Swansea’s 100% record in the Premier League season will be put to the test as they host Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon.
The home team have exceeded all expectations with a maximum six points notched up after their opening two games against QPR and West Ham but today’s fixture could be a trickier task for Michael Laudrup’s team.
Whilst it’s early days for Swansea, the more direct style that has been introduced by the Dane is showing some real promise. Eight goals scored already far surpasses Swansea’s record this time last season where not a single goal was scored after their first four outings.
Sunderland will be well rested after their game against Reading was called off last week due to a waterlogged pitch however new signings Adam Johnson, Steven Fletcher and Louis Saha were given some game time together in their 2-0 victory over Morecambe in the week.
The meeting between the two teams last season resulted in a 0-0 draw but with the Swans hitting the back of the net with aplomb in recent times plus the attacking threat of Sunderland’s new signings, I would be very surprised if the same result occurred today.
Swansea’s new record signing Pablo Hernandez will not be available due to signing a little too late on deadline day yesterday however Ki Sung-Yeung could make his Premier League debut. On-loan striker Itay Shechter could also feature after receiving international clearance.
Wayne Routledge and Chico Flores will both face late fitness tests for the Swans but are expected to be in the starting XI.
For Sunderland, Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher should get their Premier League debuts with fellow new signings Louis Saha and Danny Rose expecting to feature from the bench.
Defensive duo Wes Brown (knee) and Phil Bardsley (ankle) are both sidelined with Jack Colback and Craig Gardner expecting to fill the gaps at the back in makeshift positions.
David Vaughan will also be unavailable due to a groin injury.
Swansea (from): Vorm (GK), Bartley, Taylor, Chico, Tate, Williams, Britton, Michu, Graham, Dyer, Cornell, Routledge, Monk, Lita, Moore, de Guzman, Rangel, Situ, Ki, Tremmel (GK), Gower, Obeng, Richards, Davies, Proctor
Expected line-up: (4-3-3): Vorm; Taylor, Bartley, Williams, Rangel; de Guzman, Britton, Michu; Routledge, Dyer, Graham
Sunderland (from): Mignolet (GK), Rose, Kilgallon, O’Shea, Bramble, Cuellar, Cattermole, Larsson, Gardner, Colback, Meyler, Johnson, McClean, Sessegnon, Campbell, Wickham, Ji, Saha, Fletcher, Westwood (GK)
Expected line-up: (4-3-3): Mignolet; Colback, O’Shea, Cuellar, Gardner; McClean, Cattermole, Larsson; Sessegnon, Fletcher, Johnson
Italics indicate doubtful.
Prediction: 2 – 2 – Sunderland will prove to be much tougher opposition than QPR and West Ham for the Swans and Steven Fletcher could threaten the Swansea defense with his aerial ability but a draw looks like the most likely outcome.
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