Bournemouth v Swansea preview: Swans ready to complete survival mission, says Carlos Carvalhal
Last Updated: 05/05/18 3:05pm
Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal is grateful for a kinder run of fixtures as he attempts to secure the club's Premier League survival against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Swansea's six-game winless streak has put them back in real danger of relegation, just as they looked like clawing themselves to safety after the stunning impact Carvalhal made following his arrival at the end of 2017.
As well as draws against Huddersfield, Everton and West Brom, Swansea have lost to Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea in that sequence - and Carvalhal suggested it was "normal" to lose those games against those clubs chasing a top-four finish.
But the Portuguese insists Swansea are now ready to complete their survival mission ahead of Saturday afternoon's trip to Bournemouth and final home games against relegation rivals Southampton and Stoke.
"The teams we lose against - United, City and Chelsea - are the strongest teams of the competition," Carvalhal said.
"If the calendar puts us against the strongest teams in this path it is normal that we don't win these last games.
"But the performance against Chelsea [Swansea lost 1-0 at home last weekend] showed we are here to compete and play face to face against all opponents.
"In theory the calendar is positive now, but in the practice you have to play games and I don't believe in easy games in the Premier League."
Meanwhile, Eddie Howe has admitted he is "frustrated" with his side's poor end to the season ahead of Swansea's visit to the Vitality.
Bournemouth - who have won just once in their last 10 games, beating West Brom 2-1 in March - are currently 12th in the league, but finished three places higher at the end of the last campaign.
A win against Swansea would move Bournemouth level on points with Newcastle in 10th and Howe has challenged his team to end the season with a "red hot" performance.
"My aim was to improve on last year to grow the team again to hit new levels, new standards of performance," he said.
"I think this last part of the season has been hugely frustrating for me because I know we're capable of so much better, but it is what it is. We're in the position that we're in and we need to make sure we end the season at home on a real high.
"The expectation from me to the players is to create a great atmosphere and put on a real performance."
Bournemouth will again be without defender Adam Smith and midfielder Harry Arter. Full-back Smith remains sidelined with a knee problem, while Republic of Ireland international Arter has an Achilles injury.
Defender Tyrone Mings has stepped up his rehabilitation from a long-standing back problem and was an unused substitute at Southampton last weekend. Midfielder Junior Stanislas will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
As for the Swans, Federico Fernandez returns after hurting his knee in the 5-0 thrashing at City and missing last weekend's defeat to Chelsea.
Luciano Narsingh (ankle) and loan signing Tammy Abraham - who was ineligible to play against parent club Chelsea - are also available, although Kyle Bartley is out and set to miss the remainder of the season with knee ligament damage.
Bournemouth are unbeaten in their five Premier League meetings with Swansea (W3 D2), keeping a clean sheet in each of the last three (W2 D1).
The Cherries have only faced Leicester (6) more often without defeat in the Premier League than they have Swansea (5).
After a run of just two defeats in 14 games, Bournemouth have lost each of their last three in the Premier League. They've not lost four in a row since their opening four of this season.
Howe's side are on the longest current run without a Premier League clean sheet, conceding at least once in each of their last 11 games.
Swansea are winless in six Premier League games (D3 L3), failing to score on four occasions in that run.
Away from home, Swansea have won just one of their last 16 Premier League games (D5 L10), including a 1-4 loss on their last visit to the South Coast (vs Brighton in February).
Bournemouth have kept just two clean sheets at home in the Premier League this season - only three clubs have ever kept fewer across an entire Premier League campaign (Sunderland 2005-06, Blackpool 2010-11 and Wigan 2012-13 all kept one).
Eddie Howe was saying he wants to finish well and this is a Bournemouth side which are at their best when they're free-flowing.
The pressure is off and Jermain Defoe is back in the goals so I can see him putting Swansea right back in trouble.
Charlie predicts: 2-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)