When Swansea City lit up the Premier League : Fulham 0 Swansea City 3
Tuesday, 28th Sep 2021 09:37 by David Cornish
It became a feature on match of the day, Lineker, Dixon and Shearer eulogising over Brendan Rodgers ‘ Swansea Way’ And after this particular game they spent a whole eight minutes analysing the inspirational play that was Swansea City. Triangles and pressurising the ball, the twenty eight pass move that led to one of the goals. Eighth in the league, conceding the least goals bar the Manchester clubs. Yes, it actually happened. And some of us remember it very well indeed.
The Swansea perspective
But the Australian goalkeeper had little chance with the opener on 36 minutes as Wayne Routledge found Sinclair at the far post and his volley across the face of goal was pounced upon by a diving Sigurdsson. The home side showed greater urgency after the break but the visitors soon reasserted their dominance and duly doubled their lead as Sigurdsson fired home from 12 yards out after good work from Routledge.
The visitors added a third when Philippe Senderos conceded possession in his own half, allowing Joe Allen to drive down the left and cut inside before firing a low shot past Schwarzer. At the other end, Vorm was alert as he pushed Dempsey's effort on to the bar before Sinclair wasted a glorious opportunity to add a fourth in the dying stages.
The Fulham perspective
Mahamadou Diarra was handed his first start for the Club in central midfield in place of Danny Murphy whilst there was a return to the starting eleven for Bryan Ruiz in place of Damien Duff.
Fulham were undefeated in six games at the Cottage prior to Saturday’s match against Swansea, with both teams level on 36 points before kick-off.
The match got off to a flyer, with three attempts on goal within the first three minutes of play. After Danny Graham had fired in a tame strike from the right hand side of the area after just 30 seconds, Clint Dempsey went on the counter attack, sprinting a full 40 yards with the ball before forcing Michel Vorn into a fingertip save with a vicious strike from 18 yards.
Barely a minute later Mousa Dembele was offered a sight of goal from the left hand side of the area but the Belgium playmaker scuffed his effort into Vorn’s arms.
Following a flurry of chances in the opening minutes the play settled but both teams struggled to gain a foothold on the match. However after the 10 minute mark Fulham began to settle into their natural passing rhythm.
After a sustained bout of pressure the Whites earned a corner after 12 minutes and when a headed clearance fell to Riise outside the area, the defender only had one thing in mind. The Norwegian’s well struck effort flew just over Michel Vorn’s bar.
Whilst his own opportunities were few and far between in the opening 20 minutes, Pavel Pogrebnyak was earning plenty of applause from the home crowd, highlighting his ability to retain possession in deep areas with some fine skill, strength and poise under pressure.
Just before the half hour mark the game kicked back into life, with Clint Dempsey getting things started with a speculative long range strike form distance that failed to test Michel Vorn. Fulham’s US international looked odds on to break the deadlock just moment later when Bryan Ruiz played the striker through on goal. As Dempsey prepared to pull the trigger the ball was whisked away to safety following a superb last ditch tackle.
Next to try his luck was Pavel Pogrebnyak from an outstanding cross from the left flank by John Arne Riise. The Russian’s headed effort was cleared outside the area and Bryan Ruiz follow-up strike from 20 yards flew just wide of goal.
Fulham were arguably guilty of losing possession all too easily in their half and on one occasion just past the half hour mark Scott Sinclair was set free inside the area. Fortunately Mark Schwarzer was well positioned to save but the warnings signs were there.
10 minutes before the break Swansea took the lead through Gylfi Sigurdsson. Fulham lost possession in the middle of the park and Swansea attacked down the right flank through Wayne Routledge. The winger then delivered a deep cross to the far post that Sinclair squared to Sigurdsson who was left with the simplest of finishes from close range.
Fulham constantly probed for an equaliser as half-time approached but Swansea’s work off the ball and organisation allowed the home side little room for manoeuvre in the final third. It was a frustrating first 45 for Martin Jol’s team who went into the break a goal behind.
There were no changes at the start of the second half as Fulham attacked the Hammersmith End. After three minutes play Mahamadou Diarra burst down the left flank and in a desperate attempt to keep the ball in play, crashed against the hoardings behind the goal. The midfielder suffered a deep cut to his head but returned to the field of play after treatment on the touchline.
Fulham were soon camped in Swansea’s half, applying pressure in dangerous areas but to their credit, Swansea resolute defence remained solid.
After 53 minutes Martin Jol made his first change of the game, introducing Damien Duff for Bryan Ruiz on the right flank. It took just four minutes for the Republic of Ireland international to fire in his first effort on goal after a fine piece of direct approach play from the middle of the park.
Following his introduction Duff looked the most likely player to bring Fulham level but the home side were dealt a severe blow on 66 minutes when Gylfi Sigurdsson scored his second of the game to put Swansea two goals ahead.
Sigurdsson started the move he finished, running from midfield before releasing Routledge down the right flank. Sigurdsson continued his run and fired Routledge’s square ball into the net from eight yards.
Following Swansea’s second goal, Martin Jol made his second change of the game, introducing Kerim Frei for Andrew Johnson. With less than 20 minutes remaining Jol made his third and final substitution of the match, replacing Mahamadou Diarra for Danny Murphy.
13 minutes from time Joe Allen put Swansea 3-0 ahead with a solo run and right footed shot that curled past Mark Schwarzer from 18 yards.
Clint Dempsey almost reduced the deficit in the final ten minutes with a volley from the right hand side of the area that hit the top of the post. Kerim Frei then tested Michel Vorm with a shot from the left hand side of the area before Pavel Pogrebnyak fired over the cross bar with a stinging left footed shot.
Swansea saw the game out comfortably in the closing stages and Fulham were consigned to their first home defeat of 2012.
FULHAM: Schwarzer, Kelly, Riise, Hangeland, Senderos, Diarra (Murphy, 72), Dempsey, Pogrebniak, Johnson (Frei, 68), Ruiz (Duff, 54), Dembele.
SWANSEA CITY: Vorm, Rangel, Monk, Caulker, Taylor (Tate, 90), Britton, Allen, Routledge, Sinclair, Sigurdsson (Gower, 90), Graham (Moore, 90).
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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