|Swansea City 2 v 3 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 6th October 2018 Kick-off 15:00
We Should Be Looking to Turn Over Ipswich Big Time on Saturday – Notes for Swansea
Friday, 5th Oct 2018 11:00 by HarryFromBath
HarryFromBath assesses the mood in the opposition camp ahead of Saturday’s game at the Liberty Stadium by delving into their forums.
“I love this league. It’s refreshing in so many ways”, “There is something enjoyable about watching a bit of football for a change instead of worrying where the next win will come from”, “We’re as good as anything I have seen in this division”, “There doesn’t seem to be that much to fear in this league.”
“Exciting times ahead.” The Swans head into their final game before the latest international break in seventh place and outside the play-off places on goal difference. Fans have welcomed the way their team has started to play attractive football while also getting results after a major squad overhaul.
Most think it will take two seasons for this side to fully blossom. “We can compete at this level with this squad. I won’t be making any bold assertions thought about whether we can challenge over the course of a season”, “We do need two seasons in the Championship for the squad to fully grow up.”
“The style of play is getting back to the old Swansea way.” Many yearn for a return to their recent model of building a successful side based on a philosophy of attractive possession-based football. “I am so very impressed with our football and I never thought I would see the Swansea way return.”
“I was wary of the hype before the season started, but Potter is the most important thing to happen to our club since [former manager] Roberto Martinez. We have several League One standard players in our squad and I don’t know how, but he’s eking much more from them than he has any right to.”
The 43-year-old played as a full-back for Birmingham and Stoke as well as a number of lower-league clubs before taking charge of then fourth-tier Swedish club Östersund in 2010, guiding them into the Swedish top flight and subsequently the Europa League group stages after winning the Swedish Cup.
“It’s all very exciting.” Fans have found it hard to predict his starting line-ups and formations given his preference for altering the shape during games. “His selections are unique and his substitutions are spot-on”, “Fortune favours the brave. His approach works better with young hungry players.”
“This guy is the real deal. He has put in confidence and freedom to play in the squad. I never thought I would see the Swansea way return”, “He has got us playing football again. He’s as good a motivator and man-manager as we have had in living memory. What an utterly fantastic job he is doing here.”
Unleashing the Exuberance
“We play some lovely football and in such a positive way. It is such a change from the negative dross of the last couple of seasons”, “It’s great to see us pass and move with such confidence”, “This team possesses guts and organisation, just a bit more attacking quality and we could win the whole thing.”
“We knock the ball about with aplomb”, “We play a lot of pretty triangles but there is a definite lack of wanting to score a goal. We are happy at times recycling the ball through the middle with nobody running in behind the backline”, “Great possession football but with no end product to show for it.”
“Top six football, we look bang tidy.” Despite the praise for their style of play, a goal difference of just 10 scored and six conceded in their 11 league games points to a team which has been built with strong defensive foundations. Many believe that time on the pitch playing together will change this.
“We are greater than the sum of our parts, but if our parts were better we would stroll this league”, “We are one or two quality players away from really challenging in the league”, “The young players have got this league sussed now. You can see the confidence starting to flow throughout the team.”
NordfeldtNaughtonRodonVan Der HoornGrimesFultonCarrollCelinaRobertsMcKayMcBurnie
“I don’t think I have successfully predicted a starting XI this season.” Potter has built a reputation for regularly altering formations during games as players move roles to meet changes in circumstances. His starting XI at Wigan (above) on Tuesday was set out in his preferred back four and midfield three.
MulderNaughtonRodonVan Der HoornGrimesByersCarrollCelinaRobertsBaker-RichardsonMcBurnie
Potter played a more attacking team (above) in last Saturday’s less demanding home game against QPR. Erwin Mulder is a better footballing keeper than Kristoffer Nordfeldt, while Oli McBurnie was able to use playmaker George Byers and striker Courtney Baker-Richardson as foils to create space.
“I think squad rotation will bear dividends over the course of the season.” Potter has switched right-back Kyle Naughton as a holding midfielder to take advantage of his physicality while Matt Grimes has likewise moved from the midfield to left-back in covering for the recuperating Martin Olsson.
