Swansea City were held in the FA Cup away to Championship club Sheffield Wednesday. The Swans have been drawn to face lower league opposition in every round of the competition so far and this occasion saw Carlos Carvalhal return to his former club. It was a huge day for him and he will be slightly disappointed by the performance that he witnessed.
Although the Premier League side selected a talented team, it was an even contest and both teams had chances to score. Neither team deserved to go through on this viewing and they will have to meet again at the Liberty Stadium in just over a week’s time.
It will be interesting to see who will await the winners of this tie in the next round and that could dictate whether Swansea take the replay seriously or not. Here are three talking points from Hillsborough:
Tammy Abraham didn’t take his opportunity
It was a frustrating day for Tammy Abraham as he had few chances to impress in the final third and he was taken off midway in the second half. That will be a disappointment for the forward as this was an opportunity to earn more game-time in the Premier League and his contribution on Saturday is unlikely to bring that.
During the match, he failed to have a single attempt on goal, while his pass success was at a poor 58%. The service he received was non-existent as shown in the second half when Luciano Narsingh refused to play the striker in.
Abraham did nice work to release the winger and spin in behind his marker, but the return ball didn’t arrive. The striker was visibly annoyed that the ball wasn’t given back.
Jordan Ayew was the man that replaced Abraham and he offered more when he was on the pitch. He was willing to drop deep to be given possession, while he got two attempts in on goal during his short time on the pitch.
His distribution was more effective, as displayed by his two key passes. The former Aston Villa man is the player that should lead the line for the relegation-threatened club.
Adam Reach stood out in midfield
This has been a season to forget for Sheffield Wednesday as they are a considerable distance off promotion, despite being one of the best Championship teams in recent seasons.
The match against Swansea provided the players with an opportunity to prove they can compete with Premier League opposition and Adam Reach was one of the standout performers.
The 25-year-old showed glimpses of both attacking and defensive quality, which shows he can contribute in both halves of the pitch. He will be the first to admit his final ball could have been better, but he regularly got in positions to cause problems for the away side. During the match, he attempted three shots and completed 86% of his passes.
Meanwhile, he worked hard out of possession and didn’t allow Swansea to dominate the midfield battle. Reach won four tackles and made a further two interceptions. He was relentless in work rate and his energy rubbed off on the rest of the team. The midfielder will be a player to keep an eye on in the replay.
Alfie Mawson had to miss the match through injury
The Swansea City defender was pencilled in to start in the match, but he was injured in the warm up and had to be replaced in the starting eleven by Kyle Naughton.
This was a major blow for the team as Mawson is a born leader at the back and offers composure to the back-line. He was later pictured wearing a knee brace and holding crutches, in what was a worrying sight.
The last thing Swansea need is a serious injury, especially to one of the team’s most important players. Towards the end of the game, the cameras showed that he was moving his leg more freely, but it is a concern nonetheless.
Naughton came in and did well, with one excellent challenge saving a goal in the first-half. The entire Swansea defence played well, with Kyle Bartley standing out as a Premier League centre-half.
The former Leeds United loanee won five aerial duels and made four ball recoveries. He could be required to step up if Mawson has to miss some of the run-in.