OTJ column: A good week

31st October 2018
Club

In his seventh column of the season, former midfielder Owain Tudur Jones gives his views on all things Swansea City.

OTJ made 56 appearances for the Swans during a four-year period in which he helped the club win the League One title and the Football League Trophy.

Now, after a 13-year career which saw him play for eight clubs and earn seven Wales caps, he is working in the media as a respected pundit.

Here, he brings you his latest column.

Bouncing back

After defeats to Ipswich Town and Aston Villa, it was great to see the players prove a lot of doubters wrong once again.

The team is showing so much character already this season, and that’s such a positive sign considering the average age of the squad.

There are only a few senior players in the regular starting XI, so it’s hugely refreshing to see the youngsters taking the responsibility on their own shoulders.

An example is the Blackburn game, where the Swans found themselves a goal down.

Many youngsters in football would drop their heads and get frustrated. But they came out for the second half looking fully charged and determined. Kudos to Graham Potter for his half-time chat, but also to the players for responding to a below-par first half.

Maybe the youngsters don’t overthink certain things during a game that a more senior player would, and perhaps a certain naivety benefits them too. Whatever it is, these young guns are certainly making Swans supporters feel so proud watching them play.

The little greyhound

What a pleasure it has been to watch Daniel James over the past few games.

Oli McBurnie called him a little greyhound after the Reading win, and it’s not hard to see why.

He has pace to burn and is similar to Jefferson Montero in many ways. Imagine James and Montero on each wing? That would cause more screams than Halloween!

It’s great to see him getting a chance, but now the hard work starts.

Opposing teams will be more aware of what he’s about, so he can expect more attention in upcoming games.

That’s the challenge the likes of Gareth Bale and Ronaldo face week in, week out, so it will be interesting to see how Daniel copes.

To change, or not to change?

I’ve heard a few grumbles from supporters recently about the number of changes being made for each match.

It’s an interesting debate because if you make changes and win then you’re a genius. But make changes and lose and, well, you’re going to get some stick. That’s how football works.

Potter made a formation change for the Aston Villa game and it didn’t work. He switched it for the second half and the Swans looked more comfortable yet lost.

There were some questioning the changes during the first half against Blackburn. From 1-0 down the Swans went on to win it. Genius.

As a footballer I hated change. If I played well one week then I found it hard to miss out the following game.

I can also recall Roberto Martinez discussing a potential change from midfield to centre-back when I returned from a long lay-off.

I felt it was too big a change after so long out.

But this group of players have simply had to adapt.

There are a number of changes each game, while the likes of Connor Roberts, Kyle Naughton, McBurnie and Bersant Celina – to name but a few – have played out of position.

It doesn’t faze this group though.

The changing room can be the best place on earth when you’re all happy, but it only takes one or two players to become disruptive and that affects the whole set-up.

The good thing about this group is that everyone seems to respect Potter’s changes and why he’s making them.

Results have backed up his changes, but don’t be fooled into thinking he’s changing things for the sake of it.

I believe he has one eye on how to stop the opposition and the other on how his team can pick up points.

So far no-one can really doubt his methods. Long may that continue.

Hit the road Jack

So after two home games the Swans are on the road for two matches.

There may be some who look at Rotherham and Bolton and think it’s a great chance to pick up six points and make it four wins in a row.

The Championship simply does not operate like that. Take the Ipswich defeat as a prime example.

It will be different playing at these venues, too, compared to going to Villa and playing in front of more than 40,000.

I remember playing at Tranmere, where you are close to the crowd and you can hear everything they say.

I had chucked the ball to a team-mate to take a throw-in a few times, and I was called everything under the sun.

Sometimes these can be the more difficult environments to play in than a packed stadium.

JD Welsh Premier League

Another fantastic weekend of action saw The New Saints return to the top – but don’t be fooled by that.

The season is proving to be hugely competitive, and TNS have Connah’s Quay Nomads and surprise package Barry Town hot on their heels.

Connah’s Quay drew at Caernarfon Town on Friday while TNS were expected to open up a three-point gap when they went to Newton, only to draw 1-1.

I’m at Sgorio’s live game between Bala and Cardiff Met on Saturday, and that should be a great game.

They are fifth and sixth in the table, and victory for either will ensure they are not far behind the leading pack.

Carmarthen Town look like they are close to pulling themselves out of the relegation zone following a decent draw at Met.

Sadly, for the other South Wales team, it doesn’t look so bright. Llanelli were beaten at home by Aberystwyth and are bottom.

