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7 Reasons To Watch Swansea City Against Wigan Athletic

Photo by Mister Oy

Even though it took 20 years of waiting to see my team Swansea City play its first game in the Premier League, it took only 90 minutes to bring home the realization that England’s top league is really three divisions in one. There’s the mega rich, the also-rans and the clubs battling to avoid relegation.

Of course, I knew this already. It’s one thing to write about it, but it’s something entirely different to feel the pain when your team gets hammered four-nil away on a wet Monday night in Manchester. While I was incredibly proud of Swansea’s performance, sticking true to their principles, I experienced how it must feel for fans of other clubs who have their hopes raised but then see them being dashed with a defeat against a top six side.

The simple reality for me is, as a Swansea supporter, that there’s no way for a team like mine to compete against a club like Manchester City. Hence, the “real” Premier League season starts tomorrow for me when the Swans play at home against Wigan Athletic at the Liberty Stadium. It’s a game that not only offers parity, but it should be a more open and entertaining affair featuring two clubs who are on the “same level playing field.”

For most soccer fans around the world, the fixture between Swansea and Wigan is of little to no interest. But on a weekend where we have the prospect of looking forward to Arsenal against Liverpool, the Tyne-Wear derby between Sunderland and Newcastle, as well as Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Swansea versus Wigan game end ups as being one of the most exciting for these 7 reasons:

  1. The return of Judas. When Swansea City manager Roberto Martinez left the club to join Wigan as manager in the summer of 2009, Swansea fans were incredibly upset especially since we sat on the precipice of bigger and better things under Martinez and, more importantly, Martinez had promised not to leave Swansea unless he was “forced out.” The Spaniard went on his own will but reassured Swansea supporters that he wouldn’t take any players with him to Wigan. Martinez then went against his word and took Swansea players Jason Scotland and Jordi Gomez to the Latics. Not surprisingly, there will be portions of the Swansea crowd on Saturday who will be voicing their disapproval at Martinez. But there will be many, myself included, who will have appreciated everything he did as not only a manager but also as a footballer at the Welsh club.
  2. Home crowd advantage. The atmosphere at Swansea’s ground tomorrow should be intense. It’s the first time a Premier League match has ever been played outside England, and the Welsh crowd will be in full voice. It’s also a great opportunity to hear songs sung at football matches that you typically don’t hear such as Land Of My Father or others.
  3. Attacking football. If you watched the game against Manchester City on Monday, you will have seen some flashes of attacking prowess from Swansea. Most of them were extinguished by Manchester City’s steel wall at the back made up of Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany. However, Swansea will have a chance to break free down the wings and be more attacking with their 4-3-3 formation against Wigan. Expect to see a lot of speed and frenetic ball movement as the Swans hurtle down on Wigan’s goal.
  4. Don’t underestimate Wigan. While the Latics were unable to win against Norwich at home last weekend, the game was an entertaining one to watch with both sides creating plenty of chances. While I would hope that Swansea has enough firepower to beat Wigan, it’s quite possible that this game may end up being a high-scoring match between both sides. Wigan have a leaky defense as we saw on countless occasions last season, but up front we’ve seen Victor Moses and Franco Di Santo begin to mature, while Ben Watson is always a threat (he hit the post last Saturday against Norwich). Hugo Rodallega, meanwhile, is doubtful for tomorrow’s match.
  5. Michel Vorm. The Dutch goalkeeper made his debut for Swansea against City and, despite making 11 saves, Swansea still lost 4-0. Despite that, he was without a doubt Swansea’s player of the match. I’m looking forward to seeing how many points he can win for Swansea this season with his incredible goalkeeping.
  6. Football played on the ground, not in the air. An interesting dynamic on Saturday will be how the two teams play. We know that Swansea will play the ball on the ground for most of the game, starting with Vorm rolling the ball to his defenders and building up the attack that way. But Wigan, despite being considered a team that likes to play a better brand of football than their Premier League rivals near the bottom half of the table, mix it up a bit more. So will Swansea, who play the way that Martinez taught them, teach Wigan a lesson in how football is played? We’ll have to wait and see.
  7. Martinez versus Rodgers. Which manager will end up victorious on Saturday afternoon? It’ll be a true test of the capabilities of both managers. Rodgers inherited Swansea’s style from Paulo Sousa who inherited it from Martinez. But can Rodgers beat Martinez at his own game?

If you’re watching live Premier League games on Saturday, you may want to watch Swansea against Wigan instead of the other two games that are being played at the same time — Aston Villa versus Blackburn Rovers, and Everton against QPR.

For viewers in the United States, Swansea against Wigan will be shown live on at 10am ET on Saturday. If you don’t have a subscription, sign up for the 7-day trial today and watch the game (and many more) for free.

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  1. Swansea Bay Tourism Team

    August 24, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Not only do we support the Swans but we are also looking forward to welcoming all the Away Fans to Swansea and showing them what our area has to offer! Visit our Fans Corner for details!

  2. Phil Sandifer

    August 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Well. It was a nice idea in theory.