“That defence though, another clean sheet”, “It’s no coincidence that we are now looking solid at the back as we have got back to a possession game. Opponents snatch at chances when we starve them of possession and you don’t get punished as often for defensive errors at Championship level.”
Mike van der Hoorn’s experience has helped the promising Joe Rodon in a centre-back partnership which has consigned former Town loan player Cameron Carter-Vickers to the bench. Tom Carroll and Leroy Fer have blossomed in midfield with clearly defined roles. Fer is now seen as a pivotal figure.
“Some of our overplaying at the back nearly gifts goals.” The passing game is a work-in-progress and can see the team play over-elaborate or play too narrow. “We try too many slide-rule passes instead of using space out wide. We end up coughing up the ball and allowing opponents to counter-attack.”
Bersant Celina is the side’s talisman and chief playmaker whether centrally or on the left flank. Right-back Connor Roberts has played well in a more advanced wide role but the side lacks a quality out-and-out winger with Barrie McKay in poor form and Jefferson Montero absent with a thigh injury.
“We could score more with a little more composure in the box.” Oli McBurnie is the focal point for attacks with his finishing and his wider play, although many Swans believe that he is at his best with a partner. He is expected to play alongside the raw but talented Courtney Baker-Richardson on Saturday.
“I keep saying that we’re a couple of players from running away with this league. Get Wilfried Bony fit alongside Oli McBurnie and we’re in business.” Bony is on the road to recovery after undergoing knee surgery in August, and fans believe that he will transform the team when he returns to fitness.
Wigan 0 – 0 Swansea
“A point at Wigan given their home record is a decent return”, “Wigan couldn’t cope with our fast pass-and-move style in the first half, but we lost control in the second half”, “We lost our shape and went route one which suited Wigan”, “A 0-0 draw and stuff Ipswich on Saturday. I would take that.”
Swans were happy to emerge with a hard-fought point away to a Wigan side who had won four of their opening five home league fixtures. Having controlled the tempo of the game and dominated possession for the first hour, they ended up withstanding a late bombardment from the hosts.
“Wigan fan here. You are the best team to visit the DW Stadium this season with your slick passing, but your playing out from the back would scare me”, “It bloody terrified us and all, mate”, “We were absolutely exhausted and hanging on by the end, which isn’t surprising at all given our small squad.”
Swansea 3 – 0 QPR
“Just got back. We could have been three-up at half time”, “A delightful autumnal afternoon where the Swans beat QPR without having to get into top gear”, “It has been a while since we controlled a game like that”, “That was the best I have seen us play since Michael Laudrup was in charge here.”
“Superb.” Courtney Baker-Richardson bagged his first senior goal on 16 minutes but missed some good chances as City dominated the first half. QPR rallied after the interval before Connor Roberts on 76 and Jay Fulton on 83 both struck to confirm a comfortable first Swans win in four matches.
“We were absolutely brilliant today. It was an iffy start but we got on top of QPR and stayed there all game”, “I lost count of the number of passes in the lead-up to our third goal. It seemed like we had the ball forever”, “Apart from the fantastic win, it was a pleasure to see us playing football again.”
Middlesbrough 0 – 0 Swansea
“An excellent away point, well done lads”, “It was a very good, hard-earned point, but we really are as blunt as they come at the moment”, “It was another one of those frustrating games where you just look at the opposition who are tipped for promotion and realise they are nothing special at all.”
“Middlesbrough were typical Pulis, pumping it into the box at every opportunity.” Swans were happy to leave the Riverside with draw in an uneventful game. City’s McBurnie and Olsson went close while Tom Carroll’s cross hit the woodwork. Boro's best chances fell to Daniel Ayala and Stewart Downing.
MulderRobertsRodonVan Der HoornOlssonNaughtonGrimesMcKayByersMcBurnieRoutledge
The starting XI (above) showed Potter at his innovative best. Naughton switched to midfield to add some physicality with Fer and Carroll unable to start, while veteran winger Wayne Routledge started as a striker leading the line, relieving pressure while also playing in McBurnie, Byers and McKay.