They head to Connah’s Quay this weekend – a team they lost 7-0 to on the opening day of the season.

Friday: Aberystwyth Town v The New Saints (7.45pm)

Cefn Druids v Newtown (7.45pm)

Saturday: Carmarthen Town v Caernarfon Town (2.30pm)

Connah’s Quay v Llanelli Town (2.30pm)

Bala Town v Cardiff Met (7.30pm – live on S4C)

Sunday: Barry Town United v Llandudno (2.30pm)

Listen to OTJ’s regular podcast - The Longman's Football World Podcast – on iTunes, PodBean and all good podcast apps.
You can also follow OTJ on Instagram and Twitter.

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Dysgu sut i ennill ar ôl colli

Ar ôl colli yn erbyn Ipswich Town ac Aston Villa, dw i wedi mwynhau gwylio’r chwaraewyr yn ateb y beirniaid yn ôl efo’u perfformiadau diweddar.

Mae’r tîm yma eisoes wedi dangos eu cymeriad y tymor hwn ac mae hynny’n arwydd bositif pan ‘da chi’n ystyried oedran y garfan ar gyfartaledd.

Dim ond llond llaw o chwaraewyr profiadol sydd yn yr un-ar-ddeg yn gyson, ac mae’n galonogol i weld chwaraewyr iau yn cymryd y cyfrifoldeb ei hunain.

Mae’r gêm yn erbyn Blackburn yn enghraifft dda o hynny, gêm roedd yr Elyrch yn colli ar un adeg, wedi iddyn nhw ildio gôl.

Mi fuasai llawer iawn o chwaraewyr ifanc yn mynd yn rhwystredig a cholli eu pennau yn y sefyllfa yna. Ond mi ddaeth y chwaraewyr allan am yr ail hanner yn edrych yn benderfynol ac yn frwdfrydig. Chwarae teg i

Graham Potter am ei ddylanwad dros hanner amser, ond hefyd i’r chwaraewyr am allu ymateb mor dda i’r sefyllfa.

Beth bynnag sy’n ysbrydoli’r hogiau ifanc, mae’r cefnogwyr yn sicr yn falch iawn o safon eu perfformiadau hyd yma.

Y milgi bach

Am bleser mae o ‘di bod i wylio Daniel James dros y gemau diwethaf.

Ar ôl y gêm yn erbyn Reading, fe wnaeth Oli McBurnie ei alw’n filgi bach, ac mae’n hawdd gweld pam.

Mae ganddo gyflymdra aruthrol ac mae’n chwaraewr tebyg i Jefferson Montero mewn sawl ffordd.

Dychmygwch weld James a Montero ar y ddwy asgell! Byddai hynny’n dychryn amddiffynwyr yn fwy na Chalan Gaeaf!

Mae’n wych i weld o’n cael cyfle, ond dyma le mae’r gwaith caled yn cychwyn.

Mae’r gwrthwynebwyr bellach yn fwy effro i sut mae o’n chwarae, felly mi fydd o’n siŵr o gael mwy o sylw gan amddiffynwyr dros y gemau nesaf. Dyna’r her mae chwaraewyr fel Bale a Ronaldo’n ei wynebu bob wythnos, felly mi fydd hi’n ddiddorol gweld sut mae Daniel yn ymdopi â hynny.

Newid yn chenj?

Dw i wedi clywed ambell i gŵyn gan gefnogwyr yn ddiweddar am y nifer o newidiadau sy’n cael eu gwneud ar gyfer pob gêm. Os yw’r rheolwr yn gwneud lot o newidiadau ac mae’r tîm yn ennill, mae’n athrylith. Ond os yw’r tîm yn colli ar ôl iddo wneud sawl newid, mae’n cael ei feirniadu Dyna sut mae pêl-droed yn gweithio.

Penderfynodd Potter newid siâp y tîm ar gyfer gêm Aston Villa, heb gael llawer o lwyddiant. Fe ddaru o newid y siâp eto ar hanner amser ac mi oedd y Swans yn edrych yn fwy cyfforddus, ond colli oedd eu hanes.

Roedd rhai’n cwestiynu’r newidiadau yn ystod hanner cyntaf y gêm yn erbyn Blackburn. Ond o fod gôl i lawr, fe aethon nhw ymlaen i ennill y gêm.

Fel chwaraewr, roeddwn i’n casáu newid. Os oeddwn i ‘di chwarae’n dda un wythnos, ro’n i’n gweld hi’n anodd methu allan ar y gêm nesaf.

