|Middlesbrough 1 v 0 Swansea City|
Saturday, 4th December 2021 Kick-off 15:00
The message is still the same from Russell Martin
Sunday, 5th Dec 2021 08:43 by David Cornish
Swansea City are continuing to confuse their critics. They are also failing to convince Russell Martin devotees there is a clear pathway forwards in a season where people continue to forget that it’s one of alleged ‘transition’ Steve Cooper spent two seasons promising everything but delivering nothing, whilst Russell Martin continues to promise more but in some fans minds isn’t achieving.
Nothing could have summed this up better than yesterday’s performance at the Riverside. The home team were pretty toothless but still managed to take the points, whilst the swans created numerous chances. However, just like last weekend the better side couldn’t convert even one opportunity. Possession is key in any football match just ask Juergen Klopp or Pep Guardiola, but there has to be an end product. For Swansea it’s becoming difficult. Some fans are becoming impatient. The desire for an immediate fix every week of three points is bizarre when evidence of a better way in the long term is on display on the pitch. Most fans want a remedy week after week, but it seriously asks the question, ‘ After two years of Steve cooper why attack the current manager now ? ‘
Isn’t the football better ? Surely we are all more hopeful now ?
Swansea City are a football team with far more prowess and function than I have seen for many years, especially under Steve Cooper, Graham Potter and their previous incumbents. In fact I would name every manager since Garry Monk in that list. Especially those that took Wales premier football team down down to the Championship. To even compare the football to that of the previous five years is beyond comprehension, to say it’s worse is baffling. We saw a swans side at Middlesbrough yesterday that dominated the game, created enough chances to win it and who were set up in such a way they should have taken the points. Ryan Manning hitting the bar, and then rifling a sure fire equaliser ‘On target’ had it not been for the Boro Keeper gave us hope. Jamie Paterson being hauled down in the area after miscontrolling a through ball was another example of the swans desire to win this game. Sol Bamba handling in the area after a Joel Piroe shot went unchallenged by the referee. And that was just the first half.
The second half was better, a Piroe effort cleared off the line, and another desperately just wide when he really should have scored. Two decent saves from the Boro keeper from Grimes. The effort and the passing is key to this seasons success but swans fans seem extremely impatient after watching Cooper’s Swansea for two whole years. Russell Martin’s strategy is working and it works in every position on the pitch, but as he stated last week the desire in front of goal was missing. And it was missing at Middlesbrough as well. Olivier Ntcham makes a big difference to the side, there was a positivity and bite about the midfield when he came on. The ball being cleared off the line was the swans best opportunity to score, but there were many more. Middlesbrough were relentless in their hard work, and in their defending. Again offering little up front to bother Hamer which left the swans to try and craft a way back in to the game.
Opportunities came and went, the frustration in the large travelling support increased, free kicks, corners and on goal strikes continued but to no avail. The introduction of the much maligned Michael Obafemi brought no reward either, he needs far more game time. Boro’s goal was clearly as a result of complete miscommunication at the back allowing Isaiah Jones to stroll in to the swans penalty area and easily slot his shot home. Noticeable was the effort by Rhys Williams to cover that space Jones was in. Almost jogging as the Boro player went on to score will cause some concern. Ben Hamer too fixed on his line when maybe he should have come further out to stop the effort.
It wasn’t a performance like last week and it was much better. It’s just the tempo needs increasing before the volume of dissenters increases, because we all want Swansea City to win, I think.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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