Same old Swansea
As part of our new Premier League Snap-shots feature, Peter O'Rourke examines Swansea's win over West Ham
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me: @skysportspeteo
Last Updated: 25/08/12 8:16pm
Michael Laudrup celebrated his first home game in charge of Swansea with victory over West Ham as they continued life without Brendan Rodgers in style.
Fresh from scoring five goals in their opening day victory against QPR the Swans were again goal hungry, punishing some elementary mistakes from West Ham.
Laudrup stuck with the same starting XI that performed so well at Loftus Road. Scott Sinclair was a notable absentee from the matchday squad with the winger strongly linked with a move to Manchester City and it appears his switch to the Etihad is imminent.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce handed a debut to club record signing Matt Jarvis after he completed his switch to Upton Park from Wolves on Friday. It meant Ricardo Vaz Te had to settle for a place on the bench with Jarvis and Nolan supporting Carlton Cole in attack. James Tomkins was drafted into the side to bolster West Ham's midfield and was given the job of tracking Michu.
Laudrup stuck with the 4-3-3 formation which Brendan Rodgers used last season with Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge providing the pace from the wings. The formation allowed full-backs Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor to pour forward and the home side were rewarded when Rangel got in down the right to give Swansea the lead after 20 minutes. Michu is allowed to roam around the pitch and the Spaniard was again an impressive performer for the Swansea, but it was Dyer who took the man of the match honours.
Allardyce also employed a 4-3-3 formation to match up Swansea, but unfortunately for the visitors they were unable to impose themselves on the home side. Carlton Cole found himself isolated in attack with Kevin Nolan having a rare off day for the Hammers. West Ham struggled to cope with Swansea's pressing with Tomkins unable to keep Michu quiet. Jarvis started brightly for West Ham and was denied a goal by a fine save by Michel Vorm, but with Swansea dominating possession he was starved of the chance to take on his full-back
Young defender Ben Davies was handed his debut for Swansea with a late cameo as he came on for Taylor at left-back. Luke Moore took the place of Routledge but did not have much time to impress. Kemy Agustien came on for Jonathan De Guzman and comfortably slotted into the midfield and got involved in the action, probing for spaces in the West Ham defence.
Ricardo Vaz Te was introduced at the break for Tomkins as Allardyce reverted to a 4-4-2 formation as he looked to try and offer support to Cole. Vaz Te added some creativity and threat, but he was unable to find a way past a stubborn Swansea defence. Modibo Maiga came on for Cole just past the hour mark, but the summer signing had no impact and never created an opening. Alou Diarra replaced Diame in midfield for the final 20 minutes, but he could not stop the domination of the home side's midfield.
Laudrup is likely to move for a new attacking midfielder with Scott Sinclair likely to make the move to Manchester City. Sinclair missed the win over West Ham, but the Englishman was not missed as Dyer and Routledge were in fine form for the home side. Laudrup is thought to be interested in Blackpool's Tom Ince and Valencia's Pablo Hernandez and they would both add to his attacking options. Swansea might not have a great deal of strength in depth and he may look to bring in another defender to provide cover for Ashley Williams and Chico Flores. Record signing Ki Sung-Yueng was in the crowd after completing his move from Celtic and he will help fill the void left by Joe Allen's departure.
Allardyce has been busy in the transfer market and he finally landed one of his top targets when he managed to lure Jarvis away from Wolves. The West Ham boss has not hidden his desire to bring in a new striker and it remains to be seen if he will make a late move to try and sign long-term target Andy Carroll from Liverpool before the transfer window slams shut next Friday. Full-back might be an area Allardyce may need to strengthen with the club short of cover for George McCartney at left-back.
Martin Atkinson had a quiet day of the office with no controversial incidents to deal with. The official dealt out two yellow cards to the home side and four to West Ham. The Bradford official will hardly have an easier game to control all season than this stroll in the park for Swansea.
It looks like Swansea have just carried on where they left off under Brendan Rodgers with their free-flowing style of football. Laudrup could not have asked for a better start in charge of Swansea with two wins, eight goals and none conceded. Bigger tests lie ahead for the Swans, but these two opening wins will give the squad a lot of confidence for the first few months of the campaign.
West Ham's away day woes came back to haunt them again in their first Premier League game on the road this term. Prior to the game the Hammers had kept just one clean sheet in 27 away games in the Premier League and that form played a key part in their relegation two seasons ago. Individual mistakes were made against Swansea and Allardyce will need to shore up the defence on their travels otherwise it could be a long hard season for the Hammers on their return to the top flight.