Swans left in no doubt who the premier league side were today : Swans 1 Saints 3
Saturday, 31st Jul 2021 21:47 by David Cornish
Alan Tate proudly led Swansea City from the dug out this afternoon in a sun drenched Liberty stadium. Early team news wasn’t that encouraging, obviously the expected appearance of Matt Grimes was disappointing when the side was announced, apparently his leg still hurts.
From the off Southampton looked bright and pacey going forwards, testament to their early return to their pre season preparations, and the gulf in class at times was there for all to see. Having beaten Cardiff in the week by four goals this was going to be a huge test for the swans. After both sides had felt each other out it was the swans who pressed down the flanks attacking the north stand. On the quarter hour a cross from Liam Cullen in to a dangerous area of the saints goalmouth and it was put in to his own net by Mohamed Salisu. It was a well thought out Swansea move with a very well executed cross from Cullen.
Sadly within a minute of going in front a defensive sleepover in front of keeper Steven Benda ensured Nathan Teller was in the right place to fire home a shot through the swans keepers legs. Alan Tate would not have been happy with such a collapse after going ahead, the swans falling for the oldest trick in the book after going ahead, they went to sleep.
After that the saints pushed on looking for their next goal, and within six minutes it was Nathan Redmond who found the net to put his side 2-1 up. Again sloppy defending left Redmond with a relatively easy opportunity by his standards to put his team ahead. Southampton then began to grow in confidence, and they could have easily snapped up two more goals before the break. Steven Benda and Ryan Bennett keeping them out with last ditch defending. It was a lesson for the swans and after that all they could muster was a wayward shot from Liam Walsh who was substituted on the half hour with yet another niggling injury.
The step up in class for the swans was evident and there was really nothing of note to be pleased about from the first forty five minutes. Jamal Lowe and Morgan Whittaker were anonymous for most of the half and the midfield as has been pointed out by many swans watchers already this summer was toothless and pretty stodgy. I wouldn’t normally single out a player, but Yan Dhanda was about as anonymous as I’ve ever seen him.
Benda still has a few question marks over his reliability between the sticks. On several occasions his communication seemed lacking, However his defensive unit in front of him lived dangerously too as at times they looked ponderous and slow. Scotland teammates Adams and Armstrong both steered shots just wide from the edge of the area, before Armstrong traded passes with Long, whose cutback was dispatched first time into the bottom corner with his left foot by the former Celtic man. Saints had been remarkably comfortable throughout, and perhaps Alex McCarthy’s concentration was starting to wane was he caught in possession by Dan Williams, before Jan Bednarek saved his blushes with a timely clearance. Swansea’s best move of the match arrived inside the final 20 minutes, when Liam Cullen’s disguised pass found Joel Piroe, whose intelligent cutback invited Jake Bidwell to shoot first time, but McCarthy was in the right place to make a fairly routine stop. A third goal was deserved by Southampton, Armstrong leaving Benda desperately exposed in his goalmouth, the whole scenario was slow and Benda went down as slow as the swans defence reacted to the danger.
3-1 was about right but there is more concern about the swans squad tonight than any other season I can recall in recent times. It’s far too young as Alan Tate pointed out post match, the experience of Ryan Bennett albeit much needed was exposed far too many times today to be comfortable with him there for the season. Benda we have mentioned, the jury has to be very much out on him. Joel Piroe hasn’t really got going and a run of game’s and him knowing confidently he will be playing is what he needs. There are positives, but the overshadowing factor today was the managers post, and until that gets sorted the questions will remain unanswered, and the questions will get more and more.
Swansea City: Steven Benda; Kyle Naughton, Ryan Bennett (captain) (Scott Butler 90), Ben Cabango, Jake Bidwell (Lincoln McFayden 90); Korey Smith (Ollie Cooper 75), Liam Walsh (Dan Williams 32), Yan Dhanda (Ben Lloyd 84); Morgan Whittaker (Joel Piroe 60), Liam Cullen (Kyle Joseph 84), Jamal Lowe.
Unused Substitutes: Ben Hamer.
Southampton: Alex McCarthy; Kyle Walker-Peters (Yan Valery 60), Oriol Romeu (captain) (Ibrahima Diallo 46), Shane Long (Michael Obafemi 60), Che Adams (Danny Ings 60), Nathan Redmond (Mohamed Elyounoussi 60), Stuart Armstrong (Ryan Finnigan 73), Moussa Djenepo (Romain Perraud 60), Mohamed Salisu (Jack Stephens 60), Nathan Tella (Theo Walcott 60). Jan Bednarek (Oludare Olufunwa 81).
Unused Substitutes: Harry Lewis, Fraser Forster.
Referee: Bryn Markham Jones
Photographs copyright Swansea City AFC
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