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UEFA Europa League

  • 1 August 2013
  • • 19:45
  • • Liberty Stadium, Swansea
  • Referee: P. Mazzoleni
  • • Attendance: 16176
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Swansea - Malmo Preview: European journey begins for Laudrup's men

Swansea - Malmo Preview: European journey begins for Laudrup's men

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The Liberty Stadium outfit begin their first continental adventure in 22 years, while the Swedish side look to capitalise on a 9-0 aggregate win in the previous qualifying round

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

SWANSEA CITY

Vorm
Rangel, Amat, Williams, Davies
Britton, Shelvey, Michu
Hernandez, Bony, Routledge
Malmo FF

Dahlin
Albornoz, Jansson, Helander, Ricardinho
Hamad, Thern, Halsti, Forsberg
Rantie, Eriksson

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup faces a high-profile absence for Thursday's tie, with central defender Chico Flores set to miss out due to a thigh problem and Jordi Amat in line to deputise.

Record Swans signing Wilfried Bony is expected to make his competitive debut for the Welsh side, having impressed in Saturday's 3-0 friendly win against Reading, providing two assists at the Madejski.

Leon Britton will likely feature in midfield alongside Michu and Jonjo Shelvey, who tallied a goal apiece in the weekend's warm-up match.

Swedes Malmo, currently second place in the Allsvenskan table, will need to pick themselves up for European competition after a shock 2-0 defeat to lowly Gefle on Sunday which saw a six-game unbeaten run come to an end.

Central defender Erik Johansson sustained a foot injury in the disappointing loss, and is almost certain to be replaced in an otherwise unchanged starting XI by the recently recovered Filip Helander.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Swansea have not competed in European competition since 1991, when they were beaten 10-1 over two legs in the European Cup Winners' Cup first round by Arsene Wenger's Monaco side, which included George Weah and Youri Djorkaeff.
  • The Swans' £12 million capture, Wilfried Bony (pictured right), boasts a strong goal scoring record in the Europa League, having found the back of the net eight times in 15 career appearances.
  • Malmo and Swansea have never before met on the pitch in a competitive match.
  • The Swedish giants gained entry to the Europa League third qualifying round by trouncing Scots Hibernian 9-0 over two legs, one of which was a 7-0 whitwash at Easter Road.
  • Malmo progressed to the final of the European Cup, the predecessor to the Champions League, in 1979, only to lose 1-0 to Nottingham Forest.
  • South African international Tokelo Rantie has notched one goal and three assists so far in Europa League action.

Players to watch

J. Shelvey

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The 21-year-old midfielder will be eager to impress in his first meaningful game for Swansea after securing a £5 million switch from Liverpool in early July, securing European football in the process despite moving away from a giant of the game.

Though all eyes will undoubtedly be on fellow competitive debutant Wilfried Bony, it will be Shelvey who will be relied upon to command the midfield with a balanced blend strength, ingenuity, and creativity, providing Michael Laudrup's side with a solid backbone and linking up with the forwards.

Whilst not extensive, the former Charlton Athletic man also brings with hima measure of experience in the Europa League to complement his age-belying knack for leadership on the pitch, a valuable asset for Michael Laudrup's side as they plunge head-first into the harsh world of continental play.

T. Rantie

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Rantie has taken centre stage for Malmo as they prepare to take on their Welsh opponents after impressing in the qualifying stages of the Europa League against Hibernian and Drogheda United.

Blessed with searing pace and skilled with the ball at his feet, the Swedes will need the South African to be at his best if they are to position themselves for a potential push into the play-off round against an exciting Swansea side bursting with potential.

He will be tasked with both attacking the box as well as stretching play out wide in the offensive third by coach Rikard Norling, and may well be used as a weapon to test fill-in Swans centre back Jordi Amat on the day.

Editor's Prediction

Though decidedly trailing Swansea in terms of quality, Malmo hold a few distinct advantages heading into Thursday's skirmish that may level playing field. Having played over half their domestic campaign whilst the opposition are only just emerging from pre-season training, the Swedbank Stadion outfit are well ahead in terms of fitness, whilst their stature in the Allsvenskan sees the 16-time league champions almost perennial participants in European competition, breeding experience. However, the class and enthusiasm present in Michael Laudrup's side should ultimately compensate and see the reigning Football League Cup champions come away with a positive result.

Last Five Matches

Malmö FF

  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Head To Head

Swansea City

Malmö FF

Wins
1
1
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Swansea City AFC SWA
Swansea City AFC Swansea City
Draw
Malmö FF MFF
Malmö FF Malmö FF
78%

Top 3 Predictions

Swansea City AFC SWA
2 - 0
Malmö FF MFF
Swansea City AFC SWA
2 - 1
Malmö FF MFF
Swansea City AFC SWA
3 - 1
Malmö FF MFF

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