Swansea City vs Forest preview.. play-off second leg..

As the dust settles on Thursday night’s game it dawns on us that what we have on Monday is the classic cup tie.  Ninety minutes, well, maybe 120, maybe a few more for some penalties to be exchanged, all to play for.  Now, it’s true we already had a full game and we couldn’t beat our opponents despite having an extra player, but still.  Let’s not dwell on that, eh?

There’s lots of mixed messages and PR doing the rounds from both camps ahead of the game.  Garry Monk is wary of us, and Tudgay and Cohen are both a bit confident.  Billy is hoping they’re a bit tired, and in the meantime the key team news from the Welsh side is that dangerman Fabio Borini is fit, and they are bizarrely appealing the red card decision.

When I think about it though, it does make sense – if the hearing hadn’t been rushed to Monday then the player would’ve been eligible ’til it had taken place.  If it’s upheld, they’ve not lost anything – indeed, even if the ban is extended for a pointless appeal there’s nothing lost.  Contrary to my first suspicion, the Welsh FA apparently have no love of Swansea, preferring to restrict their bias to Cardiff City (thanks John!).

On the Reds front the two players who perhaps we’d hoped would feature in some way following on from injuries were Guy Moussi and Robbie Findley.  Despite claims of a fully fit squad before the game, neither player featured – but both are apparently in contention for Monday.  With Moussi he needs to be fully fit otherwise there’s little point in playing him – Findley at least could be used as a late impact substitute.

We obviously know all about the threat Swansea pose to us – they had arguably the better, or at least were the equal of us with only ten men at the City Ground – and will feel confident on their home turf where they’re unbeaten for a good stretch of time.  That said, I can remember when we had a lengthy unbeaten home run too – there’s no point getting hung up about that, they all come to an end sooner or later.

Second-guessing how Billy will approach this game is a dangerous game – I’m struggling to predict anything other than a cautious approach to try to stifle our hosts, which is dangerous.  Anyone who went to the Liberty Stadium for the league game will bear testimony to that.  Having said that, we only lost that goal by one goal and were desperately close to snagging an equaliser.

Probably the single-most interesting thing to happen between the games though was the experiences of an unfortunate Swansea fan who decided to enter into a bit of trolling over on LTLF only to end up being made to look rather foolish by some of the members on there.  If you’re reading, Liam – I hope you’ve learned your lesson, fella!

But I digress.  Swansea are going to have Borini, they’re going to have Sinclair and Dyer – and to compound matters they’ll also have Dobbie who was sacrificed in the home game.  Forest certainly need to up their game to provide a suitable challenge.  My heart says we could do that, my head struggles to see much beyond a win for the home side though, I’m afraid.

I would say may the best team win, but obviously I’d rather it were us who get the trip to Wembley at the end of the month!  That’s not being derogatory to the mighty Reds of course, but I do think that Brendan Rodgers has assembled a better team than we are currently able to field for whatever reason.

Better team or not, we’ve beaten teams that are better than us before – and indeed, we’ve overcome longer odds than entering into a game level on score with a full 90 minutes to play.  Who knows what moments of individual brilliance, costly mistakes or a referee’s decision might occur and swing the game dramatically in a particular direction.

Whatever the outcome of the game we should all be proud of the lads who’ve worked hard to deliver a second successive play-off campaign.  Whoever is celebrating come Monday evening I hope ends up doing so at Wembley later in the month – even if that means Liam the crazy Swansea fan is partying like mad.  In the meantime, our job is to get 100% behind the boys in Red.

With our backing it can only give them a boost – and it would be foolish for anybody to say we’re not capable of getting a result at the Liberty Stadium.  There’s too many variables to make it anything approximating impossible – or even improbable.  Let’s see what happens but play our part to the best of our ability and drive the players to do the same.


24 Responses

  1. Cant see beyond an emphatic Swansea win, I’m afraid.
    They were awesome on Thursday. Brendan Rodgers creamed Billy tactically. He went 4-2-3 in the first half, asking Dyer and Sinclair to drop back if necessary. But because BD failed to change our system (by dropping Lewis into the hole behind the forwards, make use of the spare man etc etc Billy??) they didnt need to defend and in fact spanked our arses for 45 minutes.
    BD should have hauled Boyd and Earnshaw off before half-time, GMac made a big difference when he came on. And Tudgay wouldnt have let Williams have the time/space to roll the ball around before nonchalently passing back to his keeper all half!

    Anyway, enough of that. IF Moussi if fit, play this team…
    Gunts Chambo Wes Cohen
    Ando Moose Kenno Gmc

    Options to bring on Radi, Tyson, Findley, Earnie, Goldie

    Feel a bit sorry for Moloney in that line up but Gunts had a mare at left back and is a cracking right back that also attacks.

    BD wont play this team/formation though, so although my heart says win, head says loss.

    Although I’ll gladly be proved wrong, Billyboy!!

  2. Very difficult to call this one. We all know that Forest on their day can beat anyone – all depends, is Monday their day?

