If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably know my thoughts on yesterday’s game against Middlesbrough.
I thought we lacked presence in the final third, a cutting edge and any creativity whatsoever. Our tactics were completely out of proportion with our starting eleven and, by the final few minutes, I was bored of seeing the same thing over, and over again. We looked incredibly one-dimensional, and Paul Clement not making a single change in a game where at least one could have been made at half-time was confusing at the very least.
But – and there’s a but – I do think there’s an ounce of hope we can take into tomorrow’s game against Spurs. Having had a few hours to mull over the result, here are a few positives I’ve managed to pick out of what was a frustrating afternoon at the Liberty Stadium.
The Jacks Zone
Even if the entertainment on the pitch wasn’t up to scratch, the debut of the Swans’ new family-friendly meet up point, ‘the Jacks Zone’, went down an absolute treat with the home fans. It had everything from big-screen FIFA competitions to a live band, which was only made better by the beautiful weather on SA1. Maybe it won’t be quite as appealing in the rain, but it’s a big step forward in improving the whole matchday experience!
Twitter: ? #Swans fans enjoying the #JacksZone in the sunshine. Come down & enjoy the pre-match atmosphere. https://t.co/iSqIFplWX8 (@SwansOfficial)
We didn’t lose…
…even if Rudy Gestede had 20,000 hearts in mouths as he headed wide in added time! A loss against Middlesbrough would not have gone down well, and rightly so. While a win would have put us seven points clear of them, preventing them from getting three points could prove to be just as important as us gaining one.
We’ll have easier games
You may think I’m mad for suggesting this, but we’ve got easier games coming up than yesterday’s. Middlesbrough’s strengths are in defence, and it just so happened that yesterday, our weakness was in the final third. Put two and two together, it was never going to be a high scoring game. A team as well drilled as Boro were always going to be hard to break down and losing Llorente to an ankle injury earlier this week didn’t make it any easier.
Although this isn’t much of an achievement against Middlesbrough this season, it’s definitely something we can build on. It was only our fifth clean sheet of the season and second of the calendar year, so even if we were only up against the league’s lowest scoring side, it’s still a positive.
Olsson and Naughton
They may not have been able to help break the deadlock, but it was a huge boost pre-match to have our first choice full-backs back in contention. Whether they both start against Tottenham tomorrow we will have to wait and see, as Clement may wish to rotate them in what is a busy week for the Swans. Naughton’s place in the side seems safe though, given that I don’t think anybody wants to see Leroy Fer at full-back again…ever.