|Swansea City 0 v 0 Hull City|
Saturday, 11th September 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Swansea City v Hull City : Expect to see brave and exciting football today
Saturday, 11th Sep 2021 09:00 by Keith Haynes
It has taken time, and at times when it has gone wrong swans fans haven’t displayed that much patience, such is the way of the world these days. However today we will see a more vibrant Swansea City side than has been witnessed in the previous five league games.
Screaming out for some time with his squad the past ten days have been a real godsend for the new swans manager Russell Martin and his team. Enabling them to work more in attacking modes of play we should see Swansea City start to build-out from the back from most positions, the two wing-backs move quickly to a high line. This stretches the width of the opposition defensive structure and means that there is always a wide option on either flank. It’s simple in its structure but very difficult to execute as quickly as Russell Martin wants. That’s where the fitness and conditioning challenges for all of the swans squad have been increased. It should be that over three months each player will see an 11% increase in overall fitness. This in turn will enable them to put any Russell Martin tactic in place, not only quickly but with that intensity Martin often talks about.
Simplifying this attacking approach isn’t easy, and the opposition will need to work as hard as the swans which is tiring and very draining when you haven’t got the ball. Rotations and vertical movements play a huge role in the attacking game plan that Russell Martin will use. The central midfielders move back towards the ball in order to receive the ball before moving it out to the wide central defenders or wingbacks. It is also notable how proactive the goalkeeper, Steven Benda, is in possession as he is often positioned outside of his area acting as another active part of the build-up for his team. We have seen this already on many occasions this season, Benda’s involvement from the behind the defence, almost sweeping up play is crucial.
It all means today we will see a very exciting game, the swans can be stopped by a high press by the opposition, however quick ball play up to the midfield will expose space and this is where the chances will come for the swans. If a Russell Martin side does take a lead he too has to learn that reverting to a defensive mindset isn’t the answer. If it works in the first fifteen it has to work in the last fifteen. That’s where the issues for the swans will arise. We saw it at Preston. However the extra time to train, discuss and understand his players means Martin has seen enough promise to see an improvement this afternoon.
It isn’t the first time Martin has stated the obvious about his players continued professionalism “There are different levels of fitness. Of course, the guys are all fit and professional and I keep stressing it’s not a slight on anyone who was here before. But they played in a completely different way last year. If you look at the physical requirements for each position, they are hugely different to what they were asked to do and now what we require. It’s conditioning, rather than fitness, the swans boss said this week. “They are fit, but it’s the conditioning to play in a certain way, which is really different. If you spoke to the players, I’m sure they would say the same. That’s no disrespect to anyone who was here before. But they are not conditioned to the way we want and I think that was pretty evident in the first games. The guys have been honest with us. They felt they needed to work, that they needed to run etc. They are now fresh and eager to do more.”
No room for players who don’t want to learn at Fairwood
Hull City are eager to improve and since their promotion they have impressed immensely in their style of play if not results wise since then. Hull made a superb start to life back in the Championship as they romped to a 4-1 win at Preston on the opening weekend of the 2021-22 season, but have since struggled to build on that victory; failing to win in four and losing three times in that run. Grant McCann did well to get Hull promoted from League One at the first time of asking, and will have his sights set on keeping the Tigers in England's second tier this term.
Any win will do today, but for Russell Martin it has to be done with his side implementing his tactics that have been worked on all week. No pressure there, all that the majority of swans fans want is three points. Swansea City now have a player with recent Champions League experience. Olivier Ntcham is key to the whole plan. An aggressive playmaker attacking from the middle is what he swans have missed for the last three seasons, in Ntcham the club has that. Its now just down to his desire and willingness to work with Martin and his ideas where the jury will remain out for some time. His track record isn’t good. Maturity is key.
Rhys Williams should make his swans debut today
My personal expectations on Rhys Williams, like many others is that he will be a permanent fixture from the off. He really should start today. He was brought in to improve the defence, and his experience at Liverpool will do just that. Get him in there and let him show what he can do.
We will return before kick off with the latest team news via our match day forum.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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