Swansea City v Bolton Wanderers – Match Preview

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers will be demanding his side remain focused for 90 minutes against Bolton at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday after they squandered a 2-0 lead at Wolves last week.

The Swans were seemingly home and dry after goals from Danny Graham and Joe Allen put them two up at Molineux only to see their lead slip as Wanderers scored twice late on to deny them a first away win of the season. Still it was their first point on the road and Rodgers will be happy with his sides performance despite their late surrender. Their passing mentality and penchant to probe is clearly working in their favour as they continue to perform above expectations averaging more passes than Manchester United with 513 per game. They’ve yet to lose at the Liberty Stadium since promotion and are yet to concede goal during that run. Everyone always says strong home form is the key to avoiding relegation and if Swansea can maintain their current run on home soil then they stand a good chance of being a Premier League team next season. One of the main positives in the past few weeks is that record signing Graham has finally found his shooting boots scoring three in as many games. He’ll be confident of increasing that tally against a beleaguered Bolton defence that has conceded a record 24 goals already this season.

It’s certainly been a testing season so far for the Trotters with thoughts of relegation creeping into the minds of supporters after seven defeats from nine and only two wins. Their victory away at Wigan two weeks ago was their first since the opening day but they fell back into old habits last Saturday losing 2-0 at home to Sunderland. In stark contrast to Swansea’s form on home soil Owen Coyle’s side can’t seem to buy a win at the Reebok Stadium with both of their victories coming on the road. It’s all a far cry from this time last year when they sat in eight place with fans daring to dream of European nights at the Reebok once again. Things have gone downhill since their FA Cup semi-final hammering at the hands of Stoke back in May. Coyle has failed to arrest the slide and their trip to Wales is unlikely to help with the Swans extremely hard to beat at the Liberty Stadium. However the history books do favour an away win in this fixture with Bolton unbeaten in their last nine meetings with Swansea last tasting victory 21 years ago. This will be the first time the pair have faced each other in the top flight and the Trotter faithful will be eager to see their side continue their good run the Welsh side and get their season up and running. They will have a small slither of insider knowledge which could work to their advantage as midfielder Darren Pratley left the Swans to sign for Bolton in the summer having spent five years at the club.

Key Players

Joe Allen – Whilst the likes of Scott Sinclair and Graham might take the plaudits it’s Allen who is making Swansea tick as of late. The Welshman has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and his endless reserves of energy in central midfield and willingness to run his socks off have made him a key figure in Rodgers’ side. Bolton will do well to handle his powerful but intelligent running.

Gary Cahill – It’s been an odd season for the England defender who has failed to reach the heights of previous campaigns. Whilst he may just be a victim of his sides collective slump he’ll need to pick up quickly if he is to keep his place in Fabio Capello’s England squad prior to Euro 2012. Has a massive job on halting the Swan’s front line of Graham, Sinclair and Nathan Dyer.

  • Joe Allen received praise from team mate Ashley Williams after scoring his first goal in the Barclays Premier League last weekend. Allen also covered more ground than any other Swansea player with 12.095km
  • Scott Sinclair has been looking good with the ball at his feet for Swansea, and has completed more successful dribbles than any other player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 49, 15 more than the next ranked dribbler, Manchester United super star Luis Nani
  • Bolton covered 99.238km in that game compared to Sunderland’s 106.959km, with Darren Pratley covering more ground than any other Bolton player in three out of his four starts this season.
  • Ivan Klasnic remains Bolton’s top ranked player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index despite his early run of goals drying up. Klasnic has had ten attempts on target this season, 100% of all shots attempted, thought the striker hasn’t managed an attempt at goal in his last three appearances