On Sunday afternoon Swansea City defeated bitter rivals Cardiff City 1 – 0 via a Ben Wilmot header in the first half. But what was learned from the contest at the Liberty Stadium?
1. BEN WILMOT STEPPED UP TO THE MARK
On his first Championship start for the club a lot of Swansea fans questioned whether this was the match for him to fill the shoes of Joe Rodon, missing through injury, but it didn’t take long for him to look the part. Looking constantly assured at the back throughout the match Wilmot seamlessly slotted in alongside centre-half partner Mike van der Hoorn and bagged himself the winning goal after 24 minutes with a controlled header past Neil Etheridge in the Cardiff net. A very good afternoon for the 19-year-old.
2. CARDIFF’S TROUBLES ON THE ROAD CONTINUE
Still searching for their first league win away from the Cardiff City Stadium this season, the Bluebirds looked like a team devoid of any creativity, registering half as many shots throughout the match as Swansea did. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was relatively ineffective on the wing, as were the strike partnership of Robert Glatzel and Danny Ward. Compared to the dynamic Swansea front three, it is clear Neil Warnock needs to change something ahead of his side’s next fixture against Birmingham City.
3. SWANSEA’S WINGERS ARE TIMELESS
Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer have been at the club for seemingly forever (a combined 19 seasons between them) and they were at their best today, have the beating of Cardiff full-backs Lee Peltier and Joe Bennett time and time again. Routledge provided a perfect cross to assist Wilmot’s goal with Dyer constantly demonstrating his pace and trickery until he was subbed off, receiving a standing ovation from all the home supporters. They may not be the youngest pair of wingers in the division but they still have the same quality now, as when they played in the Premier League for the Swans for so long.
4. IS IT TIME FOR NEIL WARNOCK TO RETIRE?
He had said that leading Cardiff City in the Premier League last season would be has last ever season in management, but then revoked that statement to say this season will his final one. After the Bluebirds’ 3 – 0 loss to Reading back in August, Warnock considered walking away from the job but carried on for at least a few months longer. However, today’s result might finally spell the end for the veteran manager as the supporters have seemingly turned against him believing it is time for a change. His Cardiff team simply weren’t competitive enough today and if you can’t motivate your players for a local derby then that may well be the signal to the board that it is time for a change.
5. STEVE COOPER HAS GOT THE SWANS LOOKING LIKE REAL PROMOTION CONTENDERS
Swansea City moved up to 4th in the Championship today, putting the pressure on West Brom, Preston and Leeds above. Every Swansea player on that pitch today won their individual battles, outclassing all of their opposite numbers. The two wingers have already been highlighted but Andre Ayew led the line exceptionally well in an unfamiliar position for him, with Swans’ strikers Borja Baston and Sam Surridge watching on from the bench, this looks to have been a tactical masterstroke of sorts from Cooper. The former England U17 manager has created an exciting, attacking side, carrying over from the brand of football that Graham Potter got the Swans playing before he departed, and although there have been blips in form, such as the 3 – 0 defeat to Brentford five days ago, but overall if they keep this form up over the course of whole season there is a high chance they will find themselves playing Premier League football next season.
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featured image credit swanseacity.com