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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
January 1, 2013
• 10:00 AM
• Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Referee: M. Halsey
• Attendance: 20406
W. Routledge 9'
D. Graham 90'+
A. Weimann 44'
C. Benteke 84'
Paul Lambert is denied what would have been a vital win by a cruel late goal from Danny Graham, but Swansea certainly did not deserve to lose this match after dominating much of the first half. Routledge's opener and Michu's two efforts onto the post seemed to herald another torrid afternoon and a fourth consecutive defeat for Aston Villa, but Andreas Weimann's excellent finish to equalise on the cusp of half time restored hope for the away side. As the second half wore on it became clear the Villains' defence had improved significantly, with the midfield offering much more support having sat much deeper in the second half. That left Christian Benteke and partner Weimann isolated up front, but the duo remained influential despite their lack of support, and the pair fittingly combined for the second goal as Benteke converted a penalty won by Weimann following the Belgium international's header from a corner. Michael Laudrup's side did not give up and collected a late equaliser, but their opponents will take heart from their second half performance that looks to have ended an end-of-year slump.
90' + 6'
Pablo Hernandez receives the ball on the left edge of the box and attempts a curling shot in search of a late winner, but his effort is blocked. Kemy Agustien strikes his effort well over the bar before the referee blows the final whistle.
90' + 5'
Goal Danny Graham
90' + 5'
Danny Graham grabs what is surely a late winner for Swansea! Dyer skips past Bennett on the right flank before his low cross bounces through Villa defenders into Ki, who attempts to create space to shoot but allows Graham to take the shot. The striker's shot is blocked but his acrobatic second attempt finds it's way through the massed ranks of defenders into the back of the net!
90' + 4'
Rangel advances down the right flank before attempting to send in a low cross into the box but the cross is cleared.
90' + 3'
The Swans send another long ball towards the Villa box but it is cleared comfortably, as Swansea's effort begins to wane.
90' + 2'
The match is getting to a bad-tempered conclusion as Chico claims Benteke caught his face with his elbow.
90' + 1'
Michu and Matt Lowton appear to have an altercation following the Spaniard's committed challenge on Chris Herd.
Swansea are attempting to build moves through the centre of the pitch but are having little success as the Villa players are playing closer to each other and denying their opponents space to compete.
Hernandez wins a free kick on the left flank. Ki swings in the delivery but Clark heads away from the centre of the box. Villa fail to clear however and Michu and Dyer combine on the edge of the box before Hernandez' cross is cut out.
Weimann dribbles down the right flank before becoming isolated and losing possession.
Jordan Nathaniel Bowery
Penalty Goal Christian Benteke
Benteke gives Aston Villa the lead! The Belgium international sends Michel Vorm the wrong way as he blasts the ball into the bottom left corner.
Villa are awarded a penalty! Nathan Dyer clears a header off the line from Benteke who rose unmarked outside the six-yard box, before fouling Weimann as he challenges for the ball.
Benteke runs onto a loose ball down the left edge of the box and his shot is deflected for a corner.
Barry Bannan comes on in place of the injured Westwood.
Nathan Dyer wins the ball on the right flank from Joe Bennett, before passing down line to Danny Graham. The striker crosses for Michu, who attempts to control the ball before his challenge on Ashley Westwood puts the English midfielder on the floor before he is helped off the pitch by the Villa physios.
Davies allows Benteke no time on the ball to control a ball out of defence and wins the ball back. Benteke and Weimann are now looking extremely lively and could pose a threat on the counter on their own.
Benteke attempts to hold the ball up in the Swans' half, but the home side surround him quickly and win the ball back before launching another attack.
Hernandez floats a cross long the six-yard box but none of his teammates are able to connect.
Benteke and Weimann combine again following a quick ball up the park. Villa are leaving the two up front to attack on the counter with little support, but the defence and midfield have are working as a much tighter unit and have restricted Swansea's attacking threat in the second half.
Benteke is ruled offside attempting to receive a through ball from Weimann following good work down the left flank.
Paul Lambert brings on the attack-minded Australia international midfielder Brett Holman in place of Enda Stevens.
Aston Villa have improved defensively Swansea have created few clear opportunities in the second half. Laudrup takes off goalscorer Routledge for his fellow winger Nathan Dyer to freshen up the attack.
