Gylfi Sigurdsson stole the show once again as Swansea strolled to a comfortable win over Fulham at Craven Cottage extending their Premier League winning run to three games.
Brendan Rodgers’ side travelled to west London full of confidence after beating Wigan and Manchester City and they never looked in serious danger of dropping points against a seriously below par Fulham. Sigurdsson gave the Swans the lead their bright start merited with a first half header and scored his fourth goal in three games midway through the second period. The impressive Joe Allen underlined the Welsh side’s superiority with a third thirteen minutes from time as the Whites surrendered their six match unbeaten home run with a whimper.
Danny Graham signalled Swansea’s intentions inside the first minute by drawing a save from Mark Schwarzer and Michael Vorm, who saved a penalty in the reverse fixture in south Wales before Christmas, was called upon to deny Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele. Fulham looked nervy at the back and uncharacteristically sloppy in possession, with Scott Sinclair nearly seizing on an error from Brede Hangeland but the winger’s goalbound drive was blocked.
Swansea gradually took greater control of the contest with their pretty passing patterns prising Fulham open. A flowing move to the edge of the box saw Sigurdsson shoot fractionally wide and Schwarzer soon had to deny Sinclair from long range. It felt like the opening goal was coming and it was no surprise when Rodgers’ side took the lead nine minutes before the interval. Wayne Routledge, who spent a season on loan with Fulham in 2007, scampered down the right and Sinclair headed his cross into Sigurdsson’s path – leaving the Icelandic international with a simple header.
Fulham struggled to mount a riposte with Dembele’s immediate low drive that was blocked by a well-organised Swansea defence their only reply before half time. Damien Duff’s introduction as a second half substitute briefly enlivened the home side – with the veteran winger shooting over after cutting in from the right – but Swansea still controlled the contest. They doubled their lead midway through the second half when Sigurdsson worked a beautiful give and go with Routlege and steered a measured finish beyond Schwarzer.
Martin Jol sent on Kerim Frei and Danny Murphy in a desperate bid to alter Fulham’s fortunes but that sense of adventure only opened more caps for Swansea to exploit. Philippe Senderos played a poor pass out from the back and Allen, excellent at the base of the away midfield all afternoon, glided away from the Swiss defender as he sought to recover and fired clinically into the bottom corner.
That sparked a mass exodus from the disgruntled home fans. Fulham were distinctly below the levels they have set in recent weeks and only Clint Dempsey came close to providing some consolation with the American’s powerful drive turned onto the crossbar by Vorm. Swansea more than merited their twelfth clean sheet of the season and, in this sort of form, you have to wonder just how high Rodgers’ side can go.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Kelly, Riise, Senderos, Hangeland; Diarra (Murphy 72), Dembele, Ruiz (Duff 54), Dempsey; Pogrebnyak, Johnson (Frei 68). Subs (not used): Stockdale, Hughes, Baird, Etuhu.
SWANSEA CITY (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Rangel, Taylor (Tate 90+2), Monk, Caulker; Britton, Allen; Routledge, Sinclair, Sigurdsson (Gower 90+3); Graham (Moore 90+3). Subs (not used): Tremmel, Richards, McEachran, Lita.
GOALS: Sigurdsson (36, 66), Allen (77).
REFEREE: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).