Wolves v Swans: The big talking points

5th January 2018
First team

Swansea City face a tricky tie in round three of the Emirates FA Cup as they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend.

The Swans have made a promising start to life under new boss Carlos Carvalhal, but take on a Wolves side who are enjoying a superb season.

Here are all the talking points heading into the game.

Nine in a row

Remarkably, the trip to Molineux will be the Swans’ ninth successive away tie in the FA Cup.

Only one team has ever had a longer run of consecutive away ties in the competition. That was Stockport County, who were sent on the road 11 times in a row between 1996 and 2001.

The last time the Swans were drawn at home in this cup was in round three back in 2012-13.

Michael Laudrup’s team drew 2-2 with Arsenal that day, but lost the replay 1-0.

Up for the cup?

The Premier League is always the priority for the Swans, and that is all the more clear right now with the club in desperate need of points as they look to escape relegation danger.

So is the cup an unwanted distraction?

The Swans do not have a huge number of options right now with a clutch of players on the sidelines, but nevertheless, a victory this weekend would be most welcome.

Carvalhal has started life as Swans boss brightly.

Even if there are no points on offer tomorrow, a win at Wolves would be a notable result and would build momentum ahead of the top-flight trip to Newcastle in eight days’ time.

Portuguese flavour

As was the case at Watford last Sarturday, Carvalhal will come face to face with a fellow countryman on the touchline this weekend.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is a former goalkeeper who played for the likes of Vitoria Guimaraes, Deportivo La Coruna and Porto.

He has also coached Porto, as well as Valencia, before joining Wolves last summer.

And he is not the only Portuguese at Molineux. There are no fewer than seven Portuguese players in Nuno’s squad, while his backroom team is packed with his compatriots.

Remember the last time?

If there are as many goals this weekend as there were the last time these clubs met in a competitive game, we are in for an entertaining game.

The Swans faced Wolves in pre-season friendly at Molineux a couple of summers back, with Wayne Routledge scoring twice in a 4-0 victory for the visitors.

But the last competitive meeting was in the Premier League back in April 2012, and it was quite a game.

The Swans were ahead inside a minute through Andrea Orlandi, and by the 15-minute mark it was 3-0 after strikes from Joe Allen and Nathan Dyer.

Steve Fletcher pulled one back on 28 minutes only for Danny Graham to make it 4-1 moments later.

Yet Wolves were not beaten. Matt Jarvis quickly made it 4-2, then Dave Edwards scored the Black Country club’s third goal early in the second half.

And the comeback was complete when Jarvis made it 4-4 21 minutes from time.

Bony boost

The Swans have injury concerns over the likes of Tammy Abraham, Leon Britton, Ki Sung-Yueng and Angel Rangel, while Kyle Naughton remains suspended.

But there is some good news for Carvalhal, with Wilfried Bony hopeful of being involved at Molineux after returning to full training.

The big man’s presence, experience and goal threat would make him a welcome addition to the Swans side.

Hungry Wolves

Wolves have been in spectacular form so far this season, and are being hailed as one of the best Championship sides in recent memory.

The table suggests as much, with Nuno’s team a whopping 12 points clear at the top of the table as attention switches to the cup.

They already look destined for the Premier League next season, with the likes of Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves proving they are too good for the second tier.

Certainly, Nuno’s team will be full of confidence as they get set to host the Swans.