Hernandez and Michu combine effectively on the break but Hernandez gives the ball away to Albrighton with a weak pass to Ben Davies on the left flank. Davies attempts to win the ball back and is fouled in the process, with Ki standing over the ball on the left edge of the box. His delivery fails to beat the wall however.
Jonathan De Guzmán
Laudrup makes a like-for-like change in midfield with Ki Sung-Yeung entering the pitch in place of Jonathan De Guzman.
Chico reacts quickly to get in front of Benteke and prevent the Belgian receiving a ball out of defence.
De Guzman swings in the delivery towards Chico at the back post, but the header is weak and Guzan is able to save the effort.
De Guzman puts Rangel down the right flank, and when he attempts to get inside young left-sider Joe Bennett the ball strikes his hand promping the crowd to appeal for a penalty, but a free kick is awarded.
Benteke gives away a free kick when challenging Chico for a long ball on the edge of the Swansea box.
The crowd voice their displeasure as Leon Britton appears to be the victim of a foul from Albrighton, but play continues.
Chico shepherds the ball out of play for a goal kick after a hopeful ball into Weimann down the left channel.
Clark is hurt in the challenge but is able to come back onto the pitch after receiving treatment.
De Guzman floats a cross from deep on the right flank into the head of Michu, who rises high into the air to win the header over centre-back Chris Herd and the taller Clark before heading into the arms of Guzan.
Matt Lowton gets forward from right-back and rolls the ball across the box from the right edge of the box towards the back post, but his teammates are unable to connect.
Swansea are growing into the half and Danny Graham flashes a low ball across the face of the goal after running onto a good through ball from Pablo Hernandez into the right edge of the box.
De Guzman whips a free kick towards the left edge of the six yard box but keeper Guzan confidently claims the cross.
Routledge cuts inside onto his right foot on the left flank before crossing towards Danny Graham at the back post. The striker leaves the delivery for Pablo Hernandez behind him, but the Spanish attacker volleys his effort right of the near post.
Joe Bennett dribbles inside from the left flank and attempts to thread a through ball to Christian Benteke, but the effort is cut out by the home defence.
Villa pressure Swansea into their own half as the Swans look to keep possession as the half opens.
The referee gets the second half underway!
Michael Laudrup will wonder how his side are not ahead going into half-time, after his Swansea side dominated the game from the whistle almost until half-time. Wayne Routledge ran in behind the Villa defence within the first five minutes, but needed a second attempt to give his side the lead after latching on to Pablo Hernandez' through ball. Michu went on to hit the post twice as his side recorded 68% possession. Things looked grim for Aston Villa, but Andreas Weimann equalised just before half-time with an excellent right-footed finish after Christian Benteke controlled a route one long ball out of defence before sliding the ball into his path. The away side will hope to build on their unexpected equaliser and avoid a fourth straight defeat, while the Swans will resolve to crack open their brittle interior in the second half.
45' + 2'
Michu fires over the bar after a free kick is cleared to the edge of the box. The referee promptly blows the half time whistle.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Fabian Delph
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Enda Stevens
Assist Christian Benteke
Goal Andreas Weimann
Andreas Weimann equalises with his side's first genuine attempt at goal! Enda Stevens finds Christian Benteke with a direct ball out of defence, and after heading the ball down the Belgian international rolls a neat through ball with the outside of his foot into the right channel for his strike partner to run onto. The Austria international still has a lot to do, but his early finish under pressure from Ashley Williams has enough power and placement to roll beyond Michel Vorm into the bottom left corner and equalise for his side.
Chris Herd dribbles the ball out of defence before aiming a ball onto the head of Benteke who heads into the path of Weimann, but left-back Ben Davies wins the ball after anticipating the move..
Yellow Card Andreas Weimann
Albrighton looks for Weimann with a quick ball towards the left flank, and the Austria international goes past Rangel on the outside before reacting furiously when the referee deems the ball to have gone out of play.
Yellow Card Ciaran Clark
Clark is booked for a challenge on Routledge on the right edge of the box.
Routledge receives the ball on the left flank from Michu, and the Sqans swiftly move the ball across to the right flank before attempting a through ball down the right edge of the box, but this time Villa intercept the delivery.
Swansea have had 65% of the possession so far this half, and their dominance has been reflected in Michu's two efforts onto the post as well as Routledge's opening goal. Villa are lucky to be only a goal behind.
