We caught up with Read Swansea editor, Declan Terry, and asked him a few questions ahead of the game this weekend.
Swansea faced Bournemouth earlier in the season, what were your thoughts on that game?
Declan Terry: I went into the match thinking we were in for a pretty easy game… how wrong was I? Bournemouth started tremendously and silenced the Liberty Stadium with two quick-fire goals. We did quite well to come back and grab a point, but the Cherries were definitely the better side on the day. For the neutral, Swansea and Bournemouth are two attractive teams who play good football, so on most occasions I think games between the both will always be entertaining.
What was your general impression of Bournemouth that day?
DT: I was very impressed with Bournemouth that day and I’ve been very impressed with all season, too. They’ve come into a tough Premier League as extreme underdogs and have proven everyone wrong, as Swansea did in their first top-flight campaign. Plus, it’s also quite astonishing to be pretty much safe already, despite nasty injuries to key players such as Callum Wilson, Tyrone Mings and Tommy Elphick.
How do you assess Swansea’s season so far, do you think they deserve to be where they are currently?
DT: Yes, we probably do. The first half of the season was rotten, and it subsequently led to Garry Monk’s sacking. Thankfully, since then, we’ve improved under the guidance of Alan Curtis and Francesco Guidolin, and we’re now on the brink of survival which is so relieving. I don’t think we deserve to go down as there are worse teams than us in the league, but compared to last season where we finished eighth, this campaign has been very disappointing.
What sort of team do you think the Swans will put out on Saturday?
DT: I think it’ll be our regular core of 11 players with the same men coming on from the bench. It’ll probably look something like: Fabianski; Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Cork, Britton, Sigurdsson; Ayew, Routledge, Paloschi. Then likes of Ki Sung-Yueng, Leroy Fer, Modou Barrow and Bafetimbi Gomis good options off the bench.
What do you make of your new signing, Alberto Paloschi and how much of a part will he play at the Vitality?
DT: I quite like him. He’s certainly showed more enthusiasm than Gomis up-front, and netted a good goal against Tottenham the other week. He needs to adapt to Premier League football a bit though, as he does seem to be a bit weak on the ball. To fully compliment him, Swansea need to knock balls past the defence for him to run into to, rather than pass it to him and expect him to take on two centre backs.
Who do the Swansea defence need to be wary of and who are the danger men for Swansea?
DT: I think Josh King could be a handful up front and scored a cracking goal against Newcastle. Keep him quiet and it’ll be a huge bonus, but we need to still be wary of Matt Ritchie, Max Gradel and Benik Afobe who can really hurt you.
As for the Swansea danger-men, I’d say Gylfi Sigurdsson is our biggest threat at the moment. He’s in red-hot form, scoring six goals in 10 games, accumulating a few assists too. He really is a magnificent player. Other than Sigurdsson, Andre Ayew is quality, as to is the midfield pairing of Jack Cork and Leon Britton. One to watch would definitely be Modou Barrow, who’s been phenomenaL coming off the bench these past few months.
What’s your prediction for the game?
DT: I think it will be very tight, so I’ll go for 1-1. Sigurdsson to score for the Swans, and for Bournemouth, Benik Afobe to grab a goal from a corner, seeing as we can’t defend them.
Thanks to Declan for doing this, head over to Read Swansea in the near future to have a look at myself answering some questions.