    • The Gaffer

      August 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      Phil and others, well did I get this wrong or what? I thought that both teams would be playing with passion. Wigan was limp in the first half. And Swansea really were short of ideas and didn’t create enough chances.

      Swansea were lucky to tie this one 0-0. Wigan should have taken the lead.

      Sorry everyone who thought this would be a game worth watching (myself included).

      Swansea looked better when Joe Allen and Stephen Dobbie came on in the second half. I’m not a big fan of Kenny Agustien. He’s not as creative of a midfielder that I would like.

      Swansea need a creative midfielder and defensive cover. But based on today’s display, it’s going to be a long and frustrating season for Swansea.

      THe Gaffer

      • Phil Sandifer

        August 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm

        I mean, you’re right in the abstract – there are some real thrills to be had at the bottom of the table that we miss in favor of watching teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City score two and park the bus for 30-60 minutes. The problem, I think, is that relegation six pointers are often as lackluster as title six-pointers, with both sides more desperate not to lose ground than they are to gain it.

        I’m sure Swansea will have some amazing games this season. They had 2/3 of an amazing game against Manchester City, after all. But I suspect a lot of those games will come against mid-table teams, with things like Sunderland, Aston Villa, Everton, or Newcastle offering more hope of thrillers.

        • The Gaffer

          August 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm

          Great point Phil. Let’s hope you’re right, for Swansea’s sake! 😉

          The Gaffer

          • Gaz Hunt

            August 21, 2011 at 12:26 am

            I was hoping for more out of this game.

            I agree that Swansea need something like a creative midfielder and / or a striker that is willing to drop back and push the ball wide so they can get some more crosses in – play the percentages.


            Despite that I think they’ll have Sunderland next week.

            • The Gaffer

              August 21, 2011 at 8:58 am

              Gaz, thanks for sharing the chalkboard. Yes, definitely a case of the Arsenals 🙂

              The Gaffer

  3. Joe

    August 20, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Good enough reasons. If only the site you glowingly praised a week ago didn’t have an “Oops! Sorry. Something Went Wrong” message throughout the 10 AM games.

  4. Trickybrkn

    August 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Then you don’t like football. Or soccer. And you’ll have very few viewing choices.

    One great reason to watch the Swans is they are the new boys. These teams when they come up show an energy that even Sir Alex would love to tap. They play with passion, and in Sweansea’s case the proper way. You can tell me that watching Blackpool last season was not exciting. And I expect Sweasea to be similar.

    This is also the first ever PL match in Wales, so a bit of history as well.

    And while I tease the Wigan fan base or lack there of, they do play a good game. Soooooo I guess you just don’t like football.

  5. james

    August 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I remember at one point in the game City were up 3-0 but Swansea actually had 59% possession. Really true football, just need to learn to play the possession in the attacking third. But of course it’s not easy against a team like City.

    On another note, I remember what it was like before City had the riches. Hoping for a 0-0 to get that point against clubs like United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Of course the trophies and glory (not glory hunters) are wonderful, but I have to say that I will truly miss that basement club fighting spirit. So Gaffer, enjoy what you’ve got!

  6. Redrich

    August 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Well OK, if there’s 7 reasons to watch the game, I would imagine there’s at least 7 to watch something else.
    Not in my interest zone at all – neither one are vital to the race for honors, and perhaps, odds on candidates for the relegation battle.
    Reason to watch, or reason to ignore – the game is irrelevant!

  7. Lyle

    August 19, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Michael Vorm is better than de Gea at the moment. He’s solid.

    Gaffer I wish you had written up a story after the defeat the Man City. Stuff like that happens. We can’t run from it, not that you really did… but you didn’t follow up with a post about it.

    Swansea isn’t bad at all, but they will have problems against the better sides for a bit.

    • The Gaffer

      August 20, 2011 at 5:36 am

      Lyle, I found it hard to muster up the energy and inspiration to write about Swansea’s defeat against Man City. There wasn’t much for me to say other than what I wrote in the article above 🙂

      The Gaffer

  8. MUFC77

    August 19, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    I was very impressed with the football Swansea tried to play last week against City. Even after the Gaffer said they liked to play the ball on the ground I was still expecting the Swansea defense to resort to the long ball game eventually but it never happened. They consistently tried to play their way out from the back which was great to see. It should be a great game against Wigan tomorrow.

    Gaffer who’s Swansea main goal scoring threat? I need one more striker for my fantasy team right now I have Danny Graham in the team but I have until Sat 7am to change if needs be.

    • The Gaffer

      August 20, 2011 at 5:34 am

      Swansea’s main goalscoring threat is Scott Sinclair, who is the added bonus of being a midfielder who consistently plays for Swansea and is rarely dropped.

      The Gaffer

  9. Guy

    August 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    You are wrong, dlink. Come on you Jacks!! 🙂

  10. Evan

    August 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Actually looking forward to this game.
    Hopefully Graham can bag a few. Have him on fantasy 🙂

  11. dlink09

    August 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    nobody cares about swansea go wigan 🙂

    • Trickybrkn

      August 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      The irony of that…. You know they are playing football not egg chasing?

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