Goalkeepers and Defenders
“I’m not sure how Erwin Mulder doesn’t start, I hope we are just resting him and he’s not injured.” The 29-year-old ex-Heerenveen keeper “has excellent distribution which is vital for a team building from the back. He’s also a great shot-stopper”, “His clearances and passes are often very effective.”
Erwin Mulder (Swansea City)
“Mulder appears far more confident than Nordfeldt. He’s a better shot-stopper and is more mobile, getting down quicker and fast off his line. His positioning for shots and crosses is decent and he can play with the ball at his feet”, “A very calm keeper and should be back in goal for the Ipswich game.”
“Fortunately, we have an able deputy in Kristoffer Nordfeldt.” The 29-year-old Sweden international “makes top class saves, but he has the touch of an elephant. I never feel confident with the ball at his feet”, “He has won us points with some great saves but opponents target his poor distribution.”
“Mike van der Hoorn has been a jewel in our backline.” The 25-year-old ex-Ajax centre-half “was my man of the match at Wigan. There can’t be many in the division who are having a better season than him”, “He’s commanding and solid as a rock, and has all the physical attributes to play at this level.”
“Van der Hoorn is a solid no-nonsense player who was the pick of our defenders last season”, “He is not technically brilliant and a bit of a liability with his distribution. He’s often the worst culprit when delivering those over-ambitions passes”, “He has been instrumental in bringing Joe Rodon along.”
“Joe Rodon is our 6ft 3in Welsh colossus.” The 20-year-old youth product “is a star in the making. He is calm and doesn’t make rash challenges, playing the percentages perfectly. He knows when to run, pass or shoot and is not afraid to being the ball forward. He has tremendous skill and confidence.”
“Rodon looks like he’s going to be exceptional”, “He’s a decent footballer but will make an error per game often due to inexperience”, “He has a good leap on him but he does lose a lot of aerial battles we would expect a defender to win. He either misjudges the flight of the ball or gets outmuscled.”
“Cameron Carter-Vickers gives Potter the option of playing three at the back.” The 20-year-old USA international is on a season-long loan from Spurs, having spent the second half of last season on loan at Portman Road. “He’s a bit of a tidy and no-nonsense unit who has done well when he has played.”
Cameron Carter-Vickers v Kieffer Moore (Barnsley)
“Cameron-Vickers looks as if he can shift a bit”, “He’s a robust player who looks decent, with better distribution than most centre-backs”, “He’s strong and decisive. He slotted in well and play solidly in his first start at Stoke”, “He could push himself into contention for a starting centre-half position.”
“For all his good play going forward, Martin Olsson can be a poor defender. He doesn’t stay with his attacker.” The 30-year-old former Norwich full-back has been a bench option lately rebuilding match fitness after a hamstring injury. “He hasn’t had a pre-season after his World Cup duty with Sweden.”
“Olsson will benefit from competition. He’s a class defender but looked a bit heavy in pre-season. He was off the pace in early games”, “He has been a defensive liability for a while. He tends to back off instead of engaging too often but he’s an attacking threat when putting in his tremendous crosses.”
“I underestimated the ability of Matt Grimes to play in different positions.” The 23-year-old former Exeter midfielder has switched to left-back in recent games. “He has shown us wider aspects to his game. His passing range is good, he can dictate play well and he has a bit of bite and gets stuck in.”
“Grimes is a cracking player with great technique”, “He’s trying to push his game up a level and does a lot of rolled-up sleeves work at full-back”, “His covering is good, but in possession he doesn’t seem busy enough. He is tidy enough but he doesn’t show enough or give us a platform to build out from.”
“Naughton is a vital cog in our defence.” The 29-year-old former Spurs right-back “gives everything every time he pulls on a Swansea shirt. He’s a skilled athlete who plays the full length of the pitch”, “He’s a solid, powerful no-nonsense defensive leader who definitely found his mojo under Potter.”
Kyle Naughton (Swansea City)
“Naughton has been terrific when switched to a defensive midfield role”, “He controlled the show in the middle using his physicality well”, “He is guilty of playing sloppy balls which can get intercepted but he breaks up a lot of play and he also put in an excellent cross for our opening goal against QPR.”
