Reading at home today. Oh, and why don’t you just shut up !
Saturday, 27th Nov 2021 09:00 by Keith Haynes
Swansea City will look at today’s game against Reading as another opportunity to put three more points on the board as this seasons campaign progresses. With a full strength squad to choose from, and three more points on the board from Wednesday the home side are favourites.
This is the Championship, and Reading are a side who have taken a point off Nottingham Forest in recent weeks, plus when they lose, bar one game at Huddersfield, it’s only by very slim margins. Their performances haven’t been totally bad. They have beaten Cardiff away, and Fulham, no mean feat. They have also taken the scalps of Birmingham City, Middlesbrough, Peterborough and Barnsley. Plus it should be noted they haven’t had a 0-0 all season.
This won’t be easy, on Wednesday Barnsley set up to stifle Swansea City, they played their whole team behind the ball and it was extremely difficult for the swans to penetrate the home sides defence. They did try continuously, however the ill informed just saw that as non productive. What they didn’t take note of was Barnsley’s negativity and bland tactics that nullified the game. Many sides would have ended up drawing that game 0-0. However, the swans positive game plan to take the points paid off, despite people stating it was a nondescript performance. Even Barnsley supporters said the swans were boring, clearly forgetting their own team produced absolutely nothing throughout the game. As if it was Swansea City who were there to entertain them !
An odd assessment. And one which is more baffling than enlightening, but it will appeal to the more negative swans fan, possibly because that’s what they want to hear. There aren’t many of them, but their stifling unproductive comments on this Swansea side speak volumes about them as so called football fans. Possibly way beyond watching a football match as well. Sometimes a negative outlook will always be just that, irrespective of the evidence.
It’s likely we will see Michael Obafemi named on the bench today, even though his sabbatical on Wednesday was spent mostly at home. Here’s hoping he has done enough on Thursday and Friday to convince Russell Martin he is fit for purpose later today. Oddly enough Morgan Whittaker was also absent on Wednesday, also not injured but not too much was said about his omission.
There won’t be any surprises today for sure, the same mixture of players recycled as we have seen in recent weeks. Olivier Ntcham or Korey Smith, a pick from Bennett and Cabango with Bidwell, Laird and Naughton, maybe Manning and potentially, and it is a big potentially, due to the opposition a Rhys Williams ? That’s a long shot, but let’s be honest if Russell Martin is going to select the Liverpool loanee this could be the game to do so.
Liam Walsh has featured continuously on the bench in recent weeks, so is there room for him with Downes reduced to substitute ? It’s possible if we look at yesterday’s training work outs, Walsh featured in what looked like first choice selections, but both him and Williams starting could be a gamble. With a fully fit squad, and a bit more faith in what’s in reserve I think we could turn Reading over with even two, three or four changes. Of course there’s always back up on the bench, so, for me Russell Martin does need to speculate, and maybe be a bit more trusting of his players who are yet to see much daylight in a starting eleven.
Today could be the day.
The one thing that will keep Russell Martin from making changes is the league table, he may say he doesn’t take much notice of it, but he will be aware as anyone what three points means today. Already the so called educated pundits are talking about the swans making the play offs, I mean it’s only November ! And if you look deeper these were the same ‘well informed’ folk of a month or so ago who didn’t even rate this team for a mid table finish. Talk about bouncing around from one week to the next saying what you see. Reacting to one result to the next, hey up ... Doesn't that sound like a certain group of Swansea City supporters found on the forum boards of every swans website ?
It’s a tough road at times.
Whatever happens today, and Reading have as much chance as any side of going to the Swansea.Com stadium and taking the points, it’s been an eventful three months. So much so the inspirational play, the stunning goals, the possession, the stats - and wins still don’t seem to count for a lot in certain peoples opinions. It sometimes makes you wonder what it is that people want from their football team. Is it failure they want to see ? Therein they don’t see something in their lives that’s positive ? A failing football team is what they want, so it matches their life day to day ?
It’s hard to say, and to be honest I’m pretty much done with trying to work it out. All I know is that three points today, regardless of how they come is what the majority of us want. So no matter how it’s done it won’t please our negative few, the constant berating will continue, regardless. I’ll leave you with this, after knocking five past Bradford City in the League Cup final one of these nondescripts was queuing for the tube at Wembley. All I heard was how we should have scored seven, eight or nine goals and Nathan Dyer was rubbish.
Possibly the same sort who didn’t even notice when the swans smashed Liverpool at Anfield on route to that final. Not least who thought the two legged win over Chelsea was a formality once they had been beaten at Stanford Bridge.
There you go, I’ve had my moan. But it’s a positive one. Now it’s your turn.
That’s your starter for ten.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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