Fabian Delph displays impressive composure in his own half to turn beyond his marker and find Weimann down the right channel. He delivers a cross to Benteke at the far post and Marc Albrighton almost gets to the ball after the Belgium international knocks it down, but Chico makes an interception with a sliding tackle.
Leon Britton fires wide from the edge of the box after good work on the left flank from his teammates.
Weimann looks frustrated as he is unable to retain possession after receiving the ball down the right flank.
Swansea are only growing in confidence and are stretching the pitch wide with Pablo Hernandez and Wayne Routledge staying high up on the flanks. The Swans receive another corner but Jonathan De Guzman's delivery from the right flank is poor, and is again poor from his second attempt.
Michu hits the post again! Swansea receive a free kick just beyond the centre circle and De Guzman takes it short towards the edge of the box. The Swans retain possession before working the ball towards the left flank. De Guzman finds Wayne Routledge on the left flank who passes back to Ashley Williams. Williams finds Michu with an excellent ball in the box and the Spaniard turns and fires onto the right post, before Pablo Hernandez unsuccessfully attempts to follow up the effort.
Ashley Westwood takes a corner from the right flank for Villa and aims for Christian Benteke, and although the Belgium international is able to head back towards goal Michel Vorm claims the ball as it bounces around the box.
De Guzman squares the ball to Angel Rangel and the right-back fires wide of the left post with an effort that never posed much threat to Guzman.
Graham attempts to run in behind Clark onto a through ball but is held up by the defender for a free kick outside the box. De Guzman stands over the ball.
Christian Benteke controls a long pass on the left flank but is isolated and soon dispossessed.
Christian Benteke heads down a long ball into Andreas Weimann, who briefly benefits from a fortunate ricochet as he attempts to dribble the ball into the box but goes onto concede possession to the Swans defence.
Chris Herd concedes a corner which the Swans take short passing to Jonathan De Guzman. The midfielder crosses to Danny Graham, who is ruled offside as his header is caught by Brad Guzan.
Swansea are now calmly stroking the ball around the park and seeking to consolidate their early advantage.
Danny Graham hits his shot wide of the left post after receiving a pull back from Wayne Routledge who had been put through on the right channel by right-back Angel Rangel. Villa are being cut to pieces again after enduring a similarly harrowing opening against Wigan.
Michu gets a chance almost straight from the restart, running through on the the edge of the box to intercepting a weak and inaccurate pass to Ciaran Clark before placing his shot onto the left post.
Assist Pablo Hernández
Goal Wayne Routledge
Wayne Routledge, who previously had an unsuccessful spell at Villa in 2008, neatly times his run in behind Ciaran Clark onto a precise through ball from Pablo Hernandez, and takes the ball around keeper Guzan's right before slotting into the net to give the Swans the lead!
Pablo Hernandez is released down the left flank but his pass across goal is unable to reach Michu.
Wayne Routledge gets the first chance of the game after he flicks Michu's header beyond his marker and sprints in behind the Villa defence, but Brad Guzan is off his line quickly and smothers the shot.
Swansea open the first half retaining possession in their own half, but come under pressure from Villa who press heavily in the opening minute.
The referee gets the game underway at the Liberty Stadium!
Paul Lambert makes changes in defence and in midfield from Villa's last disappointing 3-0 defeat at home to Wigan. Left-sided defender Enda Stevens comes in in place of Eric Lichaj, while midfield trio Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph and Marc Albrighton all take the place of Stephen Ireland, Brett Holman and Barry Bannan.
Swansea see 13-goal top scorer Michu return to the starting line-up in place of Nathan Dyer, with Pablo Hernandez moving out wide. Michel Vorm starts in goal while Leon Britton is restored to the starting line-up in place of Kemy Agustien.
Aston Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Herd, Clark, Stevens; Albrighton Delph, Westwood, Bennett; Weimann, Benteke. Substitutes: Given, Ireland, Holman, Bowery, Bannan, Lichaj, Carruthers.
Swansea: Vorm; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Britton, de Guzman; Routledge, Michu, Hernandez; Graham. Substitutes: Tremmel, Tiendalli, Monk, Agustien, Ki, Dyer, Shechter.
Swansea approach the match having collected a win away against Fulham despite the absence of top scorer Michu, while Aston Villa are in danger of going into free fall having conceded 15 goals without reply in their last three matches.
Hi and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary as Swansea take on Aston Villa at the Liberty Stadium! I'm @arthurvirgo and you can make your voice heard on Twitter @GoalUK
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