There probably isn’t a less suitable time to visit any Premier League club as when they’ve just been beaten by Blackburn Rovers. Swansea’s 4-2 defeat, mostly crafted by the surprisingly astute dexterity from a certain Yakubu Aiyegbeni, was a deflating one at best for the Welsh side, and they will undoubtedly see Saturday’s tie at the Liberty Stadium as an opportunity to set some records straight.
There’s been regular debate about the optimum way of retaining Premier League status following promotion and it is widely considered that playing your way out of the drop zone is one of the less fruitful ones. West Bromwich Albion under Tony Mowbray are perhaps the most pertinent example, but Brendan Rodgers is unlikely to listen to the vast array of scepticism that currently surrounds his South Wales outfit.
The defeat at Ewood Park last week was a bitter blow but attractive and crisp passing play is the example set by Rodgers and he will not be moved. We travel over the Severn with a tough battle for possession on our hands.
Even with the Blackburn result put to one side, Swansea and Rodgers have faced an indifferent couple of months. Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa made up their November fixture list and they did well to come out with two points to their name. It’s been just over a month since their last win, however, and it came against a jittery Bolton Wanderers side.
Fulham appear to be hitting form but, this year at least, Jol’s side have had a habit of destroying momentum. After demolishing QPR 6-0, the Whites lost three on the trot.
However, a professional and seasoned display at the Emirates brought a respectable 1-1 draw at the end of November while a 1-0 win over Liverpool on Monday night did wonders to relieve a covert yet ever-mounting amount of pressure on the shoulders of Martin Jol.
This will be the first ever top-flight meeting between Swansea and Fulham, with the last fixture between the two coming in the bottom tier of league football – the Cottagers being triumphant. While Fulham may have enjoyed the more meteoric rise, we’re both on the same playing field now.
Joe Allan, a popular member of a new-look Wales side, will be suspended for the game, but Wayne Routledge looks set to replace him. Danny Graham returns to full fitness.
Danny Murphy picked up a knock in a commendable performance against his former club in the week, however, the skipper could be ready to start after a quick recovery. Simon Davies has also returned.
Predicted line-up: Schwarzer; Riise, Hangeland, Senderos, Hughes; Dempsey, Murphy, Etuhu, Dembele; Johnson, Zamora
Score prediction: Swansea 1 – 1 Fulham