Swansea set to face former Liverpool forward in Europa League tie
Date: 24th October 2013
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Swansea City’s meeting with Kuban Krasnodar at the Liberty Stadium will mark a series of firsts. The Swans have never faced a Russian club in a competitive match, while Kuban, competing in European competition for the first time, have never come up against a side from the Premier League. What’s more, no Russian side have won on a trip to a Premier League outfit since Zenit St. Petersburg overcome Bradford City back in 2000 – a run that stretches back 19 matches.
To make things slightly worse, Kuban – who replaced manager Dorinel Munteanu with BATE Borisov boss Viktor Goncharenko last week – are having a torrid time in the Russian Premier League and have picked up just one win from their last nine fixtures in all competitions – Goncharenko’s first game in charge ending in a 3-1 defeat at Dynamo Moscow. However, Goncharenko has no issues about the magnitude of the task he has taken on at Kuban. ”There is no such thing as an impossible task,” the 36-year-old told the media in Russia earlier this week.
Team News: Swansea City
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has named a strong starting line-up during his side’s previous two games in the Europa League and the Dane is expected to do the same again for the visit of Kuban.
Jonjo Shelvey could start in the midfield, while full-back Dwight Tiendalli is expected to come into the team at right-back. Laudrup will be forced to cope without left-back, Ben Davies, who picked up an ankle injury in the win over Sunderland, while captain Ashley Williams (ankle) remains a doubt having been absent from first-team and Welsh international duties since Swansea’s 0-2 victory at Crystal Palace in late September.
Team News: Kuban Krasnodar
There is likely to be a familiar face within the Krasnodar line-up on Thursday night, this will come in the form of Djibril Cisse. The 32-year-old, who has previously played for Liverpool and QPR among others, joined the Russian side during the summer. Alexei Kozlov and Charles Kabore were missing for Kuban in the match against Dynamo Moscow on Sunday, and remain doubts for the trip to south Wales. Kabore and Kozlov are most likely to be rested or won’t feature for the whole 90 minutes as Kuban have a tough league game against Anzhi that follows at the weekend.
Swansea recovered from back-to-back league defeats to Arsenal and Southampton by putting Sunderland to the sword in a 4-0 victory on Saturday. In terms of the Europa League, Swansea have been immaculate so far during their two games, winning both and keeping two clean sheets in the process.
As mentioned, Kuban haven’t been in the best form domestically and have (if possible) been worse in Europe, the Russian side have conceded four without finding the net, losing 2-0 in Switzerland to St. Gallen and at home to Valencia so far during their Europa League campaign. The Russian outfit are in need of a win and will hope that Swansea have an off day and that they are able to capitalise on it.
Player To Watch:
Swansea City – Jonathan De Guzman
De Guzman has been the Swans star man so far throughout their Europa League campaign, the Dutch midfielder has scored a terrific goal, played the most successful passes and won the most tackles so far in Europe for them. These statistics prove exactly why he is so crucial to Swansea.
Kuban Krasnodar – Ibrahima Balde
The 24 year-old Senegalese striker is currently Kuban’s top scorer so far this season. The former-Atletico Madrid man has scored five goals in the Russian top-flight and will be hoping to take his form into the Europa League.
Although Kuban have the players and potential to cause Swansea problems, they shouldn’t get anything out of the game. Swansea have looked mightily impressive so far throughout this campaign and will want to continue that form on Thursday night, their only issue could be without Ashley Williams, they look more fragile at the back but if they manage to play well without the Wales captain, it should be one-way traffic.
Swansea City 4-0 Kuban Krasnodar