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Swansea City 1 v 2 Bristol City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 2nd September 2023 Kick-off 12:30
Swans lack a cutting edge in a dismal performance against Bristol City
Saturday, 2nd Sep 2023 14:49 by Liam Walters & Claire Walters

Michael Duff is still looking for his first league win of the season after falling to a 2-1 defeat to Bristol City. That’s five games down and only two points on the board.

In a keenly contested first half the Swans spent the first fifteen minutes looking very much the best side and were rewarded with the opening goal slotted away by Liam Cullen. Referee Oliver Langford marshalled the game well allowing play to flow, which to an extent hampered a more lightweight Swansea midfield for the first forty five minutes.

The Robins worked their way in to the game and began to squeeze the Swans defence. When the ball was played forwards it was goalscorer Liam Cullen who allowed his lack of control to give away any advantage.

The Swans looked pretty unstable at the back as well, Ben Cabango not having the best of games and you could include Nathan Wood in that first half summary. This was compounded by Bristol City having two goals chalked off for offside, both correct decisions, and a third after a clear infringement on a Swans defender in additional time.

These three decisions, albeit correct, highlighted the ineffectiveness of Michael Duff’s selections, especially regards Kyle Naughton who looked sleepy and very lucky to stay on the pitch after a scything challenge in first half added time.

The bright spot for the Swans was Charlie Patino who when going forwards added spark and creativity to the attack. Defensively he was pretty much the same as his team mates but his pass for Cullen’s goal was exquisite. That was the only bright point for the home side, and several other opportunities were spurned through the ball not falling right. Patino rushing his snap shot when he had other options to remain composed and make room for himself.

The Swans have often been accused of not having any leaders on the pitch and this was evident throughout the forty nine minutes that made up the first half. Captain Grimes is far too mellow and quiet to be the captain in situations where a player needs to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

The Swans somehow went in at half time one goal up.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to take advantage of poor Swansea defending with a goal not dissimilar to David Brooks strike on Tuesday night for Bournemouth. In open space Sykes was found by a cross field pass on forty eight minutes and he easily slotted the ball home. This seemed to fire up the Swans as substitute Josh Ginnelly worked the ball well on the Swans left but Cullen failed to put away his chance in front of goal.

With Ginnelly having some licence to attack on the left wing a more balanced Swansea now set up with four at the back but continued to look disorganised defensively. The official ruled out a push on Bell for a penalty as the home sides mistakes resulted in another yellow card. On fifty six minutes it was Ginnelly’s turn.

That yellow card came from another poor passing move from Swansea and would prove to be decisive.

With Ashby off for Ginnelly the Swans looked to the bench again but not before the visitors went 2-1 up with atrocious defending again highlighting a complete lack of defensive awareness. Bell was the recipient of a perfect pass to fire his shot back across Swans keeper Carl Rushworth. All the hard work again was undone. Jamie Paterson and Joe Allen came on for Liam Cullen and Charlie Patino. The Swans looked completely functionless and rudderless.

With immediate surgery implemented by Duff - Harry Darling and Mykola Kukharevych came on for Jerry Yates and Kyle Naughton which seemed to spur on the Swans. A clearance off the line from Robins Keeper Max O’Leary from a Cabango header followed. Sadly the Swans seemed unable to breach the visitors defence with poor choices when in dangerous positions. The rest of this game would be played out with the Swans pressing with little creativity and Bristol City hitting the home side on the break. The issue was the Swans were at walking pace at times with Wood being the main offender. Bristol City were set up very well by Nigel Pearson almost inviting the Swans on knowing there was little to worry them at this point,

The game entered the last fifteen minutes of normal time with further examples of the Swans lack of a cutting edge. Sideways passing the order of the day with little options ahead. Jamie Paterson had a scuffed shot which didn’t threaten O’Leary and the game entered the last ten minutes. A penalty shout for the Swans was waved away after a clear handball by Sykes, the ball being played in by Josh Key for Harry Darling to head back across goal. The defender clearly blocked the goal bound shot with his hand. Sykes was replaced by Robert Dickie with the atmosphere subdued reflecting the way the Swans were going about their attempts to get back in to the game.

There seemed little desire from Swansea to up the tempo or indeed to play the football Duff so often talks about. Even with six minutes added time the Swans effort just fizzled out. It wasn’t good and if Duff can’t manage the new signings in to what resembles a team over the coming month those dissenting voices will get very loud indeed.

Swans Indy opinion
The Swans were poor for the majority of this game, and it was a game that once they took the lead they should have taken something from. Once again the side looked disorganised and lacked energy. The misplaced passing and lack of creativity which we have seen in all the league games this season is still with us. Michael Duff has two weeks now before the Swans take on Cardiff City in the derby clash away on September 16th. The worry there is the Swans have a squad not altogether aware of the importance of that game. And to have to go in to such a volatile clash needing your first win of the season isn’t ideal.

Artwork by Swansea Independent

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Freelander added 17:28 - Sep 2
Well the Cardiff City fans will have a whale day when we play them as we are in a relegation zone and the chants will be shouting that we are going down after this display the club needed a manager with some experience in the championship but gone for some one who was not and it is showing in the way we play we are third from bottom and it will get harder to get up the table if the clubs above us start wining another manager full of excuses how long will Duff get before it is to late.

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