    We’re going to need to press and chase down their midfield if we’re going to have a chance. Moussi’s fitness may well affect Billy’s selection and although many criticised McKenna for his lack of pace and negative passing, I think his reading of the game and experience still count for a lot – as does Billy. With both fit I think we’ll go for a 4-5-1 formation with Boyd upfront and possibly McGoldrick dropping off.

    The midfield diamond’s worked well in recent games but do we aim to close down their passing game and cut supply to Dyer and Sinclair? Or do we contain and look to counter-attack?

    Only two teams have scored more than one goal at the Liberty in the league this season – Portsmouth and Forest. We can do this…

  3. Swansea were tactically more astute, technically more gifted (or so it appeared especially first half). Borini is fit and if they play with the same freedom and energy they did at the City Ground, I can’t see anything but a comfortable 3-1 score to them. Strangely though, I know I won’t feel as gutted as I did last year.

  4. After watching the Forest vs Swasea game live at the ground I was very disappointed that Forest didn’t score against 10 men and I was worried about how well Swasea played. However after watching the SKY version afterwards I don’t feel as negative, as the Reds were much better in the second half. Added to this, the fact that the other tie between Reading and Cardiff was terrible, I think the two best teams in the tournament played on Thursday night!

    I expect a VERY difficult game on Monday night, but I think it’s there for the taking. I predict a tight, nervy match with a single goal to win it….


  5. Squeaky bum time? You bet. But no playoff team has been promoted to the prem in the last 6 years without winning the away leg. And swans didn’t, did they?

    Remember we had 14 shots on goal on thurs to their 8, so despite some good possession
    by the visitors we can create enough, if our finishing improves fr the “couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo” standard.

    All we really need is for borini and Sinclair to get taken to hospital following a training ground clash of heads monday afternoon and be kept on for observation!!!!

    Let’s follow in the footsteps of the mighty Bristol city who had too much quality for the jacks at the liberty earlier this season.


    • Great statistic, Husky Red!
      Meaning we can go through and win it all! 🙂
      Come on you Red ‘uns!!!

  6. Difficult to see how we will cope with there pace and movement come Monday night but they are not unbeatable.

    First half we were poor could have been nerves ? and they did play well credit to them.Second half we were much better and we where unlucky not get sneak a goal.

    They will feel the pressure of expectation now what we need is a WEST BROM LIKE PERFORMANCE FROM THE LADS.

    First goal will be vital and a more balanced side a must .Gunter had a mare at left back and how many times does he foul players gee wizz..

    Can we dot it ? only if we play to our max and they dont ……

    U reds

  7. Can I remind all hard core reds our finest hours have came when we wear all red and played away from home.

    Oh and we were written off as well get ma drift ………

    Malmo 1-0
    Hamburg 1-0

    Come on Forest make history again by proving the doubters wrong..

    U reds

  8. As Monday looms I still can’t shake Thursday’s nights shocking display and the horrible thought that Swansea will punish us for failing to take a creditable advantage to the Liberty Stadium.

    All we heard on the build up to the game from Billy was that you need refereing decisions and a little luck… well Thursday night it came in spades, we played 90 minutes against 10 men, they took Dobbie off (much to the relief of anyone who was at the City Ground against Blackpool), and then Borini, arguably one of their most dangerous players, went off injured early in the second half!!

    Ok so the penalty claim was dashed but you’d have hoped that we wouldn’t have needed it given everything else that had set it up for us to win and win by more than a single goal.

    I was disappointed that during the first half Billy didn’t seem to change anything around to inject some kind of impetus into the side or a tactical change to allow us to gain control of the game instead of watching Swansea play as if it was still 11 v 11. BUT, that said, the optimism was that Swansea had ran a fair bit in the first half and that at half time Billy would give them what for and we’d come out all guns blazing and they’d run out of legs chasing the game. Alas it wasn’t to be, instead we were treated to long spells where we were camped in their half and the ball was being passed from right to left to right again from Moloney on the right to McKenna, to Cohen, to Gunter who’d then pass it back having remembered that he has no left foot and therefore wouldn’t take the fullback on nor try to cross it. Likewise you could see that Moloney was lacking ideas and could see any option apart from giving the ball back to McKenna again.

    To make matters worse the movement in and around the box was so poor that McKenna was reduced to the odd cross or even passing back to Morgan when a Swansea player chased him down.

    All in all it was bitterly disappointing and I would’ve taken heart from any one of the strike force running out from the edge of their area to take the ball off of Cohen and Mckenna so they could have a few “from range” shots… if nothing more than just to test the keep and lift the fans (who I thought did a great job of staying positive and encouraging the team).

    Not to go on too much about it but walking back over Lady Bay bridge to the car i was just hoping we’d get a better rally cry from Billy than we did. Talk of how difficult it is to play against 10 men is complete rubbish! Maybe we should start with 10 against Swansea on Monday and see how they fair if it really does make it so difficult!!! Has he forgotten that not long after the fabled international break that was going to turn all of our fortunes around we went down to 10 men against Leeds who promptly put four goals past us??

