Swansea City vs AFC Bournemouth Preview and Prediction
Swansea City welcome AFC Bournemouth to the Liberty Stadium on 31/12/16 in an extremely important game for both teams. Swansea were hammered 4-1 by West Ham United last time out, leaving them 19th in the Premier League standings and in real danger of relegation still. Bournemouth too fell to defeat on Boxing Day, albeit in more respectable fashion after going down 3-0 to leaders Chelsea who were again in imperious form. Read on for a full match preview complete with betting tips and predictions.
Swansea lost their third match in succession last time out, suffering a heavy home defeat to a resurgent West Ham side whose performance was reminiscent of that what we came to expect of them last season. Swansea’s top scorer last season Andre Ayew pounced on Lukasz Fabianski’s mistake to come back to haunt his former club, before Winston Reid and Michail Antonio made the most of more poor Swansea defending. Fernando Llorente applied the finishing touch to Nathan Dyer’s cross late on, but Andy Carroll volleyed in Sofiane Feghouli’s cross to restore the Hammers three-goal cushion a minute later. Once again it was a poor showing from Swansea which lacked the requisite effort you would come to expect as a bare minimum from a team who are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table. It would be harsh to place all the blame on the shoulders of the manager, Bob Bradley, as it ultimately isn’t his squad or his players but to absolve him from any criticism would be wrong. Bradley has failed to get anything extra from his players in terms of performance or aptitude and his decision to leave Llorente on the bench is strange to say the least.
Bournemouth suffered back-to-back defeats for the third time in the Premier League this season last time out, as Chelsea once again proved to be simply too good – as they have so often this term. Pedro’s curler gave the hosts the lead in the first half, before Eden Hazard won and converted a penalty in the second half and Steve Cook deflected in a Pedro shot to complete another excellent afternoon’s work for Antonio Conte’s side. The result rather reflected the absolute excellence that is this Chelsea team at this moment in time, as opposed to highlighting Bournemouth’s weaknesses, with the change in formation not bringing the desired result. It was a bold decision from Eddie Howe to match Chelsea by going with three at the back, but they were ultimately unable to live with the expertise of their opponents in that system. Currently 13th in the table, Howe will be content with the current position of his team, sitting seven points clear of the relegation zone although they will be keen to avoid having Swansea close the gap between the two sides to just six points with a win.
Swansea Team News
Neil Taylor (groin) is a doubt so Stephen Kingsley should continue at left-back. Ki Sung-Yeung (broken toe) and Jefferson Montero are both set to miss out. Fernando Llorente will hope to return after scoring from the bench last time out.
Bournemouth Team News
Lewis Cook (ankle) is ruled out once again for Bournemouth in this fixture. Other than Cook, Eddie Howe has a full squad available for this one and is likely to revert back to a more familiar back four at the Liberty Stadium.
Betting Tips and Predictions
Swansea’s sheer lack of effort and togetherness – from an outsider’s perspective at least – is particularly worrying and it’s tough to see them turning this around under Bob Bradley. Although Bournemouth themselves have lost their last two, they should have too much for Swansea here, particularly playing up against a team who play a similar brand of football as themselves, although not at quite the same level in recent times.
Bournemouth win – 29/20
Both teams to score YES – 8/13