Manager-less Swansea City entertain AFC Bournemouth at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow afternoon – their first match since the sacking of Bob Bradley. Alan Curtis and Paul Williams are set to take temporary charge of the Swans for this clash, with Bradley losing his job after just 85 days in charge. The 4-1 thrashing at the hands of West Ham United on Boxing Day was the final straw for the 58-year-old American, who had won two of his 11 matches since succeeding Francesco Guidolin. With only 12 points to their name and this fixture marking the halfway point of the campaign, Swansea are in desperate need of a return to winning ways. They will lock horns with a Bournemouth side who are seven points clear of the relegation zone, but who have only tasted victory once on their travels this season.
As you might expect of a team mired in the relegation zone and whose manager has just been relieved of his duties, Swansea’s recent form is nothing to write home about. They have lost their past three matches and are only off the foot of the table by virtue of a superior goal difference. However, no Premier League team has conceded more goals than the Swans – so it’s clear where their issues lie. Bournemouth meanwhile, have also had their fair share of defensive problems, having conceded three goals in five of their past six outings. They are currently in the relative safety of mid-table, but back-to-back defeats to Southampton and Chelsea have left them looking over their shoulder, rather than up towards the top half of the table.
Fernando Llorente is pressing his case for a starting berth after scoring a consolation goal against West Ham. Jefferson Montero has been ruled out for a month with a hamstring strain, but Neil Taylor is in contention for a recall following an injury lay-off. For Bournemouth, Junior Stanislas looks set to return to the line-up in place of Brad Smith after recovering from an ankle injury. Nathan Ake is available again after being ruled ineligible to face his parent club, and is set to resume his partnership in central defence with Steve Cook. Eddie Howe may have to decide between skipper Simon Francis and Adam Smith at right-back.
Swansea City starting XI AFC Bournemouth starting XI
[sfve id1=”446″ id2=”445″]
Nine goals were scored in the two fixtures between these teams last season and, given the defensive frailties on display, there is no reason to suggest this won’t be another high-scoring affair. Swansea are desperate for a victory and will be encouraged by their opponents’ poor away record. But Bournemouth have shown they can be a match for any team in the top-flight and will feel they can take advantage of a club in disarray, on and off the pitch. Swansea’s performance against West Ham was nothing short of diabolical and it will take a monumental effort to turn around their fortunes in such a short space of time.
Score prediction: Swansea 1-3 Bournemouth