Preview | Swansea City v Watford

30th December 2022
First team
Photo showing Stadium by the river

Swansea City will look to round out 2022 by returning to winning ways when they host Watford at the Stadium tonight (7.45pm).

The Swans have suffered frustration in recent weeks with head coach Russell Martin challenging his players to show a ruthless mentality in both boxes to make the most of their good work in the middle part of the pitch.

They face a Watford side also looking to bounce back from disappointment after their Boxing Day defeat at Millwall, although the Hornets remain fourth in the Championship table despite that setback.

Next match:
Friday 30th December // 19:45

Team news

Olivier Ntcham v Brazil

The Swans are waiting on the fitness of Olivier Ntcham as the midfielder recovers from illness.

Otherwise the hosts are set to have the same squad to choose from as for the defeat at Reading, with Michael Obafemi not yet set to return.

Watford are set to be without the suspended Hassane Kamara following his red card against Millwall, while Joao Pedro is an injury absentee for the visitors.

Pre-match views

Russell Martin Reading

Russell Martin: "I'm not sure it's our job to pick the players up any more, they have to pick each other up.

"It's our job to find a way to stop the goals happening.

"Maybe we are being too nice to them, and maybe that doesn't breed a real ugliness or aggressive approach in the box. We have to try and manufacture a way to find that if it's not natural to them.

"Something obviously needs to change because it's happened too much. Our job is to find what we have to change. We haven't found a solution yet. Again, we'll work with the players on it, see what they feel.

"Really, the goals come down to a willingness to fight for each other for what you're doing and to protect your goal.

"It may be hard when the balance in possession is composure, calmness and courage, but then you need to show courage in a different way when you're defending your own box, when you have to throw your body on the line."

Slaven Bilic: "We had a meeting and we spoke about that Millwall game. On one hand, you want to forget about the game and put it to bed because you have another challenge [against Swansea City], but you also have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

“We needed that meeting and we go to Swansea City with a good opportunity to show what we can do, and what we have been doing recently.

“We already played them and it was a good game. It looked like it was going to be a draw with the long break during the match.

“They are the side that has the most possession in the league by far and they haven’t won in eight, but they are consistent in the way they play and they do it well. Once again, we know what we have to do to get a good result for us.”

Remember the last time?

Jamal Lowe struck a superb double as Swansea City came from behind to start 2021 with victory over Watford, and climb to second in the Championship table when the Hornets last visited the Stadium.

Tom Cleverley had given the Hornets the lead, but the Swans took control of the contest and levelled with a lovely strike from the in-form Lowe.

And the striker completed the turnaround in the second half as he headed home his eighth goal of the season, and his sixth in six games.

Prime numbers

Reading away Liam Cullen celebration

1 – Liam Cullen has scored in consecutive games for the first time in his senior career. He scored in back-to-back appearances against Nottingham Forest and Wycombe during the 2020-21 season, but those fixtures were separated by three months.

3 – These sides have proved to be evenly-matched in recent years, with the Swans and Hornets claiming three wins apiece from the last six meetings. In fact, there has been just one draw in the last 10 contests.