“George Byers is inexperienced but he has a confidence and presence about him.” The 22-year-old former Watford youth product “is primarily a number 10. He seems a cracking little player but gets caught in possession and takes the wrong option far too often. That said, there’s a player in there.”
“Celina is more gifted than Byers, but Byers has the vision and a bit more grit. He makes some lovely passes and doesn’t give the ball away as cheaply”, “My only concern is his lack of pace. He’s a good dead ball taker, creator and finisher, but he lacks Celina’s pace on the pitch from a standing position.”
“Jay Fulton was in control of the game in midfield at Wigan. He played with more freedom and a fair but further up the pitch and usual and he looked good on the ball.” The 24-year-old ex-Falkirk man “plays his heart out and is great destructively. He lacks real pace but wins his tackles and headers.”
“Fulton’s a decent destroyer but he has to be better in possession. It’s like playing with 10 men when he has the ball as he gives it away far too cheaply”, “His passing needs work but he will harass, stop and break up attacks all day. He also has a neat near-post trick at set pieces which works at times.”
“Yan Dhanda has shown glimpses, but he struggles against physical sides.” The 19-year-old ex-West Brom and Liverpool youth product “is a neat playmaker, but he tries too hard to do the hard things. He should keep it simple and work his way into the game”, “A lovely footballer but so lightweight.”
“Tom Carroll has become an improved and important player in midfield.” The 26-year-old ex-Spurs man “gives the ball away a bit but he tries to make things happen”, “He’s not the most physical of footballers but he controls midfield and dictates play. He can be very effective driving us forward.”
“Carroll is now moving into pockets of space looking for the ball, the opposite of his previous habit of standing still and shying away from it”, “He is really busy now around the middle of the pitch and we lost control against Wigan when he went off. He’s an improved and important part of our team.”
“We have no generals in midfield unless Fer plays.” The Dutch 28-year-old one-time Canary has been used as a substitute in recent games, building match fitness after a groin injury. “He’s the one player who can handle the physicality of the Championship. There’s no option in the squad to replace him.”
Leroy Fer (Swansea City) v Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal)
“The ball starts to move faster and wider when Fer comes on. We look sharper and more confident with his power in the middle”, “He’s the best catalyst we have right now with the combative edge he gives us. He’s crucial to standing up to teams who bully us and bosses the opposition in this league.”
Wide Midfielders and Wingers
“Connor Roberts works really hard. He covers acres of space and always tries to give the player with the ball an option to pass to him.” The 23-year-old youth product and Wales international switched from his right-back role to a more advanced position in recent games. “He’s building his reputation.”
“Roberts ahead of Naughton is worth seeing more often as that combination brings quality both to the attack and defence on the right”, “He lacks a creative spark that wingers bring but he’s incredibly focused. He has an extra dimension to his game with his well-timed tackles and attacking intent.”
“I’m not sure about this Barrie McKay fellow”, “I am, a lazy player.” The 23-year-old August arrival from Forest “isn’t bringing anything to the table at the moment”, “He looks scared to play when he should be turning defences and causing them plenty of problems. He always seems to lose the ball.”
“Nathan Dyer is an emergency backstop. He won’t be used if everyone is fit and available.” The 30-year-old ex-Southampton winger “has no end product but at least he gets into position where we notice that flaw”, “He works hard and tracks back but then becomes a spectator and ball watches.”
“Daniel James can be an annoying little so-and-so buzzing around the place.” The 20-year-old youth product “is an admirable player but not quite ready yet”, “He gets us up the pitch but his decision making in the final third is far off the required standard and his ball control and finishing need work.”
“Celina is a player with tons of ability who does the little things brilliantly”, “He glides around the pitch effortlessly, and seems to have time with his clever use of space and unbelievable peripheral vision”, “His versatility is a joy to behold and he really epitomises Potter’s brand of total football.”
