Swansea on Sunday, another delayed or ruined plate of Yorkshire pud and roast veg, the fifth time since the start of December. How dare the Premier League fixture computer play so fast and loose with English dietary traditions!
Despite last weeks somewhat iffy performance against Palace we go into this one with a spring in our step I feel. We won, we’ve had a week off, Townsend is nearly back and our previously barren striker is back amongst the goals. It’s a shame it’s the one busy clearing his locker but you can’t have everything. Four wins and a draw in five league games mean that we’re keeping the likes of Newcastle and Man Utd (!) at bay; Everton’s fine form is keeping us out of that uncoveted Europa League spot however. Our home game with the Toffees in February (another Sunday kick off) is looking to be potentially crucial.
It might be Tim Krül to suggest that Sherwood’s lack of selection options is perhaps beneficial whilst things are going well, but it’s true that less tinkering means less opportunity to mess things up. I’m not sure that there’ll be many more additions to his matchday squad this weekend, it’ll be good to have Townsend back though even if he’s likely to be on the bench. There will be few, if any changes, which is a good thing obviously if you’re doing well.
The rise of Bentaleb makes more sense if the rumours of Kapowee related ‘unprofessionalism’ are true. This would help explain the throwing of the youngster to the lions at the Haemmerhoids when other experienced options seemed more suitable. The midfield, assuming they’re all fit, will be as it was against Palace. Again assuming that they’re match ready the back five pick themselves. The only place where there might be a change is up front where I get the feeling that Sherwood is a bit fed up with Soldado. It wouldn’t be a total shock if Defoe were given a start. I personally would think that a mistake and that Sherwood had fallen into the same trap as Harry and AVB did previously in thinking that the little fella was capable of having an impact from the start in the Premier League. He’s not and hasn’t been for years. Call me crazy but I’m liking the look of Harry Kane this year, I’d be tempted to give him more than the odd few minutes he gets now to see how he gets on.
Swansea are in a bit of a crisis. After a couple of seasons of finding this top tier stuff all a bit of a lark they’ve struggled this term. They currently sit 13th, three points above 18th place and with no win in their last 7 games. Injuries, squad size and the Europa League have no doubt played their part but the long, warped and bony (no pun intended) fingers of relegation are beginning to feel round the ankles of Michael Laudrup and his men and trying to get a grip. One suspects they’ll be alright though come May, they’ve got too many good players and there are still four clubs between them and the bottom three. It’s a good time play them mind!
Martin Atkinson is the referee, he of the Mata Wembley ‘ghost’ goal of a couple of years ago. Hope he’s got his prescription changed. Not that I’m bitter.
Three points are very possible, and given our next game is against the Man City juggernaut, probably necessary. COYS.
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