Swansea 3 West Brom 1: What a Liberty! It's a Routledge rout as Baggies bubble bursts
22:09 GMT, 28 November 2012
It's a touch premature to say West Brom’s wheels have come off, but they certainly looked a little rickety.
Three goals down and counting their blessings after 40 minutes, they were served a cold reality check on a cold night that the Barclays Premier League is not so easy after all.
They were third in the table coming in, a quite phenomenal feat for this club in this division, and one reflected by the stats that showed their haul of 26 points from 13 games was their best start to a top-flight season since 1953.
All white on the night: Swansea are unbeaten in their last five games and moved up to eighth in the table
Swansea: Tremmel, Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies, Britton, Hernandez (De Guzman 74), Ki, Dyer (Moore 64), Routledge, Michu (Agustien 86). Subs not used: Cornell, Monk, Shechter, Tiendalli.
Goals: Michu 9, Routledge 11, 39.
West Brom: Myhill, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Jones, Yacob, Morrison, Mulumbu, Brunt, Odemwingie, Lukaku. Subs not used: Daniels, Popov, Rosenberg, Long, Dorrans, Tamas, Fortune.
Booked: McAuley, Brunt, Olsson, Jones.
Goal: Lukaku 45.
Referee: Lee Mason.
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But, courtesy of Michu and Wayne
Routledge, it all went so horribly wrong for But, courtesy of Michu and
Wayne Routledge, it all went so horribly wrong for Steve Clarke.
Youssouf Mulumbu, who missed the 4-2
win at Sunderland with a hamstring strain, was recalled to fill one of
the defensive midfield slots, with Claudio Yacob next to him in Steve
Clarke’s 4-2-3-1 system.
If the plan was to stifle Swansea’s possession in attacking positions,
it didn’t work. If the idea was to cut off the supply of passes out to
the flanks, it failed spectacularly.
Swansea were 3-1 up at half-time and
all three of their goals came from attacks that started in midfield,
found their way out to the left and were finished from close range.
West Brom right back Billy Jones had one of those nights that scar. His ordeal started after just 90 seconds.
Michu, as has so often been the case,
was at the centre of the move that nearly gave Swansea a perfect start.
The Spaniard found it too easy to escape Jones’s marking and was
allowed to collect a neat chip from Pablo Hernandez on the left before
forcing a good save from Boaz Myhill at his near post.
Here we go again: Michu hit the opening goal to put West Brom on the back foot
A handful: Michu evades James Morrison's attentions
His wait for an eighth Premier League goal was a further seven minutes.
Again, record signing Hernandez was
involved, underlining his recent improvement with a delicate volley
across the six-yard box after Dyer’s floated cross to the far post.
Michu was waiting to bury the pass.
Flying high: Wayne Routledge fires his first of the evening past Boaz Myhill
A spring in the step: Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer celebrate Swansea's second
A second goal followed three minutes
later when Hernandez swapped passes with Ben Davies and danced into the
area from the left before teeing up Routledge for a tap-in.
West Brom were the first team to
concede a Premier League goal to Swansea last season on a September
afternoon in which they ultimately lost 3-0.
Double trouble: Routledge hit two in Swansea's rout
They seemed determined to
repeat the feat here, going three down after 39 minutes. Hernandez and
Davies were again involved down the left before the latter squared for
Routledge to score his second.
That he was unmarked from six yards
did not appear to go down too well with Clarke, and Myhill won’t be
pleased with his attempt to save, either.
Scant consolation: Romelu Lukaku fires West Brom's only goal of the game
Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back with
a volley from a poorly-cleared corner, but it was telling that the shot
was West Brom’s first on target.
Clarke looked somewhat agitated
coming off at half-time and the intensity of West Brom’s play early in
the second half hinted at an interesting team talk.
Mixed emotions: Michael Laudrup's Swansea gave Steve Clarke plenty of food for thought
Committed: Jonas Olsson does his best to block Luke Moore's shot
Lukaku went close to scoring a second
when he shrugged off Chico Flores and fired over after 46 minutes and
Chris Brunt connected almost too well when he took aim from 30 yards a
But the revival, much like West Brom’s intensity, only came in a short burst.