Dwi’n cofio Roberto Martinez yn sôn am geisio fy nhrawsnewid o chwaraewr canol cae i fod yn amddiffynnwr canol cae ar ôl i mi wella o anaf hir dymor. Roeddwn i’n gweld o fel newid rhy fawr ar ôl treulio gymaint o amser allan. Ond mae’r grŵp yma wedi gorfod addasu.

Mae sawl chwaraewr, gan gynnwys Connor Roberts, Kyle Naughton, McBurnie, Bersant Celina, wedi gorfod chwarae allan o’u safleoedd arferol. Ond tydi hynny ddim yn poeni’r garfan yma.

Yr ystafell newid ydi’r lle gorau yn y byd pan mae pawb yn hapus, ond yn sydyn iawn mae’r awyrgylch yn troi pan mae un neu ddau yn dechrau cwyno.

Y peth da am y grŵp yma ydi fod pawb i’w weld yn parchu Potter a’r rhesymeg tu ôl i’r holl newidiadau.

Mae’r canlyniadau da wedi cyfiawnhau’r holl newidiadau, ond mae ‘na rhesymau da tu ôl iddo’i gyd. Dw i’n meddwl bod o’n edrych i stopio’r gwrthwynebwyr ac yn edrych ar bob gêm yn unigol a gweld beth yw’r ffordd fwyaf ymarferol i gasglu pwyntiau. Hyd yma, gall neb beirniadu ei ffordd o weithio a gobeithio y bydd hynny barhau.

Bant â’r cart, Jac

Felly ar ôl dwy gêm yn y Liberty, mae Abertawe oddi cartref am y ddwy nesaf.

Mi fydd rhai’n ystyried gemau yn erbyn Rotherham a Bolton fel cyfle i hel chwe phwynt ac ymestyn y rhediad o fuddugoliaethau. Ond dim fel ‘na mae’r bencampwriaeth yn gweithio. Fe ddaru’r golled yn erbyn Ipswich brofi hynny.

Mi fydd hi’n wahanol iawn i chwarae yn y meysydd yma i gymharu efo chwarae o flaen 40,000 yn Villa Park.

Dw i’n cofio chwarae yn Tranmere lle ti’n clywed popeth mae’r dorf yn eu gweiddi. Es i’r ystlys i nôl y bêl a’i basio at y person oedd yn cymryd tafliad, ac roedd y cefnogwyr yn fy ngalw i’n bob math o bethau.

Weithiau, mae chwarae mewn llefydd fel hynny yn anoddach na chwarae mewn stadiwm lawn.

Uwch Gynghrair Cymru JD

Ar ôl penwythnos gwych arall, fe wnaeth y Seintiau Newydd ddychwelyd i’r brig - ond nid dyna’r stori gyfan.

Mae’r tymor yma’n un gystadleuol dros ben ac mae gan y Seintiau dimoedd fel Cei Connah a’r Barri yn eu herio.

Gêm gyfartal gafodd Cei Connah yn erbyn Caernarfon, ond methodd y Seintiau a chymryd mantais wrth iddyn nhw gael eu dal 1-1 yn y Drenewydd.

Mi fydda i yn y gêm rhwng y Bala a Met Caerdydd nos Sadwrn yma ac mi ddylai honno fod yn gêm a hanner.

Maen nhw’n bumed a chweched yn y tabl ac mi fyddai buddugoliaeth i’r ddau dîm yn cadw nhw o fewn cyrraedd i’r tri thîm uwch eu pennau.

Mae Caerfyrddin yn edrych fel bod ganddyn nhw ddigon i dynnu ei hunain allan o safleoedd disgyn ar ôl iddyn nhw gael gêm gyfartal dda oddi cartref yn y Met.

Yn anffodus i’r tîm arall o’r de, dydi pethau ddim yn edrych gystal. Mae Llanelli ar waelod y tabl ar ôl colli cartref yn eu gêm ddiwethaf.

Maen nhw’n mynd i Gei Connah y penwythnos yma - tîm rhoddodd grasfa o 7 gôl i ddim yn eu herbyn yng ngêm gynta’r tymor.

Dydd Gwener: Aberystwyth v Y Seintiau Newydd (19.45)

Derwyddon Cefn v Y Drenewydd (19.45)

Dydd Sadwrn: Caerfyrddin v Caernarfon (14.30)

Cei Connah v Llanelli (14.30)

Y Bala v Met Caerdydd – (19.30 – Yn Fyw ar S4C)

Dydd Sul 4: Y Barri v Llandudno (14.30)

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