The Premier League had one of its occasional sets of midweek matches yesterday and the day before. Swansea did not fare well in yesterday’s game. My campus ministry meeting hit squarely in the middle of the match, so I had to take in the replay online after I got home last night.
The announcers kept praising the Swans, at least until the 60th minute when they fell behind. They kept harping on defending the set pieces new WBA manager Tony Pulis is so good at developing. But honestly, as the 0-0 game wore on, I feared a defensive lapse I just knew was coming. The game did not have a good look to me.
Without the man they sold for a £16 million profit a few weeks ago, they looked punchless. Manager Garry Monk spread the blame wider:
We were very poor, we had no tempo to our game. We made them look an amazing side, that’s how poor they were. But credit to West Brom, they got their two goals and deserved their win.
We can’t approach a Premier League game with this type of intensity and tempo and expect to get anything out of it. We huffed and puffed without creating anything. We lacked in all areas today.
Since the Swans are out of all other competitions this season, they have a week and a half to figure out tempo, intensity, and just who’s going to score goals for them. They sit ninth now, but they are definitely sinking if things don’t change.
One of my parishioners asked me why I root for the Swans, and I struggled to think back to when that started. Premier League became a regular Saturday morning fixture on my cable channel 73 a year-and-a-half ago. The young miss and I enjoyed many men’s and women’s world cups over the years, but she dropped off from watching sports at 7am local time.
I noted the commentary about two teams from Wales for the first time, and I recalled, of course, how Cardiff featured in Doctor Who, so I figured if one of my favorite teams (from watching PBS in the 70’s) was nowhere to be found in the top flight of English football, the Doctor was as good a link as any. And I wasn’t going to root for any of the super-wealthy clubs.
Pretty soon, I found the two Wales teams embroiled in soap operas in their management. Not unlike the various sad sack American sports teams I’ve followed over the years–Bills, Royals, and my hometown’s two football teams (here and here).
And I actually got to see the Swans play (and lose), though in a fixture that meant quite a bit more to the host team.