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Match Preview: Swansea City (A) - Can Sunderland Jack The Jacks?

Michael Laudrup will be hoping his side keep up their good form, but Martin O'Neill will have other ideas.
Michael Laudrup will be hoping his side keep up their good form, but Martin O'Neill will have other ideas.

Time for another match preview. A little later than usual with this whole transfer window nonsense going on today, but there is still a match on tomorrow and so we simply must preview it.

Swansea have started the season brightly under new manager Michael Laudrup, picking up where Brendan Rogers left off only managing to be much less detestable in the process. They've looked good in the two games so far scoring eight goals and conceding none, but they were against Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United - not exactly the strongest of oppositions.

You can only beat who's put in front of you though, however we hope that doesn't continue this weekend for them. Join us as we preview the match from every angle...

Sunderland Team News

Not overly much team news to report really. We'll start at the back though and work forward and it's incredibly likely - in fact a nigh on certainty - that Keiren Westwood will be replaced by Simon Mignolet after the Irishman took to the sticks against Morecambe this midweek.

Across the back we should see Craig Gardner continue his impressive form at right-back with John O'Shea and Carlos Cuellar starting in the middle. One area where things are a little up in the air is at left-back. Will Danny Rose come in for a first start having signed only 24 hours earlier? Or will Jack Colback continue in the position? I think there'll be a temptation to bring in Rose, but I see Colback getting the nod if only for this week.

In the middle of the park this means Lee Cattermole will once again be partnered by Seb Larsson. The men charged with getting forward being the impressive and fearsome trio of James McClean, Stephane Sessegnon and Adam Johnson in his first league game for us.

All behind Steven Fletcher who will forage a lone path up front.

Swansea City Team News

Michael Laudrup has a fully fit squad to choose from for this one, and with the results he's got the club so far you wouldn't see any reason for him to go changing things. From the outside looking in it appears he hasn't changed the style of the side too much, but they are blessed with some very good players.

Michel Vorm will sit behind a defence of Angel Rangel, newly-signed Chico Flores, Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor, just as has been the case all season so far.

In midfield it's likely that Leon Britton will be partnered by Jonathan De Guzman. There's an outside chance too that Ki Sung-Yong, a £6m arrival from Celtic in the week will also get a start, and if so it would likely be in place of De Guzman.

In a similar style to ourselves, the attacking triumvirate of Nathan Dyer, Michu and Wayne Routledge will all be looking to support Danny Graham in attack. The Swans have some options here with Pablo Hernandez available and in position to possibly knock Routledge out of the starting line-up, but with the clubs impressive form so far, why change it too much?

Predicted Lineups

Sunderland: Mignolet; Gardner, O'Shea, Cuellar, Colback; Cattermole, Larsson; Johnson, Sessegnon, McClean; Fletcher

Swansea City: Vorm; Rangel, Chico Flores, Williams, Taylor; Britton, De Guzman; Dyer, Michu, Routledge; Graham

Key Matchup: Lee Cattermole Vs Michu

It's noted that Swansea like to play 'the right way' - whatever you make of that - and to put things on a little more cynical and snide terms, a bit like Arsenal or Barcelona. Whilst these are both good sides to emulate, they're also stoppable, and Swansea as good as they are are nowhere near as good as either.

Michu has taken the Premier League by storm so far netting three goals in his two games and seemed relatively unstoppable, but I think we can do it. It all once again though rests on Cattermole.

Just like at Arsenal a few weeks ago with Santi Cazorla, he's the lynchpin to their attacking threat. If we can nullify his potency and just follow him around and keep him out of the game, it might force Swansea's hand into trying something else. Who knows at this stage whether they have that, they're yet to be really tested.

If Cattermole can keep Michu quiet, we're in for a good afternoon.

Recent Form: DWWWW

Draw: San Jose Eathquakes 2-2 Swansea City (Graham 41, Chico 60; Lenhart 80 & 86)

Win: Swansea City 4-2 Blackpool (Michu 17, Graham 3, 45 & 67; Sylvestre 23, Ince 87 pen)

Win: Queens Park Rangers 0-5 Swansea City (Michu 8 & 53, Dyer 63 & 71, Sinclair 81)

Win: Swansea City 3-0 West Ham United (Rangel 20, Michu 29, Graham 64)

Win: Swansea City 3-1 Barnsley (Graham 24, Moore 59 & 88; Hassell 69)

Last Time Around: Sunderland 2-0 Swansea City, 21/01/12

A great game at the Stadium of Light for the last two meetings of ours sides, in which Stephane Sessegnon netted the opener with a belting strike from an acute angle - arguably one our goals of the season - right into the top corner.

A second half goal from Craig Gardner sealed the points with what we hoped would go on to become a 'trademark' long range strike. It didn't, but it was a nice goal none the less in a comfortable victory.

The game will perhaps linger longest in the memory for Brendan Rogers post-match comments in which he dismissed our club and said we should have been delighted to have seen the mighty Swansea play 'football'. Hanging around with your old mentor Jose much, Brendan?

The Ref: Roger East

47-year old Roger East takes charge of his first Premier League game ever at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow, so there's little we can report on him.

This season he's been in charge of three games in The Championship and one in the Carling Cup, dishing out nine yellow cards and no reds in the four games, so look for him to keep the trend going and dish out at least two or three in this one.

He's also only awarded one penalty this season.

What The Managers Said

Martin O'Neill: They play attractive football and have gained the results to go with that, which gives them a great belief in themselves.

From that viewpoint, I get the feeling there is a natural exuberance that carries them on a great deal further than perhaps they would expect.

Michael Laudrup: They are a good side with a very experienced manager. He knows what he wants and they have strengthened the squad by bringing in Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher.

What we did last week has no bearing on Saturday's game and we must now start again, but more or less we know what to expect from Sunderland.

Roker Report Predicts

It's going to be a tight one, and a one where I think we'll be rolling our sleeves up and grinding out a result. I also think we can get a result, and a positive one at that. While Swansea are good, there's nothing to be overly scared of and it's worth remembering we've got plenty of quality in our side too. I see us coming away with a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson, with a goal from Danny Graham (because he bloody would) for them.

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