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Five points on Swansea - with Rob Phillips, BBC Wales

Posted on 16 September 2017  - 11:00

The voice of football in Wales, BBC Wales Football Correspondent Rob Phillips knows today's opponents Swansea inside-out. Here's what he had to tell us ahead of the Premier League encounter, in our 'Five Points' feature...

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robRob Phillips
Football Correspondent
BBC Wales

Point 1 - Swansea’s form

Rob: “The performance against Newcastle wasn’t great, it has to be said. There was a big build-up and expectation with the return of Wilfried Bony and Renato Sanches making his debut, but Sanches had a difficult time. Paul Clement told the press on Thursday not to worry about Sanches though, he’ll be fine, he just needs to settle in. Overall, looking at the start, take away the Newcastle game and they drew at Southampton, lost but played well for an hour against Manchester United and then won at Palace, a really good result. Newcastle was a bit of a let down but Swansea will hope it was just a one-off.”

Below: Alfie Mawson

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Point 2 - Player to watch

Rob: “I would say given the departures of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente, stand-out players last season, the most consistent player at Swansea is Alfie Mawson, the young centre-half. The team lost Ashley Williams to Everton a year-and-a-half ago and we all wondered what might happen, but Huw Jenkins (chairman) has a way of picking out young talent and did that with young Mawson, who started his career at Brentford and Swansea signed from Barnsley. He’s settled really well in the Premier League, scored some big goals and looks a really accomplished centre-back.”

Below: Paul Clement

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Point 3 - Paul Clement’s views

Rob: “I was at Paul Clement's press conference on Thursday and he said he wants to see a reaction after last week’s defeat against Newcastle. He said that’s been put away now, they’ve done the analysis and now they look forward. He’s excited by the prospect of playing Spurs at Wembley and whenever he comes up against a top side, he often refers back to last season when they beat Liverpool at Anfield, a win against-all-odds, arguably their best win and they were terrific that day. They also picked up a draw at United. He makes the point that they have shown last season that they can go to the big teams in the Premier League and get results and he’ll be hoping to do that on Saturday.”

Below: Sam Clucas

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Point 4 - Swansea’s target for 2017-18

Rob: “I’ll refer to what Paul Clement said on Thursday. Sam Clucas, the midfielder, said in an interview this week that they would be happy with mid-table. When that was put to Paul Clement, he thought about for a while and said they want to finish higher than they did last season (15th). If you look at last season’s table now, it looks fairly comfortable, but with two games to go they were very much in the relegation mix. They hit form at the right time and the bottom line is they want to avoid being in another relegation fight. That will depend on how they replace the goals they’ve lost with Sigurdsson and Llorente departing.”

Below: Ben Davies

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Point 5 - Spurs

Rob: “Can I be really biased? I’d say what has thrilled me most of all about Spurs is the form of Ben Davies. He’s been sensational. His form for Tottenham has also been reflected in his form for Wales. I would argue that through the Euros last year, Ben and Aaron Ramsey were Wales’ best players and since the Euros in the World Cup qualifying campaign, Ben Davies has been Wales’ best player by some way. He’s now showing what a good player he is, a top-class Premier League player.”