Powerful display by Sigurdsson exposes fault lines that run through Blackburn
Swansea City 3 Blackburn Rovers 0
the liberty stadium
Sunday 15 April 2012
The season encapsulated for two teams in one match. Swansea play football that is a credit to the Premier League, Blackburn don't and won't be missed when, as seems inevitable after five successive defeats, they go down.
To put it in an even more damning way, the Welsh team play with pride and spirit while Rovers are thoroughly demoralised, strangers to the work ethic who can hardly be said to be fighting tooth and nail to avoid relegation.
Blackburn's attitude was personified by Gaël Givet, their transfer-seeking defender who, told by Steve Kean that he was needed, replied that he was "not in the right frame of mind" to play.
Rovers' tiny contingent of travelling supporters were left looking to apportion blame. They chorused "You don't know what you're doing" when Kean substituted his leading scorer, Yakubu, who scored four in the corresponding fixture at Ewood Park, for the blunt instrument that is David Goodwillie (two goals all season). In fact Yakubu had tendinitis in the knee. Grant Hanley and Junior Hoilett were also worrying casualties.
Swansea had the match won before half-time, by which stage they were two goals to the good, through Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nathan Dyer. Sigurdsson, an Icelandic midfielder who is on loan from Hoffenheim, has scored seven times in 14 appearances, but this was his first goal at the Liberty Stadium. Brendan Rodgers wants to sign him on a permanent basis, but admits no price has been agreed with the German club. The Swans' manager said: "He's a top young talent and there will be other clubs fancying him in the summer. He loves being here, but he's still got two years left on his contract at Hoffenheim and they may want to take him back."
Rodgers had threatened changes after the surrender to QPR in midweek, but contented himself with one, starting Dyer in place of Wayne Routledge. He said: "We had a team meeting on Thursday because I wanted to take the anxiousness out of their play. Our football is based on confidence, and I wanted to re-focus the players on how good they have been this season."
Kean sought security in a 4-5-1 formation, but his team were beaten as soon as the first goal went in. Swansea had a decent case for a penalty midway through the first half when Sigurdsson, moving on to Angel Rangel's cross, was flattened from behind by Morten Gamst Pedersen. The Icelander was a potent force throughout and after 36 minutes he set his sights with a resounding drive from out on the right which Paul Robinson was happy to parry. Barely a minute later Sigurdsson received a crossfield pass from Joe Allen and this time he took a touch before shooting across Robinson and into the far corner.
Six minutes later it was 2-0 and that was that. The Swans' preoccupation with their short passing game seemed likely to betray them when they shuffled the ball from left to right via Neil Taylor, Scott Sinclair and Danny Graham, but finally Dyer accepted responsibility, his shot sliced just inside Robinson's left-hand post.
In the second half Rovers appeared to have run up the white flag, and the third goal bordered on the disgraceful. Sinclair beat three men with ridiculous ease before finding Sigurdsson, whose close-range shot hit Robinson's right-hand post. The rebound struck Scott Dann and went in for an own-goal
David Dunn rattled the frame of Michel Vorm' goal, but at 3-0 the attempt was an irrelevance. Swansea continued to create chances and would not have been unduly flattered by a five-goal margin. Rovers, with Chelsea and Tottenham still to play, are destined for the Championship.
Swansea City (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Rangel (Monk, 89), Caulker, Williams, Taylor; Britton (Gower, 70), Allen; Dyer, Sigurdsson, Sinclair; Graham (Lita, 85).
Blackburn Rovers (4-5-1): Robinson; Orr, Dann, Hanley (Formica, h-t), Lowe; Hoilett (Modeste, 55), Pedersen, Dunn, Nzonzi, Marcus Olsson; Yakubu (Goodwillie, 61).
Referee Mark Clattenburg.
Man of the match Sigurdsson (Swansea).
Match rating 7/10.
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