that by staying confident and more importantly, delivering when it counts. Gary’s got a very clear way of playing. But on the run we’ve been on, we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves more than ever.
A pleasing week then for Cooper, hopefully we will see a pleasing performance too in London later today.
Kick off is 12.30pm UK time and it’s LIVE on SKY Sports
Photo: Action Images
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