Premier League – Swans v West Bromwich Albion at 15:00 on Saturday, 26th December 2015
Referee: Roger East
Assistants: A Garratt, M Wilkes
Fourth Official: D Handley
The annual Boxing Day fixture is always the game over the festive period that football fans love the most and wouldn’t it be the perfect present for the Jack Army if the Baggies were to get stuffed by the Swans!
Unfortunately given the fact that both sides don’t score many goals – both teams are in the bottom three when it comes to goals scored – a goal fest isn’t on the cards and we can no doubt expect a similar pattern to that of the West Hame game last weekend.
Whilst the performance levels of the Swans the last couple of games have been encouraging, it is now becoming increasingly more important that the wins follow those improved performances and for that reason alone, nothing short of a win against West Brom will suffice.
The Jack Army – who really got behind the team last time out (as they need to do in such situations) – will take great heart from the number of chances the team are not creating, but we all know that if we don’t start to take those chances then the 2nd half of the season could become an even more unpleasant one.
With Wayne Routledge likely to have recovered from the knee problem which kept him out of the West Ham game, we are likely to see him return in place of Bafetimbi Gomis as Alan Curtis reverts to the same starting eleven that did so well at Manchester City a few weeks ago.
West Brom, who are without a win in four matches themselves, will be without James McClean and Salomon Rondon, whom are both suspended after being sent off in last weekend’s defeat against Bournemouth. Newport born gaffer Tony Pullis will be delighted to call upon the services of experienced midfielder Claudio Yacob who is back in contention having been away due to a family bereavement.
One man tha Swans back four will have to keep a close eye on is Saido Berahino, who is likely to feature instead of the suspended Salomon Rondon.
Historically the Swans don’t do well on Boxing Day having only won twice in the last 7 years. However, the Swans have always seemed to like scoring against the Baggies in the Premier League at the Liberty (For 9 Against 3) and who can possibly forget that first half footballing masterclass the Swans put against the Baggies when they met at the home of Wales’ only Premier League football team in November 2012.
Another tight, nervy afternoon awaits but we’re backing the Swans to sneak a 1 nil win and get that much needed 3 points on the board.
Swans 1 West Bromwich Albion 0
What the Pundits Think
Paul Merson (Sky Sports) – Swans 2 West Bromwich Albion 0
t was a stupid tackle by James McClean and it sold his West Brom team-mates down the river against Bournemouth, but Saido Berahino could get his chance now. Swansea played well against West Ham last week without winning the game, and it was a similar story against City the week before. It’s going to be a hard game at the Liberty Stadium, and West Brom usually don’t lose these types of matches. Tony Pulis sets his team up well, and he nicks points here and there. Still, I’m going with a home win, which is unusual because Tony is very good at not getting beat, but I think Swansea’s luck might change.”
Mark Lawrenson (BBC) – Swans 1 West Bromwich Albion 2
Albion manager Tony Pulis is as good as anyone in setting up his team against the opposition whichever way they play. And I don’t think there is a better Premier League team than West Brom at set-pieces. They have got a team of giants – one thing Swansea don’t have – and always look like scoring from corners and free-kicks. Swansea were OK in their 0-0 draw against West Ham and it was interesting to see caretaker boss Alan Curtis say all they need is a bit of a break. Will they get one against West Brom who take no prisoners? I don’t think so. Bafetimbi Gomis, Jefferson Montero, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jonjo Shelvey, Andre Ayew – they have all forgotten how to play. Swansea are lacking confidence and can’t buy a goal. If you can’t score in this league then you plummet.”
John Roeder (MOTD Commentator)
These are nervous times for Swansea, and if results go badly over the festive period it could leave the Swans with a significant gap between them and safety. Only four players have scored for them in the Premier League this season, and they’ve managed to score just three times in their last seven matches. They are worrying statistics. West Brom arrive in South Wales needing a win of their own to extend their points advantage over the bottom three. Goals may be in short supply in this one, but you’d think the Baggies might just be too strong for the managerless Swans.”
Last meeting at the Liberty Stadium
30 August 2014: Swans 3 West Bromwich Albion 0
Current League Form (Last 6)
West Bromwich Albion: LDDDWL
Predicted Swans Starting XI:
Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams (Capt), Taylor, Britton, Cork, Ki, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Ayew.
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.
If you fancy the Swans to sneak a close win then you can get 9/2 on a 1 nil win or 7/1 on a 2 nil win for the boys in black and white.
We quite fancy the energetic Andre Ayew to get a goal and the odds of Ayew netting twice at 14/1 are very appealing!
Let us know your thoughts – whether on the game or the betting odds using the comment box below.