Swansea City will be looking for a third successive FA Cup replay win when they welcome Sheffield Wednesday to the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday.
The Swans needed replays to progress after failing to beat Wolves and Notts County at the first time of asking in the previous two rounds of the competition.
A hat-trick of replay successes on Tuesday would be just the tonic for Carlos Carvalhal’s men, who are still smarting from a crushing 4-1 defeat at Brighton on Saturday.
That defeat ended Swansea’s 10-match unbeaten run and pushed them back into the relegation zone. Sheffield Wednesday’s visit provides the earliest opportunity to make amends and return to winning ways.
Carvalhal will be hoping to get his tactics right against the Owls after admitting that his gamble against Brighton had spectacularly backfired.
With Swansea trailing 1-0 at the Amex Stadium the Portuguese coach opted to bring on more attack-minded players in the form of Andre Ayew, Luciano Narsingh and Tammy Abraham, but the bet failed to pay dividends.
“It was a big bet and with a big bet you can win lots of money or you can lose lots of money,” said the Swansea boss. “We knew if we scored one we could win, but we also knew if they scored another on the counter-attack it would be difficult, and that’s what happened.
“That’s football, that’s the life of a manager. If it works the manager is a genius. We tried everything to try to win, but Brighton deserved to win. We lost the gamble.”
The head-to-head record gives Swansea a slight edge over Sheffield Wednesday. In the five previous meetings between the two sides, four ended in a stalemate with the Swans claiming the only win of that five-match sequence. Goals were at a premium in four of the ties too, with three of the fixtures ending goalless. In fact, Swansea won the “five-match contest” 3-1 on aggregate.
Swansea’s average of nearly two goals per game in their last 10 outings flatters the Premier League battlers somewhat. That average is significantly boosted by the 8-1 win in the FA Cup fourth round replay against Notts Country three weeks ago.
In a side bereft of prolific goal scorers, Jordan Ayew and Tammy Abraham, with eight and seven goals respectively in all competitions, have shouldered the bulk of the club’s goal burden this season.
There is no doubt that Premier League survival is Swansea’s priority. With the crucial league match against West Ham to follow on Saturday, Carvalhal is therefore likely to ring the changes for the visit of Sheffield Wednesday, who will be desperate to avoid a third successive defeat.