“Celina is best playing wide left and cutting in on to his right foot but he can play the number 10 role quite effectively. I would love him to be buzzing around the spaces created by the striker. There’s a hell of a player there if we can get the best out of him with his great first touch and eye for a pass.”
“What a player.” The 22-year-old joined Swansea on a permanent deal from Manchester City at the end of July having played on loan last season at Portman Road. “He puts years on me with some of the stuff he does in his own half but it’s great fun to watch. He’s a real threat in the attacking third.”
“McCarthy stifled Celina at Ipswich but he’s the type of player who can thrive under Potter. He’s got bags of talent but his positioning is an area of his game that needs work, but I expect that to happen under Potter’s guidance”, “Potter has just told Celina to express himself and actually enjoy playing.”
“I think we signed Joel Asoro to be a back-up striker but he hasn’t really shone yet.” The 19-year-old July purchase from Sunderland “hasn’t made an impact in any of our games. He tries to take players on and loses the ball instead of passing and moving. He has no tricks to beat a man and offers little.”
Sunderland's Josh Maja celebrates with Joel Asoro (L)
“What a professional Wayne Routledge is. He has kept his fitness and battled as hard as anyone. He is a seasoned professional with bags of experience.” The 33-year-old former Palace, Newcastle and QPR wideman has covered as a striker in recent games. “He has shown he’s a good option up front.”
“It seems like Routledge has had a new lease of life”, “He pinches the ball and retains possession so well, linking with the midfielders. His weight of pass is a bit off and he has never been a finisher, but he showed some lovely touches and the ball just stuck to him when he played as a centre-forward.”
“I hope Courtney Baker-Richardson lasts longer than five minutes today.” The 22-year-old former striker for non-league Leamington was dismissed very early into his league debut away at Millwall last month. “That’s what you get with inexperience. There was no intent, but it was a poor tackle.”
“It’s early days but Baker-Richardson is a big unit that’s not afraid to get stuck in”, “He’s the one lad we have here with the right attitude to deal with thugs at this level. He just needs to learn to control his approach to avoid red cards”, “I was happy he scored against QPR but his game does need work.”
“McBurnie is a proper footballer who can do the physical stuff, but his creativity and intelligence do shine when Baker-Richardson takes on that responsibility.” The 22-year-old ex-Bradford striker “is a big part of Potter’s plans and he’s trying to get the best out of McBurnie by expanding his game.”
Oli McBurnie (Swansea City)
“McBurnie can thrive in a two-striker set-up with his sensation linking and holding-up play”, “He likes to drop deeper and can play as a support striker”, “He is doing a lot of tracking back which has been a big development in his game”, “His first instinct is to spin and attack, he likes to maraud forward.”
“McBurnie is a good finisher but it’s not all about goals as he has other talents”, “Potter improved his off the ball work this summer. For sheer effort for the team there’s no comparison”, “He will do nothing for 15 minutes and lose every ball in challenges, yet he has a poacher’s knack of scoring.”
Swans’ Views on ITFC and the Game
“This seems like the easiest game of the season. Ipswich are heading towards relegation. They have nothing to recommend them. Hurst is on the brink of the sack. Celina and Carter-Vickers might have a point or two to prove. We're playing at home and there is a considerable amount of confidence.”
“We have to win this comfortably.” Swans are approaching this game in confident mood. There was almost an assumption that the draw at Wigan was good as they should then have four points from two games. “We surely must go for the jugular at home to one of the poorest sides in this division.”
“We need to bury struggling teams like Ipswich”, “I would expect Potter to field our strongest team with a view to attacking the visitors and scoring a few goals in a pleasant win for us. It will hopefully brighten up a supposed wet and windy afternoon and put us back in the play-off positions.”
Not everyone agrees that this will be an easy encounter. “Talk about tempting fate. This is exactly the sort of banana skin game that clubs slip up on. We need to play our best football and find the goal as they are probably desperate to win and will kick us off the pitch if the referee allows it.”
The busiest Swansea forum is our sister-site, the very lively and well-informed Planet Swans. Swansea City highlights are available on the Multimedia menu as well as Ipswich Town and for the whole of the Championship and other EFL leagues.
Photo: Action Images
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