“Win your home games!” The cliché is almost as old as football itself. However, in this league the big question is Will it be enough? Swansea go into Saturday’s game looking to secure their first points on their travels in Saturday’s lunchtime kick off against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molinuex. Both Swansea and Wolves will be looking to bounce back from disappointing to defeats to Norwich and West Brom respectively.
Stephen Dobbie is set to miss 2 weeks action following his late departure at Carrow Road last weekend. Brendan Rodgers was boosted today with the news that Stephen Caulker will return to action earlier than anticipated but this game lands a few weeks to soon for the youngster. Kemy Agustien is still a long term injury. The Swans fans will be hoping that Neil Taylor being taken off was merely a precaution rather than another injury. Vangelis Moras will be hoping to make his first appearance for the Swans on the weekend.
Wolverhampton Wanderers went up as Champions from the second tier in 2009. Since then, Mick McCarthy has looked to establish Wolves as a Premier League side. In their two campaigns since promotion, they have avoided relegation by finishing 15th in 2009/10 and survived in a dramatic last day last season, finishing 17th ahead of Birmingham on goals scored. Despite starting the season well with 2 wins, Wolves find themselves on a bad run of form and after 5 straight defeats, occupy 16th position in the league, a point and 3 positions behind the Swans.
Mick McCarthy is a well organised manager whose side will be difficult to break down. With Steven Fletcher out injured, Mick McCarthy may look to former top goal scorer Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to partner Kevin Doyle up front. Last time out, Mick McCarthy opted for Kevin Doyle to lead the line on his own with Jamie O’Hara playing in behind him. Wolves will have targeted this game as a game to stop their decline.
Last time out: (0-2 vs. West Brom)
Wayne Hennessey; Richard Stearman, Stephen Ward, Roger Johnson, Christophe Berra; Karl Henry, Matt Jarvis, Adam Hammill, Nenad Milijas, Jamie O’Hara; Kevin Doyle
At the Back
Welsh International Wayne Hennessey is the long standing number one at Wolves despite the summer transfer of Doris de Vries. Roger Johnson was also a summer signing from local rivals Birmingham and another familiar face for Swans fans having turned out for Cardiff. Wolves’ defensive lines has a balance of both experience and youth with players such as Jody Craddock and Matt Doherty proving great role models for players such as George Elokobi, Roland Zubar, Richard Stearman and Christophe Berra.
In the Middle
David Edwards is the second of Wolves’ Welsh internationals having joined the club from Shrewsbury. Jamie O’Hara has finally settled at a permanent club and was vital in their survival last season. Matt Jarvis and Karl Henry are both long serving players of the club. Ireland is represented well in the midfield through Stephen Hunt and Stephen Ward. Both can offer cover at fullback if needed. Adam Hammill has impressed in the midfield with his trickery since joining from Barnsley. Highly rated youngster Nemad Milijas and Algerian Adlene Gueldioura provide international experience to the midfield.
Sam Vokes is another Welsh international within the Wolves squad, but his opportunities have been limited by the form of Kevin Doyle and Steven Fletcher. Having joined the club from Reading, he’s been instrumental towards Wolves’ survival with his goals and his all-round contribution. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is a long serving player for the club and will be hoping he can recreate the form he found in the promotion campaign in 2008/9. The loss of Stephen Fletcher is a huge loss to the side as his height and strength can cause problems to any defence.
Key Match Ups
Ashley Williams vs. Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle will be looking to forget last week’s humiliation against West Brom by finding the net against the Swans. It will be Williams’ job to ensure this does not happen. The Irish man possesses the quality to grab a goal and can punish any lapses of concentration in the Swans defence.
Joe Allen vs. Karl Henry
In the absence of Dutch duo Kemy Agustien and Ferrie Bodde, you could be forgiven into thinking that the Swans midfield lacks muscle or bite. The Wolves midfield certainly is not lacking that and Karl Henry’s challenges have become something of infamy in the Premier League. I’ve picked Joe Allen as the key man for Swans but all three central midfielders need to show tenacity as well as the excellent footballing ability they’ve displayed this season.
Scott Sinclair vs. Richard Stearman
Scott’s goals will be instrumental in Swans’ survival. Last week at Norwich, when given the chance he showed that he had an eye for goal and his only chance to run at the defence led to an assist for Danny Graham. In credit to Norwich last week, they limited to Sinclair to shots from distane but if Stearman doesn’t close him down or allow him space, Hennessey could find himself picking the ball out of the net a few times (hopefully)
Danny Graham vs. Roger Johnson
Danny Graham is growing in confidence with every game and despite defeat last weekend, he performed very well and grabbed himself a well taken goal. He will be looking to add his third goal in as many games come Saturday. There’s an added spice to the game after Johnson turned down Swansea to join Cardiff. Graham and the Jack army will be looking to get one over on one of their old enemies.
Gerhard Tremmel vs. Doris Devries
Sorry, I couldn’t resist!
Head to Head
The last time the sides came head to head was in the 2008/9 season where the home team came out victorious on both occasions. This will be the 31st meeting between the two sides over the four divisions. Wolves have won 13, Swans 8 and 9 draws.
27/10/2008 – Wolves 2-1 Swansea (Pratley)
4/10/2008 – Swansea 3-1 Wolves (Gomez, Scotland x2)
Final Thoughts and Predictions
This is a huge game for both sides as they look to turn around their respective form. I believe that should Swansea play as well as their capable of, they should have too much for the Wolves in particular if Dyer and Sinclair can get into their stride. Having said that, football is rarely straight forward and given the lack of points on the board from over the English borders, I will happily take a point.
Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Swansea
This article was written by Matt Wallace