Saturday, 7 February 2015

Swansea 1-1 Sunderland - Player Ratings

Josh Kilmister gives his take on today's action

After a massive victory over Southampton last time out confidence was sky high in the Swansea camp this week, and although that wasn’t enough to overcome Gus Poyet’s Sunderland side, there are plenty of positives to take out of Saturday’s game. 

Starting XI

Lukasz Fabianski – 7

Sunderland's only shot on goal found it’s way into the net, but that was in no way Fabianski’s fault. Untroubled for large parts of the game, he did well to stay on his toes and claim everything that entered his area. Some superb distribution saw us come close on the counter, but it wasn’t to be. A solid performance from our number one. 

Neil Taylor – 6.5

Solid at the back, but was let down by Dyer who left him exposed too often and looked far more comfortable after the introduction of Montero at half time. Tayls was up and down the left flank for the whole time he was on the pitch, and he looks a completely different player to the one that started the season. Replaced by Rangel later on but it didn’t look to be anything serious. 

Federico Fernandez – 6.5

Fede was truly solid for the majority of the game,  but will be disappointed that he didn’t do more to shut down Jermain Defoe for Sunderland’s goal. His positioning is something I’ve spoken about on numerous occasions, and his performance today is yet another example of why I think it’s one of his best attributes. Some world class defending overshadowed by a few seconds of poor decision making, but by no means a bad performance. 

Ashley Williams – 7

On the back of what some will say was his best performance in a Swansea shirt, Ash didn’t let his performance slip this weekend. If ‘Errol’ wasn’t his middle name it would probably be ‘reliable’, and for me when he’s in the form he’s in at the moment there aren’t many better defenders in the league. Of course he’ll be disappointed to not have kept a clean sheet, but if he can keep his back four working at the rate they are, teams will find it tough to break us down. 

Kyle Naughton – 7

This was Naughton’s first chance to make an impression on the Liberty crowd and he certainly didn’t do himself any harm. His performance at St. Mary’s last week was good, but this was a step up from that. Some quality defensive work at the back and, considering it’s one of his supposed ‘weaknesses’, a great performance in terms of going forward. Linking up well with both Barrow in the first half and Dyer in the second, Naughton’s composure on the ball is something I admire, while his cross to set up Ki’s equaliser was impressive also. Moved to left back when Taylor was taken off, Naughton looked equally composed bar the fact his stronger right foot limited him slightly. 

Ki Sung-Yeung – 8 (Man of the match)

Ki’s reintroduction to the first team was a pleasant surprise for all Swans fans, and he certainly didn’t take long to settle back in to the team. Playing in the position where he’s at his best, Jack Cork’s presence allowed Ki to push further up the field and give us a different option in the final third. 

Speaking after the game, Ki told Swans TV that he’s still feeling the effects of his contributions to Korea’s Asian Cup efforts, but didn’t want to show Monk, his colleagues or the fans that he was tired so worked even harder to put a shift in. This makes him worthy of a man of the match award in itself, but his performance and goal will seem him praised by many a fan. 

Jack Cork – 6

It was definitely clear that Cork hasn’t been with us long and he didn’t really get into the rhythm of things, but that will come in time. Booked early on for kicking the ball away so that may have affected his game, and I’m sure Monk will have had a word with him about it. Cork worked hard in front of the back four and even offered himself when going forward now and again. With a few more weeks training under his belt, I’m more than sure he’ll fit right in. 

Nathan Dyer – 6.5

Dyer hasn’t been himself for weeks, but today we saw glimpses of what we all know he can do. Playing on the left in the first half, he was incredibly frustrating. His lack of a left foot meant that he struggled to make a real impact and, as I said earlier, left Taylor exposed with his tendency to cut inside. In the second half we saw a more explosive Nathan Dyer – one willing to take a risk or two. With a bit of luck, this is just the begin of what is to be a solid final few months of the season for him. 

Jonjo Shelvey – 7 

After his screamer at Southampton last weekend Jonjo’s confidence was through the roof, and he took his chance to grab the game with two hands. At times it looked as though he would rather find space for a shot than play an easy pass but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you’re looking for a late winner. His passing to release our forwards is something any team would benefit from, and he seems to be cleaning up the weaker parts of his game too. 

Modou Barrow – 5.5

A below average performance from the youngster, and his first Premier League start lasted just forty-five minutes. His raw talent has really worked in his favour since he’s been here, but he seemed to run out of ideas against Sunderland. Perhaps he wasn’t fully fit after going off injured last week, and that might also be why he only played the first half, but he didn’t do much in his time on the pitch to warrant a start next time out. 

Bafetimbi Gomis – 6.5

People can say what they like about Bafe Gomis, but I am still convinced there is a player in there somewhere. Sure he’s had a tough few weeks, but calling him out on Twitter won’t help matters. The team still isn’t playing to his strengths and, until we do, we will not see the best of him. Had luck been on his side, Gomis would’ve bagged himself at least one today and people would be singing his praises. He’ll be frustrated that he’s gone yet another game without a goal, but the positions he got himself into today are promising. When he starts scoring I’m sure the goals will start flowing, and he certainly seems a lot happier since having resolved his short-term future. Instead of getting on his back, let’s give him that extra push that he needs. 


Jefferson Montero – 7 (for Barrow, Half Time)

His second return from injury in the space of three weeks, Montero terrorised the Sunderland defence but failed to force any mistakes out of them. The Ecuadorian international certainly made an impact though, and we were a better team with him on the field than we were without. 

Angel Rangel – 6.5 (for Taylor, 67)

Monk seems to have a thing for changing his full-backs. Rangel has a place to fight for now, and his cameo performance will do his chances no harm. A solid twenty minutes from the Spaniard. 

Nelson Oliveira – 6.5 (for Shelvey, 78)

The Portuguese striker hasn’t had much of a chance to make his mark for the Swans so far, but when he has played he’s been decent. A good shot on the turn late on forced Pantillimon into a good save and he a good cross almost came off. Some will say he should start against West Brom, I’m not so sure. 

Referee: Phil Dowd – 6

One of my least favourite referees in the league, Dowd made a few suspect decisions throughout. Quick to both his card and his whistle, you almost knew when a player got touched they would get a free-kick. Some will complain that Ki’s goal was onside but the linesman had a tough job distinguishing it; hardly the worst decision that’s gone against us. 


In all fairness it’s probably two points dropped, but after going a goal down I would have taken a draw. The returns of Ki and Montero are both huge boosts for us, while the introduction of Cork and a home debut for Naughton mean our squad is growing stronger.

A midweek game against West Brom will most likely see Monk switch things up a little, with Ki likely to be rested. If fit I’d imagine Leon Britton will be brought back into the squad, while I wouldn’t mind seeing a combination of Cork and Carroll. 

Overall I can’t say I’m too disappointed with how things went on Saturday, and we’re now just six points away from that forty-point mark, though with the quality we have in our squad and some of the performances we have put in, I don’t think avoiding relegation is first on Monk’s ‘to-do list’!

Thanks to Josh as usual - follow him on Twitter @JoshKilmister. Agree with his ratings? Disagree? Get in touch using the comment section below!