Swansea City aren’t making life any easier for themselves in their bid for survival after suffering yet another Premier League defeat at AFC Bournemouth.
The Swans are still looking for their first top-flight victory against Bournemouth, and they might not get a chance to do so next year after throwing away a 5-point gap from the bottom three as our winless run is extended to 8 games.
Still, only 2 goals scored in those 8 games is another big concern for head coach Carlos Carvalhal, who yet again refused to move away from his preferred back 5 formation in favour of a more attacking system.
Maybe if he switched to a back four and be a bit more ambitious with his tactics, that stat wouldn’t sound so bleak, but a failure to score and a failure to win is the worst combination you want when fighting relegation.
Fans are getting so tired now of this repeated defensive setup. The team line-ups were announced at 2 pm and the alarm bells were ringing, simply because of Carvalhal’s decision to adopt a back five and also his inclusion of Ki and Carroll as a central midfield partnership.
Clucas, Narsingh, Abraham and Sanches all on the bench. Can't help but feel we could struggle in midfield today.
— Vital Swansea (@VitalSwansea) May 5, 2018
Carvalhal had spoken before about putting “all the meat on the barbeque”, but the barbeque was pretty bare to begin with here at the Vitality Stadium.
There was a severe lack of attacking creativity on display. Both Ki and Carroll, unfortunately, made our pre-match concerns a reality from within the first few minutes, as Bournemouth got off to a quick start as they looked to please their fans in their final home game of the season.
Federico Fernandez was back after injury and he was by far our strongest and most reliable defender on the day. Alfie Mawson hardly looked like the £40m player that Spurs and Manchester United are apparently interested in. He struggled against Wilson and King and it was no surprise to see him booked in the second half. He clattered into Wilson just outside his own penalty area, conceding the free-kick that saw the hosts score the only goal of the game.
It was a well-worked set piece, although a simple and straight-forward one as the Swans were simply trying to guess which of the two players standing over the ball would take aim straight at goal.
Instead, Surman simply squared it across and Ryan Fraser curled in a shot through a crowd of players and past Fabianski. The goalkeeper had a tough task in stopping it as he probably didn’t see it until late plus it looked like it took a slight deflection off Mawson, to add insult to injury.
The Swans then had their big chance to equalise before halftime as Begovic was called into action twice in close succession. Jordan Ayew also wasted a great chance after his brother Andre helped the ball through into his path, but he scuffed a left-footed shot wide of the target from close range.
After a less-than-encouraging first-half display from the Swans in what was dubbed one of three “cup finals”, we all hoped for a massive improvement after the restart as well as at least one personnel change.
A formation change was always going to be too much of an ask from Carvalhal at this early stage, but we did have to wait until the hour mark for our first substitution.
Tammy Abraham came on in place of Nathan Dyer, who had offered very little. He played through the middle, moving Andre Ayew to the right flank.
Jordan Ayew’s effort from about 18 yards within 30 seconds of the restart was our only shot on target in the second half, as Bournemouth’s lead never looked in danger, no thanks to Swansea’s toothless display in the final third.
It has to be said, our build-up was similar to that when Paul Clement was in charge. A lack of ideas and no creativity of ideas to get through a rigid Bournemouth defence, who were desperate to end an 11-game run without a clean sheet.
The ball was either being played out wide to the full-backs, who were without support or simply hit long to the front 3. Bournemouth crowded us out and were often able to regain possession rather easily.
Our second and third subs came in the 72nd and 78th minutes respectively. King replaced van der Hoorn firstly, as we finally switched to a back four before Ki made way for Narsingh.
It made little difference though, as our frustrating habits were still on show. Bournemouth missed a chance to make it 2-0 when Fabianski made a superb save after a low cross came over from the left, but Wilson’s shot forced a super save from the goalkeeper.
A bitterly disappointing outing at the Vitality Stadium. Branded as a huge game, we all knew how important it was. Stoke’s relegation was confirmed in their early defeat against Crystal Palace and it was an opportunity to relieve some of the pressure before our two crucial home games.
Southampton drew 1-1 at Everton which means us and the Saints, who we play at home on Tuesday night, are level on 33 points, split only on goal difference.