Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistants: M Salisbury, S Ledger
Fourth Official: M Jones
Despite the disappointing home defeat to Stoke last Monday evening, it was no doubt the manner of the Swans performance that was of the greatest concern to fans, and which duly prompted the national media to speculate on the future of Garry Monk.
We should all now be well accustomed to such nonsense being circulated by the hacks – be it online or in print – and perhaps, it would be wise for some Swans fans to take a step back and consider that if they think the Swans have problems, then a quick look at this weekend’s opponents, will see that Villa have even bigger problems – having last won in the Premier League on 8th August!!
There is no doubt that the Swans are having a Premier League blip – as do all clubs at some stage(s) during the season – on the back of a six-game winless streak, but this weekends game presents an ideal opportunity to get back on track against a Villa side who must be even shot of any confidence and a manager who is allegedly just one defeat away from the sack (if you believe what you read in the press!).
The Swans have no injury concerns and no doubt will revert to a more familiar selection and formation than the experimental one employed against Stoke City. Wayne Routledge could return to the bench having recovered from a calf strain.
Apart from the interest in the Sherwood v Monk dual, with both managers having done their coaching badges together, there is also the likelihood of the Ayew brothers coming face to face, as Swansea’s Andre lines up against younger brother Jordan after both players arrived from Ligue 1 in the summer.
Villa are likely to be without the injured gary Gardner and Jores Okore, with Gabby Agbonlahor a doubt due to a shin injury. Ciaran Clark is expected to return to the macth day squad having recovered from a thign strain.
Our favourite pundit – Auntie Beeb’s Mark Lawerenson, has decided to sit on the fence this week (thanfully) and reckons:
This is a big game for both managers – Tim Sherwood is under huge pressure at Aston Villa, and Swansea are apparently looking for an experienced coach to help out Garry Monk. It is a mad world we live in but it means neither manager can afford to lose on Saturday. Consequently, I am going to go for a draw.”
We all know the Swans need a positive result and it is often better to stop talking about what needs to be done to stop the rot and to just go out there and do it.
This weekend is arguably THE time to do just that, and consequently, we think the Swans will win a close, edgy game by the narrowest of margins.
Last meeting at Villa Park
21 March 2015: Aston Villa 0 Swans 1
Current League Form (Last 5)
Aston Villa: LLLLL
Predicted Swans Starting XI:
Fabianski, Naughton, Taylor, Fernandez, Williams (Capt), Shelvey, Ki, Sigurdsson, Montero, Ayew, Gomis
Aston Villa 1 Swans 2
At the Bookies
Those of you who fancy a flutter might want to check out the odds being offered on the game at the moment.
Sky Bet have Andre Ayew to score first at 6/1.
If you like the Swans will romp to an emphatic away win, then you may fancy odds of 9/1 on the Swans to win 3‐0, 3-1 or even 3-2.
The more cautious punters amongst you will no doubt be tempted by the odds of 7/1 on the game ending goalless.
If you’ve not got a Sky Bet account, they are currently offering a FREE £20 when you bet just £5.