Many believe 36 points will be enough to stay up this season. So having surpassed that figure with a victory over Man City, the pressure had been lifted off Swansea somewhat. I would say they can now freely express themselves, but that is what they have done throughout the season. Fulham are a force to be reckoned with at Craven Cottage and Swansea were on a high; with both teams playing free-flowing football this was shaping up to be a mouth-watering fixture.
Free Flowing Football
For the first twenty minutes it was pretty much end-to-end stuff, with both teams creating good chances. Within sixty seconds, Rangel threaded a lovely through ball for Graham up the inside right channel and Graham shot from an acute angle into Schwarzer’s arms. While at the other end, just a couple of minutes later, Dempsey saw his shot tipped over the bar by Vorm.
Swansea Take Control
In the thirty-sixth minute, Routledge made half a yard on Riise and sent a cross to the back post, Sinclair tapped the ball inside and Sigurdsson was first to react, scoring with a diving header.
Swansea’s second was a sublime team goal with lovely composed passing. As Vorm sent a long ball towards Graham on the right-wing, it broke to an unmarked Sigurdsson in a central position. With no midfielders tracking back he was free to hit a wall pass with Routledge and strike the ball first time from 12 yards to double his tally.
The mesmeric display was rounded off by Allen firing a well placed shot to the bottom left hand corner and Schwarzer could only help it on its way. Right at the end of the game Sinclair received Graham’s pass in the box and played a lovely one-two with Routledge but failed to hit the target from the corner of the six yard area.
Swansea are now 8th, just three points behind the mighty Liverpool, and beat Fulham with a team that cost just £7 million. A completely dominant performance by Swansea, especially in the second half and an absolutely joyful watch for Swansea fans and neutrals.
Next page: Match Stats…
Capitalising on mistakes
Swansea took advantage from misplaced Fulham passes in scoring their first and third goals. Fulham lost concentration on a number of occasions, coupled with Swansea’s hard work, leading to mistakes throughout the game. Graham’s hard work and closing down created two chances for Sinclair; the first being blocked and another which saw Sinclair dribble past Senderos and force Schwarzer into a close range save. Sigurdsson played a major role in the victory once again, and has done so in all three matches Swansea have played during March.
Fulham completed 80% of their passes (344/429) while Swansea achieved 88% pass completion (613/700). Once again Swansea scored a goal resulting from a cross, and they had 20% cross completion from 15 crosses, compared to 8% completion from 12 crosses for Fulham. Swansea actually made more passes to the left in this game, a complete turn around from the start of the season (190 to the left, 187 to the right). Although there were 98 attacking passes to the right-wing, compared to 55 to the left-wing. Another feature of Swansea’s passing fluidity is ‘lay-offs’, these can be difficult to input when analysing, but I have to say I do enjoy a good lay-off, along with the movement that follows. Swansea made 47/48 lay-offs, compared to Fulham’s trivial 1/1. With 62% possession to top it all off, Swansea outperformed Fulham in all the crucial areas.