Jamie Paterson’s return to first-team action on Saturday evening coincided with Swansea City’s return to winning ways as he curled in a wonderful cross towards the far post for Obafemi to head home the vital winner.
It was a very much-needed three points for Russell Martin’s side who have failed in recent weeks to take advantage of their games in hand over their close rivals following covid-related postponements.
The Swansea boss’ starting eleven selections had many supporters scratching their heads an hour before kick-off. He went with an attacking line-up, sacrificing a holding midfielder for an extra striker. Downes moved into the middle of a back three, Grimes was the single pivot behind Paterson left and Ntcham right as attackers behind the striker duo of Piroe and Obafemi. Hannes Wolf and Cyrus Christie started as wing-backs.
— Vital Swansea (@VitalSwansea) February 5, 2022
The visitors started off the brighter side but it was the Swans who opened the scoring after 16 minutes when Jamie Paterson picked out Obafemi at the far post with a superb diagonal cross from the left inside channel. You can watch the goal below:
🎶 So come on Obafemi… 🎶 pic.twitter.com/0q1phTvXnu
— The Swan (@TheSwanPortal) February 5, 2022
Jamie Paterson, doing what he does best, cutting inside from the left before creating an excellent goalscoring chance.
The EFL on Quest pundits reacted to ‘magician’ Paterson’s return in the video below and he really did bring ‘the x-factor’ that we’ve been sorely missing.
— Quest (@QuestTV) February 5, 2022
The 30-year-old then went for goal himself but his first-time attempt from a squared pass was fired well over the bar.
Blackburn Rovers really should have got the scores level 10 minutes later when Lenihan headed a set-piece cross onto the post, the follow-up shot was another superb chance but fortunately, Buckley’s shot from inside the box was high and wide of the target.
Ryan Manning’s second yellow card just 7 minutes after the restart saw the game swing in Rovers’ favour forcing the Swans to move away from their possession-based football and to switch to a more conservative approach. We had to sit deep, dig in and defend our slim lead as Mowbray’s side threw the kitchen sink at us. 13 corners to our zero and 49 crosses during the game but they still couldn’t find a way through.
Immediately after Manning’s dismissal, Martin was forced into a change, replacing Obafemi for defender Ryan Bennett. It seemed like an odd change as without Obafemi we lacked any outball, clearances went straight back to the opposition and when we did manage to win the ball back we had nobody to aim for and Rovers were soon on the attack once again.
A few minutes later, Ntcham went off for Korey Smith as Russell made his second change. A more understandable switch, this one, as Ntcham was just too slow to cope with Rovers’ superior speed and movement in attack.
With around 20 minutes remaining, Martin’s final change was another defensive one as he looked to hold on and defend the lead as Piroe made way for Latibeaudiere’s arrival.
It was backs to the wall by this point. Rovers were relentless in their attacks but proved to be rather one-dimensional. It was cross after cross as the numbers showed. 49 in total. Ryan Giles showed off his superb crossing ability from the left flank, constantly curling in balls in behind our defensive line but his teammates weren’t able to make good use of them.
It was far from Swansea’s best display of the season. Our attempts to play out from the back got us into trouble far too often but Blackburn failed to take advantage of their high turnovers. Risks were taken, passes were misplaced and by the end of the first half, we could probably count ourselves lucky to still be in the lead.
But at the end of the day, we’ve dug in and won the game. It was a huge relief at the final whistle and it’s a clean sheet too. The three points see us go up to 16th place with two games in hand over the two teams below us.
Next up is a trip to Stoke City on Tuesday. The Potters have fallen down to 14th after looking like play-off challengers earlier in the season.