Blackburn Rovers at the Liberty, Brief preview.
Given the fast turnaround of matches this week, with that painful loss at QPR still in mind, this week's preview is necessarily brief, and if you want a more in-depth squad analysis, the preview for our Away visit back in November is available here.
They have changed some players since that meeting , but the bulk of the squad has evolved into a regular and trusted pack, with their results varying from the sublime - a win Away at Old Trafford no less - to the disappointing - a recent home defeat to Liverpool included to Andy Carroll's last minute winner - a result that saw them drop back into the bottom 3.
They remain in 19th place on 28pts, so we all know how crucial is this game, since a win or even a draw would not only see us get back into some kind of form, but would confirm both our 40pt + tally, and an effort to put them nearer to the dreaded "R" position.
For that game , their line up was .....
01 Robinson, 03 Mn Olsson, 16 Dann, 18 Orr, 31 Hanley, 08 Dunn (Lowe - 75' ), 10 Formica (Rochina - 73' ), 15 Nzonzi, 21 Ms Olsson, 23 Hoilett, 24 Yakubu
34 Kean, 05 Givet, 12 Pedersen, 14 Petrovic, 35 Lowe, 20 Rochina, 25 Goodwillie
They lined up in a 4-1-4-1 that day with Robinson in goal, a back 4 of Orr, Hanley, Dann and Martin Olson, a holder in N'Zonzi and with Hoilett, Formica, Dunn and Marcus Olsson ahead and the Yak up front.
I watched the game, and it struck me that part of their problem was in trying to fit the players to the system, and although they fought back well from 2-0 down to get back into the game subsequent to Doni's sending off in the Liverpool goal (and the Yak missed the first penalty), they spent too long settling into any sort of settled rhythm, and were not strong enough to see off a spirited Pool revival that though it had allowed Blackburn back, were ultimately undone by that disputed last minute winner.
Late in the game, Lowe, a tricky winger replaced David Dunn and Formica made way for Rochina in the Play maker slot.
The ultimate threat in the side comes from the two players who play the furthest forward - because one thing that this team can do is to score goals.
Both David "Junior" Hoilett and Yakubu Ayegbeni are having decent seasons, with the young Canadian alerting reputedly bigger clubs for a move elsewhere at season's end (no matter what the outcome), and the Yak's foursome against us in the Away fixture still pains us Swans to this day. He has continued to score, regularly, throughout the season, and will require careful watching if we're to keep him out altogether.
I've already done an approbation of how we might line up ourselves, so on this occasion I'll repeat that for those who haven't seen it by repeating it here.
For our own line up I would not be surprised to see several changes.
Since we're at Home I expect no different than our usual 4-3-3, although I'm certain the personnel will be switched.
Common regard seems to be from Wednesday that Joey Allen looked tired, and that's no surprise given that this League drains like no other, so Mark Gower, surely, must come into consideration for that spot.
Again, lots will know I'm a Josh McEachran fan, who, I believe, will be an England regular of the future. I would not be unhappy to see him slotted into the furthest forward slot of the middle three, with the the only bugbear being does he replace, or enhance, Gylfi Sigurdsson? Personally, I'd sit the South Wales Xavi (LB) this week, and play a middle three of Gower holding, Sigurdsson deep but in front, and McEachran advanced.
ND must start on the right, with SS on the left, Time for a rest Wayne.
At the back the middle 2 are sacrosanct - no change there, but what about Alan Tate giving Angel Rangel a rest, with Neil Taylor holding his spot, just, though he could equally stand in at LB even, and his height and aerial ability will be useful.
These, of course, are just mere speculation and conjecture.
Whatever the line up put out by BR and his staff, I, and 99% of us Jacks will give the team nothing other than our greatest respect and our total support.
That's what being a fan means. If our side was casually offering us the finger as they strolled toward their Summer Holiday you'd find me happy to criticise. The fact that they are not more than demands that they both deserve and get our total support.
The remaining fixtures for us both with be absolutely crucial, so we know how much is riding on the game. We have both Wolves and Liverpool still to come to the Lib, with visits to both the Reebok and Old Trafford to fit in, too.
I'd like to think that from this fixture plus those to come we can do better than Blackburn are likely to do from their other 4, which see them with Home games against Norwich and Wigan, and Away trips to Tottenham and Chelsea.
Whatever, all we Swans will be completely behind our team tomorrow - they need us to be. Let's make sure we're the 12th man tomorrow, and hopefully we'll be saying on Sunday....
Onward, Swansea City.