Swansea add to West Brom’s early-season woes
Davies and Hernandez grab the goals at the The Hawthorns
Swansea’s Pablo Hernandez takes a shot at goal during the Premier League match against Swansea at The Hawthorns. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
West Brom 0 Swansea 2: The season is only three games old but these are worrying times for West Bromwich Albion. A second home defeat of the season leaves them anchored to the foot of the table, still searching for a first Premier League goal and with Steve Clarke, their head coach, desperate to see the club spend some money to inject fresh life into a squad that has been struggling since the turn of the year.
Albion have taken 17 points from 21 games in 2013, which is relegation form. Badly missing the edge that Romelu Lukaku provided while on loan from Chelsea last season, Albion were toothless against a Swansea side that thoroughly deserved their first win of the season.
Ben Davies got Swansea on their way, with a fine volley, and the only surprise was that it took the visitors until the 83rd minute to add a second goal. Pablo Hernandez was the scorer, finishing emphatically from close range to complete a rewarding afternoon for Michael Laudrup and his players. For Albion, though, there is plenty of work to do, not least on deadline day.
Although Davies took his goal extremely well, Albion’s defending left much to be desired. Hernandez skipped past Liam Ridgewell far too easily on the Swansea right and Claudio Yacob’s header from the Spaniard’s centre was poor. Hernandez took the ball down on his chest and, accepting the invitation to cross for a second time, picked out the run of Davies, who placed a superb left-footed volley wide of Boaz Myhill and into the top corner. It was the Welshman’s second goal for Swansea since breaking into the first team at the start of last season.
Nicolas Anelka, running on to Shane Long’s pass before dragging a right-footed shot inches wide of the far upright, could have equalised nine minutes later but that was a rare Albion opportunity.
Swansea looked the more threatening and should have doubled their lead through Wayne Routledge. Twice in the second half Routledge broke clear of the Albion defence but on the first occasion his touch was too heavy and when he ran through for a second time, in the 70th minute, the winger took far too long to get his shot away, allowing Gareth McAuley to nick the ball off his toe.
With Albion throwing players forward in desperation, more chances opened up for Swansea at the opposite end. Hernandez struck the crossbar in the 82nd minute, after a brilliant decoy run by Michu, and the same two players combined moments later for the second goal. After his cross was blocked by Jonas Olsson, Michu unselfishly cut the ball back for Hernandez to side-foot home from six yards.