Cool Sigurdsson keeps Swansea blazing away
West Bromwich Albion 1 Swansea City 2
Sunday 05 February 2012
What new horizons might open up for Swansea City now they are also getting the hang of winning away? On an increasingly treacherous surface they produced another polished performance that lifted them to 30 points and mid-table security.
Appropriately enough during an afternoon-long snowstorm, it was a case of the Iceman cometh. Gylfi Sigurdsson, the midfielder Brendan Rodgers took on loan from Hoffenheim in January, scored one goal, made the other and even popped up with a goal-line clearance.
Beyond his contribution to a frenzied spell of three goals in six minutes early in the second half, the 22-year-old Icelander was the contest's most impressive force. The six-footer has added presence and stature to the silky possession game with which Swansea have endeared themselves to the top flight.
"Gylfi has fitted in perfectly," Rodgers said. "He was a wonderful talent and personality when he was with me at Reading and I stayed in contact with him. As a team, we have come and displayed a lot of what's good about our game."
No sooner had Marc-Antoine Fortuné controlled with his right foot and drilled home with his left to break an uneventful deadlock than Swansea turned their promise into goals. The equaliser came barely 60 seconds later as Sigurdsson checked his stride to stab home Neil Taylor's pull-back at the end of an incisive move. He then provided the excellent right-wing cross that Danny Graham slid in for the 59th-minute decider.
After waiting half a season for a League away victory, Swansea now have two in just over a month, plus an FA Cup success at Barnsley. Albion,by contrast, have lost nine times here in all competitions.
Apart from shaking the snow out of their hair, neither keeper had been greatly occupied in a first half during which any goalscoring threat was largely confined to set-pieces. After Angel Rangel had seen a decent chance blocked by Jonas Olsson, Sigurdsson curled a free-kick wide from 22 yards and Graham turned Gareth McAuley superbly to set himself up for a clear shot that disappeared high and wide.
Albion replied with a posse of corners. Following one, taken on the right by Nicky Shorey, Ashley Williams went unpunished when bizarrely leading with his fist into an aerial challenge. A cluster of Albion players were left appealing, justifiably it seemed, for handball as McAuley's rushed header bounced wide.
Taylor cleared brilliantly from Olsson's header after Graham Dorrans's inswinging kick from the other flank, and Sigurdsson nodded routinely off the line when Fortuné helped another Dorrans corner goalwards.
Almost inevitably, Albion's breakthrough came from this route, Dorrans's 54th-minute delivery from the left being flicked on by Olsson for Fortuné to score his first Premier League goal in more than a year. In the late onslaught, a Fortuné shot squirmed wide off Michel Vorm, then Peter Odemwingie scooped over from seven yards following Dorrans's miscued shot.
West Bromwich (4-4-2): Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey; Mulumbu (Scharner, 63), Thomas (Tchoyi, 71), Morrison, Dorrans (Cox, 71); Fortuné, Odemwingie.
Swansea (4-3-3): Vorm; Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor; Britton, Allen, Sigurdsson; Dyer (Routledge, 87), Graham, Sinclair.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.
Man of the match: Sigurdsson (Swansea)
Match rating: 7/10
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