Swansea City and Middlesbrough played out a goalless draw in South Wales, which did nothing to relieve pressure on either side.
It was important not to lose this match, but given the results across the weekend, both teams would have been targeting a win.
This result has left the hosts only a point above the relegation zone, while Boro are four points adrift of safety.
Although there is a long way to go, this was a missed opportunity for both sides as they each had chances to win the game.
Here are three things that we learnt on Sunday at the Liberty Stadium…
Paul Clement doesn’t trust the players outside the first eleven
It was a huge blow for the hosts when Fernando Llorente missed out on the squad through injury and it was clear that they missed the Spanish striker as Jordan Ayew didn’t offer the same threat in the final third. The team’s top scorer has been excellent since moving to the club in the summer and he brings the best out of the other players in the Swansea attack. His replacement was lively and worked hard, but he didn’t threaten in the same way and only attempted two shots during the match, despite the home side dominating the play for most of the game.
Despite his side failing to make a breakthrough, Paul Clement didn’t choose to make a single substitution and that suggests that he doesn’t trust the players outside of the first team. Borja Baston and Jefferson Montero are both players that could have made an impact, but they weren’t given the chance. If Swansea stay up this season, it is likely that Clement would want to have a big clear out in the summer as there are a number of players that aren’t good enough for the side.
Adama Traore remains a divisive figure
The former Aston Villa man is a player that divides opinion on social media and he delivered another promising yet frustrating performance this afternoon. He was a constant threat as he consistently beat opposition players, completing an incredible 11 dribbles during the match. The winger is one of the best players in the league at beating defenders with his pace and power. However, he still hasn’t contributed a single goal or an assist this season, an incredible stat for a player with his dribbling quality.
During the match, he completed only 67% of his passes and that is a concern for Steve Agnew, as he needs to be more reliable in possession, especially at this stage of the season. The main problem with Traore is that it was okay to be poor in his final ball at the beginning of the season as he was still inexperienced and recovering from a season marred by injuries. However, he has shown little improvement throughout the season and questions need to be asked about whether he has the technical ability to succeed at this level. If Middlesbrough are relegated, there will be interest from other Premier League clubs. Managers will believe that they can be the one to unlock his potential, but he needs to do more himself to prove that he is worth the risk.
Martin Olsson was an excellent signing for Swansea
Although he has two relegations on his CV, Martin Olsson is an accomplished Premier League left back and it was a smart piece of business from Swansea to bring him to the club. The Swans may not have earned the three points this afternoon, but Olsson was one of their better performers. He played his part defensively to thwart Middlesbrough when they did threaten. The Swedish international completed three ball retrievals and six clearances during the match.
He offers good balance the Swansea side and is a reliable option in attack. His presence on the left wing allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson to take up central positions, which is where the Icelandic midfielder performs does most damage. The one disappointment from his performance will be his pass success rate of 69%, but he did have the ball in more advanced positions and delivered a lot of crosses, which explains why it is lower than the rest of the back four. Despite his low profile, Olsson could turn out to be one of the best signings made in the January transfer window.
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