Swansea City picked up their first home points of the season, as a Tammy Abraham brace was enough to win 2-0 against Huddersfield Town.
Swansea took the lead through Abraham, who capitalised on an error by Jonas Lossl to tap home the opening goal.
Abraham then doubled his and Swansea's tally, finishing into an empty net following an inventive chip by Jordan Ayew.
New shape for Swans
Swansea started the game in a 4-3-3 system, with Luciano Narsingh and Jordan Ayew playing out wide. Paul Clement has been searching for someone to fill the Gylfi Sigurdsson-shaped void in his side since Swansea decided not to sign a replacement.
In fact, just one of Swansea’s summer signings started this game. Wilfried Bony and Renato Sanches were injured, but record signing Sam Clucas couldn’t start over any of the midfield three and £10 million Roque Mesa – reportedly injury free – was left out of the squad completely.
Swansea had a flurry of early chances amidst a bright start, first Lossl saved very well from a powerful shot courtesy of Abraham before Ayew’s close-range effort was deflected wide.
The 4-3-3 seemed to suit Swansea, as they were able to get more pace out wide and retain the three-man-midfield that Clement seems to favour. It also allowed for Ayew and Narsingh to operate in wide areas which resulted in more crosses for Abraham to attack.
The game provided lots of grit, as even early on there were several meaty challenges. Both teams clearly knew what was at stake as they both came into the game with one win a piece this season.
Leroy Fer could even have been sent off for a second yellow as Elias Kachunga cut inside, Fer tried his best to bring the forward down but he went on to have a tame shot easily saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
Terriers should have taken the lead
Tom Ince then should have put Huddersfield in the lead, meeting Rajiv van La Parra’s cross from just a few yards out but he blasted his shot over the bar.
With two powerful, athletic forwards on display in Abraham and Laurent Depoitre on action, the crossing was especially poor. Almost every ball either hit the first man or flew way past the back post for both side.
Abraham punishes Terriers mistake
A poor goal for Huddersfield to concede, as Lossl misplaces a pass out from the back, Tom Carroll ran onto the ball before laying the ball on a plate for Abraham to slot home.
Abraham seems to enjoy playing against Huddersfield, having scored in both fixtures against them last season for Bristol City.
The goal will have been extremely disappointing for David Wagner, having only been minutes away from half-time with his side quite comfortable before the goal.
Huddersfield’s defence has been huge for them this season, having kept four clean sheets ahead of this game. Abraham’s goal meant they had to score to get anything from this game, but going scoreless again today meant Huddersfield have now gone four consecutive games without scoring for the first time since August 2004.
Much Mooy needed from Huddersfield
Huddersfield introduced Aaron Mooy at half time, in an attempt to get a foothold on the game and their influential midfielder provides a certain guile and cutting edge that the Terriers didn’t have in the first half.
However, it was Abraham again who prodded home from close range to give Swansea a much needed second goal.
Mooy was involved, as he tried to break up the play as Narsingh moved infield, his sliding tackle meant the ball fell to Ayew before the Ghanaian flicked the ball over Lossl and Abraham made sure found the back of the net.
These are Abraham’s third and fourth goals of the season, as the man on loan from Chelsea looks better and better with every game he plays.
Swansea’s change to 4-3-3 with pace out wide clearly works to Abraham’s favour, and Clement should be praised for the switch but now he has to incorporate Sanches, Bony, Clucas and Mesa into this system.
30 minutes for Swansea to hold on
Huddersfield did start to come into the game and attack more, but it seemed too little, too late as Swansea still looked comfortable. With 20 minutes left Fabianski had only made one save, a simple one from a tight angle.
Swansea however have given away late goals to Newcastle United and Watford recently, which Clement will have been aware of as his side kept their focus and steered towards victory.
Abraham could have even scored his third of the game, as he met Narsingh’s cross low into the box but he could not turn the ball home to claim the match ball for the first time in his Premier League career.
Ki Sung-Yeung almost marked his return from injury with a goal, but his left-footed drive flew just past the post as Swansea attempted to see out the remaining 15 minutes.
However it was van La Parra that nearly brought Huddersfield back into the game, his cross deflected off Leon Britton onto the crossbar as the Terriers attempted to set up a grand stand finish.
Huddersfield, much like Swansea, have struggled to consistently create chances this season and once again were unable to fashion anything clear-cut to trouble their opponents as the game fizzled to full-time.
Swansea however have improved a great deal defensively under Clement, and if they can find some form of offense they could steer further away from the relegation zone.
The three points are vital for Swansea. They needed to start winning at home and having lost to one promoted team at the Liberty Stadium already, this win will feel huge for the Welsh side.