Swansea City 0-0 Birmingham City: Stalemate at the Liberty Stadium
(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Steve Cooper's Swansea City were held to a goalless draw by Aitor Karanka's Birmingham City upon their first SkyBet Championship outing at the Liberty Stadium.

  • Story of the game

There were limited chances in the first-half of the game as both sides maintained a solid defensive structure to their lineups. Swansea saw the bulk of the possession but did not look as threatening going forward compared to their Midland counterparts. 

In the opening period of the game, Kristian Pedersen saw a header fly past the post from a set-piece as he appeared to be offside but no flag was raised. 

The Blues' midfielders Ivan Sunjic and Adam Clayton did enough throughout the game to frustrate and breakup the Swans' transitions of play, as they appear to be forming a strong partnership.

Summer signings Jamal Lowe and Swansea's match-winner last week, Morgan Gibbs-White were the hosts most-threatening players in the first-half. 

The best chance of the half fell to the visitors when Jon Toral's volley from the edge of the area was excellently tipped round the post by Freddie Woodman. Whereas, the hosts best chance came from a corner, only for defender Ben Cabango's header to be blazed over the bar.

As the half ended, a melee erupted on the touchline as Swansea coach Alan Tate was seen to grab Blues' Toral by the neck and push him to the floor but referee Gavin Ward took no action.

Swansea started the second-half a lot more threatening as full-back Connor Roberts' bursting runs down the right were causing problems for Pedersen when winger Jeremie Bela was not alert enough when tracking back. 

Gibbs-White had the hosts' best chance of the game. He found space on the edge of the Blues' area only for his tame effort to be comfortably collected by debutant and former Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

Blues captain Harlee Dean had a header saved by Woodman which was the visitors best chance of the half. Both sides looked good when breaking into the others' half but the game really lacked quality in the final third.

The two goalkeepers were not tested much with Toral's volley the only threatening task for Woodman. Etheridge's real test came late in the game when through a crowd of players, he was able to parry Marc Guehi's volley to guarantee Karanka's side left South Wales with a share of the spoils.

Man of the Match: Ivan Sunjic

The Croatian midfielder looked more like the player Birmingham City saw when he joined last summer from Dinamo Zagreb. He was a constant hassle for Swansea's midfield as they tried to break deep into Blues' half. He never appeared to stop running and at one point he chased the ball all the way back to Woodman with so much desire to never give up his pursuit. If he carries on with performances like this, he will frustrate more sides, like Swansea, who are trying to make the top six this year.

Other notable mentions: Connor Roberts, George Friend.

Takeaways

Swansea will do well this season. They have a wide array of players who are good in possession and their advancing full-backs are very beneficial to each attack. The only thing they lack right now is a striker. Rhian Brewster did a brilliant job for them last season but now that void needs to be filled if they are to make the top six.

Karanka is already doing the job he was brought in to do, tighten up the Blues' defence. He will be delighted with two clean sheets in his opening two fixtures, not to mention against two sides that finished in last season's play-off places. They will be very hard to break down this season but they also look more threatening on the break than they did only a couple of months ago. 

 

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