Swans v Sheff Utd: The big talking points

18th January 2019
First team

Swansea City will hope to continue their unbeaten start to 2019 when they host Championship high-flyers Sheffield United at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday (5.30pm).

Here are the big talking points as the Swans get set for their first home game of the new year.

Home improvements

Swansea City return to the Liberty on the back of an unbeaten three-match sequence on their travels to start 2019.

That run has lifted morale after a disappointing Christmas period and Graham Potter and his men will be keen to push on with four of their next five games in all competitions coming at the Liberty Stadium.

But, to take advantage, Potter has himself acknowledged the need for the Swans to start picking up results in SA1.

They have taken five wins and three draws from 13 home game in the Championship, leaving them with a tally of 18 points that comes in one fewer than that picked up in away games.

It will be no easy task against a Sheffield United side who are sitting second in the table and have won their last four league fixtures, but a three-point haul on Saturday night would be the ideal way to start maximising the points return at home.

With the Swans still only six points off the play-off places, home improvements over the coming months could yet prove very important in the final analysis.

To change or not to change?

Graham Potter’s selection at Preston last weekend marked the first time the 43-year-old had named an unchanged starting line-up in his time as Swans boss.

It remains to be seen whether that will be the case this weekend but he has some interesting choices to make.

Courtney Baker-Richardson has made the most of the chance to start up front and has scored in consecutive games, but Potter has topscorer Oli McBurnie back in the mix after illness.

Similarly, Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge have made strong contributions in recent weeks, meaning Daniel James has had to bide his time on the bench following his return from injury.

As ever, expect the final XI to provide some intriguing talking points this weekend.

Cutting-edge Blades

Few had Sheffield United among the pre-season promotion favourites prior to the start of the campaign, and fewer still would have backed them following Swansea’s opening-day win at Bramall Lane back in August.

However, they have confounded the doubters and an excellent run of form has seen them move into the automatic promotion places.

That rise has been built around a solid defence, and the reliable goalscoring form of Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick, who have caused all manner of problems for opponents.

Between them they have 26 league goals and the last time the Blades netted in a league game without one of the forward pair being among the scorers was against Brentford back in mid-November.

They are in a rich vein of form – Sharp recently became the EFL’s highest scorer this century after taking his tally to 220 – and keeping them quiet could be key for the Swans.

History on the Swans side

While the visitors are a side in form, they have had little joy when it comes to playing in Swansea down the years.

The Blades have not beaten the Swans in SA1 since November of 1958, shortly after the first broadcast of Grandstand had taken place.

The South Yorkshire club had won on eight of their 13 trips to Swansea, but have gone winless in seven meetings over the last 61 years.

Swansea have won five of those games – including the most recent in 2011 – while the other two ended in draws.

Potter’s men will certainly hope that history proves a good omen.