With the Swans looking to bounce back to winning ways after last week’s blip at Chelsea, a visit from an ever improving Southampton was always going to provide a stern test.
Throw Jonathan Moss the Premier League’s most card happy referee into the mix – he’s issued 13 yellows and 2 reds in 3 games BEFORE today’s game – and you know that quest for victory comes that little bit harder.
Bar a few stray passes – mainly from Federico Fernández (who was making his first Premier League start for the Swans) – the boys in black and white made a positive start to the game with Gylfi pulling the strings in midfield and Dyer in particular proving a handful on the right. Hopefully the latter will receive the recognition he deserves from Woy Hodgson – who made his debut in the West Stand for today’s game.
The tone of things to come however was set when Bony clashed with (or was that clattered into?) the niggly Yoshida around the 15 minute mark and duly received a yellow card from ever ready Moss.
Things were looking good for the Swans with Routledge rattling the crossbar and then Bony having a header cleared off the line. You could sense a goal wasn’t far away for home team.
Sadly on 39 minutes Bony clumsily clattered into his new found friend Yoshida. If their first “clash” didn’t warrant a card this challenge did. Cue a red card and effectively the game over as a fair contest. That’s 3 red cards in 4 games for the now infamous Mr. Moss.
Despite the captain of Wales having a stormer at the back and Fernández seemingly growing in confidence minute by minute, the question for most people was could the Swans hold on for the remaining 50 odd minutes or even sneak something on the break.
We managed to get to half time without any problems but the inevitable second half onslaught duly arrived.
Montero replaced Dyer on the hour mark as the gaffer tried to freshen things up a bit but without having much of the ball or a target man up front – the change had little effect.
The longer the half went on the closer Southampton came to scoring and it there was an air of inevitability about it when sub Wanyama scored for the Saints on 80 minutes after skipping past a couple of poor tackles.
One last throw of the dice saw Emnes replace Ki, whom gave another positive and busy display. The Swans did manage a couple of corners in the last few minutes but that killer final pass was missing and the Saints held on for the 3 points.
Southampton are quickly becoming to us what Norwich were when they were in the Premier League – a bogey side. The Swans have now gone 387 minutes of football since hitting the Saint’s onion sack.
Other general observations after the game were that Jonjo Shelvey isn’t the same player since the International break and his inconsistency (also taking into consideration last season) is a concern. Neil Taylor had a poor game today and was IMO the weak link in the defence today. The left back birth is an area which does need improving and needs strength in depth.
It’ll be interesting to see what team the gaffer picks when he tries to bury the Everton hoodoo on Tuesday night.
A special mention to the crowd today, whom for a period of around 10 minutes or more in the second half really were the 12th man – belting out “Garry Monk’s Barmy Army” like I’ve never heard it before. I have little doubt that when the WHOLE stadium gets behind the team it lifts them – especially in difficult circumstances, such as today.
So on a day when the Saints were victorious, it’s a little bit ironic that they had a helping hand from a sinner – Jonathan Moss.