Moore success for sleepy Swansea

Posted by Max Hicks

Luke MooreGettyImagesLuke Moore nets the winner for Swansea against Newcastle

The Swans avoided a post-cup slump by taking three barely deserved points from a frustrated Newcastle in a 1-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium.

- Duffy: Dominant Newcastle gain no reward

Throughout the first half, the game seemed to channel the spirit of Swansea bay - dirty with plenty of ebb and flow. The sides took turns to swap urgency for laziness, deliberation for distraction and punctuated every small passage of play with a series of unsporting fouls. Although the bad behaviour didn't culminate in any red cards, it was allowed to persist for the entire match, an irritant which stopped either side from sustaining any rhythm.

Whilst the first half had been an even match between the two sides, Newcastle asserted themselves after the interval courtesy of an uncharacteristically limp second half performance from the Swans.

Michael Laudrup's men miss Chico Flores in the centre of defence. Newcastle worked Michel Vorm with a series of long shots throughout the game, and I can't help but feel that Chico's command and physical presence would have gone some distance to cutting down such opportunities. Veteran Garry Monk started in place of the injured Spaniard, and no longer has the pace to pinch forward and aggressively attack the opposition lest he be caught out of position.

That kind of pursuit is Chico's stock-in-trade however, and Swansea's defence has looked increasingly toothless since the Swans' top-knotted number four has been sidelined. If nothing else, the increasingly obvious importance of Chico Flores to this team should give Laudrup early signals that acquiring similar calibre defensive reinforcements ought to be a summer priority, especially since Chico does seem to be slightly injury prone.

Since selling Danny Graham (and even before), a new striker has been the positional need at the top of the Swans summer shopping list. It was interesting to see Luke Moore given another chance from the bench after Itay Shechter had appeared to have won the battle of the backups. It was even more interesting when Moore scored the game's only goal to take the Swans to the safety of the 40 point threshold.

Could it be that Laudrup is already sizing up his occasionally neglected bench warmers before deciding how to spend the transfer kitty? Moore is out of contract in the summer, but might have made a case to remain with the squad as a backup. The sizeable striker might not have the right attributes to be a regular in Laudrup's side, but has proven to be an impact player in the right situation. Of course, when 'the right situation' is one game a year (Newcastle this season, Manchester City last), the money might be better spent elsewhere.

Still, it was good to see Moore hold his ground in a packed penalty area, hold fire on the early shot which would have been blocked, and win the game for the Swans with a cool finish (complete with Yohan Cabaye assist). It's a lot more than Shechter has managed in his starts, with all due respect.

The Swans star and stock continues to rise. It seems the side can do no wrong at the moment - pulling out a win where a draw or even defeat seemed more likely is testament to that. With 40 points secured, and ten more to aim for over the home stretch, the side can continue to enjoy themselves for a little while yet.

Final thoughts:

Positives : Snatching victory from the jaws of Alan Pardew. Pablo's feet. Michel Vorm.

Negatives : Sloppy second half could have lost the game.

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