Wednesday 26 July 2017

Swans boost survival bid to raise heat on Moyes

Sunderland 0 Swansea City 2

Kyle Naughton celebrates a rare goal. Photo: PA Wire
Kyle Naughton celebrates a rare goal. Photo: PA Wire

Louise Taylor

The worldwide cyber attack that has caused so much havoc in the NHS struck the computer systems at Nissan's Sunderland car plant yesterday. Had David Moyes's players not been quite so abject all season, it would have been all too easy to surmise it had somehow spread to the city's football team on what swiftly turned into an excellent afternoon for Swansea City.

Goals from the impressive Fernando Llorente and Kyle Naughton left Paul Clement's side on 38 points, level with Crystal Palace and, most importantly, four clear of 18th-placed Hull, who visit Selhurst Park today.

Swansea manager Paul Clement celebrates a vital Premier League victory at Sunderland. Photo: PA News
Swansea manager Paul Clement celebrates a vital Premier League victory at Sunderland. Photo: PA News

Evidently in need of a major systems reboot, Sunderland are already in the Championship. Whether Moyes will remain at the helm come August remains a moot point - and particularly after an afternoon when the home support made it abundantly clear they want him gone.

Should Swansea survive, they will have much to thank Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente for. Fittingly, that pair combined to propel them into an early lead. When Sigurdsson unleashed a deep free-kick from wide on the right, Jordan Pickford dashed off his line, but he missed the ball, leaving Llorente, who had dodged John O'Shea, to head into an empty net.

Across in the technical area, Clement pumped the air with a celebratory fist, but the tension in his body language suggested the Swansea manager's muscles were clenched as tightly as his fingers.

The visiting fans' celebrations were drowned out by repeated chants of "We want David Moyes out" and "Are you watching, Ellis Short?" from their local counterparts.

Sunderland fans continued their outpouring of love and support for five year old Bradley Lowry who suffers from neuroblastoma. Photo: PA Wire
Sunderland fans continued their outpouring of love and support for five year old Bradley Lowry who suffers from neuroblastoma. Photo: PA Wire

Making a rare matchday visit, Sunderland's owner was indeed looking on from the directors' box and cannot have enjoyed either what he was seeing or hearing inside an unusually sparsely populated stadium. An early injury to Jason Denayer saw Darron Gibson, disliked almost as much as Moyes by sections of the crowd, booed onto the pitch. Victor Anichebe received similar jeers when, shortly afterwards, he trudged slowly off to be replaced by the infinitely more popular Wahbi Khazri.

The mood grew more mutinous once an increasingly fluent six-man passing move concluded with Swansea doubling their lead. A little earlier, Kyle Naughton had done well to prevent Anichebe meeting a dangerous Fabio Borini cross, but suddenly he was showing off his creative side. After collecting a pass from Ki Sung-Yueng, once a Sunderland midfielder, the advancing Naughton sent a glorious shot swerving across the helpless Pickford as it arced imperiously into the top corner. It was the right-back's first goal since March 2011.

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