Thursday, 12 February 2015

WBA 2-0 Swansea - Player Ratings

Josh Kilmister with his take on how we fared at the Hawthorns

Recent games against the Baggies would tell you that the travelling Swans fans were in for a treat on their trip to Birmingham on Wednesday evening. Unfortunately that certainly wasn’t the case. 64% possession but just three shots on target shows how the lack of composure when you need it most can be a real killer.

Starting XI

Lukasz Fabianski – 7

Fabianski will still be bitterly disappointed that he couldn’t keep a clean sheet on Saturday, but in similar circumstances to that game against Sunderland, he didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of preventing the opposition finding the net. It didn’t take long for him to have an impact on the game, reacting superbly to keep out a Craig Dawson header. He commanded his area well, but will be disappointed that his defence couldn’t help prevent the two goals.

Neil Taylor – 6

I was tempted to give him less just because he might consider himself lucky to have stayed on the field, but Taylor dealt with West Brom’s somewhat direct play very well. Apart from a few suspect tackles, Tayls was reasonably solid at the back while his attacking game seems to be improving by the week. His eighth yellow card of the season won’t be something he will have liked to pick up, especially in the manor he did so.

Ashley Williams – 6

After two consecutive heroic displays, Ash couldn’t prevent his back four crumbling in what will be seen as a poor second half display. Baggies forward Brown Ideye kept the Swans skipper on his toes all evening, and eventually got the better of him as he slotted past a helpless Fabianski. By no means a poor performance, but the result will mean it will be one he’ll be keen to forget.

Federico Fernandez – 6

It was business as usual for the Argentine international, with a few world-class challenges added to a few times caught on the back foot equalling a generally solid performance from Fede. With so much of the game being played in and around the centre of midfield it’s difficult to analyse his performance any more than that, but perhaps he will be disappointed not to do better in terms of attacking corners – but that’s just me being picky.

Kyle Naughton – 6

It definitely looks as though Naughton has been brought in as Rangel’s replacement rather than his back up and, as sad as it is to see Rangel on the bench, there’s no room for sentiment in the Premier League. Despite it being one of his apparent weaknesses, the Englishman looked keen to press up the field while he was solid at the back when called upon.

Ki Sung-Yeung – 6

After the game on Saturday the Korea captain made it clear that he was feeling the effects of the Asia Cup, so having him even in the squad today seems strange to me, especially with Tom Carroll on the bench. To be honest if there was one word to sum up Ki’s performance on Wednesday I think it would be ‘tired’. It’s not that he didn’t look interested – that was far from the case – but he didn’t look like he could physically give what he’d like to. The odd lapse of concentration and a slight lack of urgency meant Ki’s performance was just an average one, but in the circumstances he that might even be taken as a compliment.

Jack Cork – 7 (Man of the match)

As you have probably realised by now, this was a very average team performance and there wasn’t really anyone who stood out to me (especially as I wasn’t one of the Jacks to make the trip!) so Jack Cork seemed a sensible option for man of the match. After a few audacious passes in the first ten minutes, Cork toned it down a bit and it definitely helped his game. His physical presence gave Ki space to work with and, had he not been sleep walking, we might have seen something better from the midfield two.

Jefferson Montero – 7

I had originally given Jeff my man of the match award, but our lack of flare on the attack meant he just lost out (though he probably won’t lose much sleep over it!). Despite us not being up to much in attack, there was only ever one side of the pitch we where we were going to create something and it certainly wasn’t Nathan Dyer who was pulling out the stops. Jeff looked back to his old self and he bamboozled West Brom’s makeshift full back Craig Dawson time and time again, but it wasn’t enough to create any significant opportunities for himself or others.

Jonjo Shelvey – 6

If there’s one positive to come out of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s suspension it’s that we’ve someone to challenge for his place in that ‘10’ role, but that’s not to say Gylfi wont come straight back in next weekend against United. Jonjo has all of the qualities to be an incredible attacking midfielder, but putting all of those qualities to work at once seems to be his biggest problem. Playing behind an out-of-form striker is hard enough for anyone in Jonjo’s role, but at times his lack of composure in and around the penalty are doesn’t help things. Now that we have players better suited to that deeper role, Shelvey might find himself as more of a rotation player than he might want to be.

Nathan Dyer – 6

The first half showed us that the old Nathan Dyer still exists, as he looked sharper than he has in weeks, but even that was only for a few minutes. A real lack of determination in his game is becoming a real worry for a player who was looked at for inclusion in the England squad just a few months ago, and like Rangel, would probably find himself on the bench if we had a suitable backup.

Bafetimbi Gomis – 6

Oh Bafe, it turns out it’s going to take more than an apology and a good luck message to the rugby boys to win us fans over. He worked hard and was more than willing to put himself about, but the chances he did have he will know he should have done better with. As much as I am certain that he will come good, he certainly didn’t do himself any favours today and his performance was poor, but not much worse than others.

Of course, now that our fans have it out for him every mistake he makes will be made twenty times worse, but that’s the reality of modern day football. As far as I’m concerned, we’re still not playing to his strengths and until we do so, he will continue being…well… shit. Playing with Shelvey behind him doesn’t seem to bring the best out of him, so with Gylfi back next week it will be interesting to see if his performances improve.


Wayne Routledge – 6 (for Dyer, 62)

Returning from injury, Routs was brought on to make an impact immediately after West Brom’s first goal. In fairness, he did get himself into a goalscoring position but again, composure let us down and his delayed shot was blocked.

Nelson Oliveira – 6 (for Shelvey, 62)

The Portuguese striker made his usual cameo appearance to switch things up and play two up front, which makes you wonder why this wasn’t done too often while Bony was here. The only real impact he had on the game was getting fouled, and the resulting free-kick was wasted anyway. If Gomis doesn’t score soon then I imagine Oliveira will be given the nod from the off, but I’m not convinced by him – hopefully he wins me over sometime soon.

Referee: Robert Madley – 5.5

Could’ve sent Taylor off for his poor tackle but hey, I’m not complaining. That said McManaman's tackle on Montero should have been a red, and Taylor's clearly had an element of solidarity about it, taking out the man who'd smashed his left-wing buddy. If the referee had acted properly and dismissed McManaman there would have been no chance for that to happen.


Argh, not exactly what we were looking for, was it? As you can see from eight 6/10 ratings, the performance was very, very average. Garry Monk made it clear after the game that we need to be more clinical in front of goal and it certainly doesn’t take a Sky Sports pundit to figure that one out.

With ten days to regroup and prepare for a game against Man United, I’m sure I won’t be the only one with mixed thoughts going into next week. One thing United struggle with is their defence, though if we go out with the same attacking mentality as we did against West Brom I think we’ll be taking a bit of a risk, but our defence on the other hand is brilliant, and hey, Gylfi’s back!

Thanks to Josh as usual - follow him on Twitter @JoshKilmister