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Swansea City hand Clarke reality check

Thursday, 29 November 2012 - 11:39am IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph
Three first-half goals brought West Bromwich Albion down to earth with an almighty bump last night. Swansea were good value for their fifth Premier League win of the season as Albion slipped to their first league defeat in five games.

Three first-half goals brought West Bromwich Albion down to earth with an almighty bump last night. Swansea were good value for their fifth Premier League win of the season as Albion slipped to their first league defeat in five games.

A Miguel Michu effort and a brace of goals from Wayne Routledge put Michael Laudrup's side in control in a first half in which Albion did at least snatch a lifeline courtesy of Romelu Lukaku's stoppage-time volley. But it was not to be for Steve Clarke's side despite a second-half salvo.

Coming into the game, Albion had not conceded a goal in the opening half an hour of any league match this season. On this occasion, they were two goals down within a dozen minutes as Swansea did what they failed to do against Liverpool on Sunday.

Having struck an upright two minutes earlier, Michu collected his eighth league goal of the season after full back Ben Davies had volleyed Nathan Dyer's back-post cross into the path of the Spaniard.

Two minutes later Swansea were two goals to the good. Pablo Hernandez teased the Albion back four into submission before delivering the perfect cross for Routledge. The midfielder miscued from three yards at the first attempt, but connected with Jonas Olsson's clearance to put Swansea in total control.

As Swansea went through the gears, so Albion found themselves back-pedalling at a rate of knots. Ki Sung-yueng blasted wide from 25 yards after an intricate passing move and Hernandez wasted a free-kick chance when Routledge was hauled down by Liam Ridgewell. Swansea added a further goal seven minutes before half time. Davies, who was left in acres of space on the left, picked out Routledge at the far post and the midfielder beat Boaz Myhill via the goalkeeper's body.

Lukaku volleyed home a first-half consolation in the final minute after Swansea failed to clear Chris Brunt's corner and they might have clawed back a second goal two minutes after the interval when Gareth McAuley's long ball out of defence caught Swansea napping.

Unfortunately for Albion, Lukaku scuffed his shot and the danger passed. Still, with the visitors having sent Peter Odemwingie up front to partner Lukaku, suddenly the visitors resembled the side that have made such an impressive start to the -season.

Laudrup's demeanour suggested that the Dane was far from happy with the manner in which Swansea had struggled to gain a foothold in a second half that was played in the same half of the ground that the first had been.

That said, with Michu in such good form, the home side always looked capable of adding a fourth. It almost came with 20 minutes to go when Leon Britton picked out Swansea's leading scorer with the most sublime of centres. This time, however, Michu sent his header high and wide and Albion were off the hook.

The introduction of substitute Luke Moore provided Swansea with a much needed pair of fresh legs and though Albion continued to push, there was no way back on this -occasion.

The Daily Telegraph

Swansea (4-5-1): Tremmel; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Hernandez (De Guzman 75), Britton, Ki, Dyer (Moore 64), Routledge; Michu (Agustien 85). Subs: Cornell, Monk, Tiendalli Shechter.

West Brom: (4-4-2) Myhill; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Morrison, Jacob, Mulumbu, Brunt; Lukaku, Odemwingie.

Subs: Popov, Rosenberg, Long, Dorrans, Daniels, Tamas, Fortune. Booked: McAuley, Brunt, Olsson, Jones.

Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).

 




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