    I would’ve much preferred it if he had said “look, we failed to capitalise on them going down to ten men, we realise we probably got a few tactical decisions wrong but don’t worry we’ll go for them hell for leather on Monday night and they’ll see what we can really do!” … or just something a little more like a rallying call rather than “playing against ten is difficult and its only half-time anyway!”.

    Sorry 😦 rant over!!

    Monday night… as mattyboy said, lets have Gunter playing right back where he excels and provides an attacking threat as and when we need it. I’d move Cohen to left back if for nothing more than that he’s naturally a left footed player! Not to mention that he’s defensive minded and has played there before with some success.

    It then frees up his place in midfield to introduce Moussi whilst keeping McKenna in front of the back for and then as the game goes on gives us the option of bringing on someone like Raddi…. where has he gone this year after so many promising performances last season??

    My only optimism for tomorrow is that you can’t really see us winning so therefore we just might!! A crazy statement I know but given how poor we played Thursday and having been overrun at the Liberty Stadium only a few month ago I can just see how virtually everyone is expecting a Swansea win – their players were celebrating as such the other night, the home support likewise soooo in typical football fashion it’ll be narrow victory with our winning goal coming from the most unlikely of sources… a Wes Morgan volley!! 😀

    I’d go for… the diamond formation and Tudgay dropping deep, use his work-rate to help out the midfield and link up play

    Gunts Chambo Wes Cohen
    Lewis Tyson

    What Billy will go for… a flat 442

    Moloney Chambo Wes Gunts
    Lewis McKenna Moussi McCleary



  9. PS. What HAS happened to Raddi this season??

    He might have lost possession at times he has played this season but he sees passes and moves that Cohen and McKenna can’t.

  10. PPS. Is Lynch still injured or what?! At this rate I’m almost starting to think that he’s signed a pre-contract agreement with Celtic too 😛 lol

  11. PPPS. Whatever happens I’d love to see Findley play at least 15 minutes towards the end even if its just to give us hope that even if we’re still in the Championship next season we might just have the best kept secret on our hands.

  12. I think, NFFC, that you have it with those 4 words “moments of individual brilliance”. That’s what can win it for us because we didn’t play as effectively as a team compared with Swansea (and their 10).
    Earnie’s “moments of individual brilliance” seem to have desertted him of late so let’s hope he rediscovers some on Monday. If not then p’haps BD should throw Findlay on because he’s got a lot to prove & may just make a difference.
    McGugan of course can be brilliant but also erratic and he might just be our match winner.
    We can do it ~ that’s for sure . . . .

    Whatever the outcome, thanks for another season of blogs & keep the website going please !

  13. Wow thats the longest rant ive seen on the comments page craig well done your comments are spot on.

    Sometimes you just have to accept that the tactics were wrong and you played a better side thats football.

    However as we all know the better side does not always win games we live in hope eh………

  14. I wouldn’t play Cohen at LB for anything he isn’t a LB and is a waste of his talent. + he get torn up for arse paper. Lynch OH MY GOD……..NO.!!!!!!! Sorry but Billy silly mistake has been not to give Jules some time on the pitch.Remember BIlly round pegs round holes…..NOT playing right footers on the left and left footers on the right 4-5-1 it has to be tomorrow.

    WE can do it…….BUT will we? Watch this space!

  15. Just looked at their home record They have lost 3 times at home 0-1 to Cardiff and Brizzle and 1-2 to Portsmouth. They have drawn at home to the likes of direby, Hull and Milwall. Infact they haven’t beaten direby THIS season!!!!!!!!

    So maybe just maybe!

  16. Swansea can pass the ball ,hold the ball and very rarely lose it.
    I hope in training we are learning the same things…not giving the ball away, make passes count and tackling quickly to stop them playing !!.
    We can do it,maybe after extra time !!!!

  17. Just bumped into Fabio and Angel on my lunch hour as they live quite close to where I work and they look super relaxed – me I’m close to spewing every ten minutes 😦

    I think it will be extra time but I hope it’s not penalties as I can only ever recall De Vries saving one in his entire spell down here.

  18. Swansea can’t beat Derby….

    ……we’re going up.

  19. Taylor red card appeal turned down… And Tate looked very, very vulnerable on their left flank. Maybe a good chance for Ando or Findley…?
    IMO, our wingers will play the most decisive part tonight. One taking advantage of Tate’s situation and the other preventing Rangel from doing his dangerous runs forward…
    Come on you Reds!

  20. Cmon the Jacks we know how much the english want a Welsh side in the premiership STID

    • That’s pretty immaterial to me – obviously as a Forest fan I would like it to be US that goes up.

      If we don’t go up, I have no issue with Swansea going on to win. Particularly if it’s against Cardiff.

      English/Welshness doesn’t really come into it for me, I’m afraid.

  21. watched it on telly- gutted but i’d been bracing myself for it all day….

    Thanks to Billy for a good season again and we don’t need too much more for automatic next year! thanks also to nffc for a great blog as ever.

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