Ford Football Special returns this Saturday as Swansea and West Ham clash live on Sky Sports 2 HD. David Jones will be joined in the Sky Sports studio by former Swansea defender and current Wales manager Chris Coleman and former West Ham striker Dean Ashton. We caught up with both of them to look ahead to the game...
Last Updated: August 23, 2012 1:48pm
Both Swansea and West Ham enjoyed opening-day victories, but was the Swans' 5-0 win at QPR the standout performance of the season so far?
CHRIS COLEMAN: If we are all being honest, I don't think anybody saw that Swansea performance coming. I didn't see them winning 5-0 away from home, especially at a ground like Loftus Road where Swansea don't have a good record. If they'd come away with a 1-0 or a 2-1 it would have been a good win, but to come away with five was an outstanding performance. Along with West Brom's great win at home to Liverpool it was a standout performance.
DEAN ASHTON: The opening day of the season sometimes throws up results like that and obviously West Ham will respect Swansea massively because they've shown this season and last season that they can be difficult to beat. I think West Ham will be happy with a draw because it's a hard place to go.
And Sam Allardyce's side got off to a good start themselves, beating Aston Villa...
DEAN ASHTON: I thought that was a great result. I know Aston Villa had their problems last year, but they have a new manager in place and I expected to see a performance from them. West Ham did very well and perhaps could have won by two in the end. It was a great start for them to win at home, which is exactly what you want from a team coming back up.
A lot is being said about new Swansea signing Michu after his display against QPR. Can we expect more of the same from him on Saturday's Ford Football Special?
"Working for Sky Sports kills two birds with one stone because I'd be out there watching the game anyway. If I can watch it in a nice comfortable studio and have a nice cup of coffee with the guys then it's even better!"
Chris Coleman Quotes of the week
CHRIS COLEMAN: I've already been to see him in pre-season and he looks like a real good buy. Physically he's in very good condition, he's a strong boy and he's full of running, so I think he'll be able to cope with the Premier League. It's a very physical and fast league, but it looks like he's capable of handling that. From what I've seen of him, he plays in that little pocket in behind the striker and he does that job very, very well. I'm looking forward to seeing him again this weekend.
Many people were concerned about Swansea following the departure of Brendan Rodgers over the summer. Did you have any worries for them before a ball was kicked?
CHRIS COLEMAN: They will have been disappointed to lose Brendan, but you can't blame him for wanting to go and manage a club like Liverpool. When you have a new manager then inevitably there will be changes and Michael Laudrup wants to bring in his own personnel. I think his style of play is slightly different, but they still get the ball down and play. They get the ball forward a little bit quicker than they did last year, but without losing their identity. We all see them as a fluent, passing team and they're still that. The players have done well so far, but it was only the first game so they won't be getting carried away. This game, in many ways, will be even tougher than last week.
DEAN ASHTON: I always think the second season is more difficult than the first because there's more expectation on the players. Also they might relax a bit because they know they're still in the Premier League. But I think credit has to go to the Swansea board for bringing in someone like Laudrup as manager. He's got unbelievable experience as a player and has done well as a manager too.
What can we expect from West Ham in their first season back in the top flight?
DEAN ASHTON: I don't think they're like Norwich or Swansea last season, who came up with inexperienced players. West Ham have lots of experience in people like Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole and Mark Noble who have all played in the Premier League for a number of years. I also think bringing in Jussi Jaaskelainen as the goalkeeper was a good move because you know what you're going to get with him. They'll rely on people like that this season and I can see them doing well.
CHRIS COLEMAN: They had a good win against Aston Villa and they will pose different problems for Swansea than what QPR did. Knowing Sam, he'll have done his homework on Swansea and he'll look to stop them getting into that rhythm that they like, in terms of their passing. Physically they are very strong, I'd say stronger than QPR.
Do you suspect we could see a contrast of styles between the two teams in this Football Special?
CHRIS COLEMAN: Sam likes his teams to play football, but to play football in the opposition's half. They won't look to build from the back so much, they will force the play, get the ball forward quicker and then they'll look to pass in Swansea's half. They're physically strong, very good from set plays - defensively and offensively they're very organised - and that's why I see problems coming for Swansea.
DEAN ASHTON: Sam has never hidden the fact that, at times, he likes his teams to play direct football, but from what I've seen they pass the ball really well, too. They'll do that again this year, but they're not afraid to go long if they need to and Cole plays his role well because he's strong and holds the ball up. They've got to play to their strengths. They will understand that Swansea will play on the floor and keep things tight and they want to play football, but they won't be afraid to play the long game and perhaps nick a goal on the break.
Chris, as the Wales manager, we suspect you'll have a particular eye on the Welsh contingent in both camps?
"Sam has never hidden the fact that, at times, he likes his teams to play direct football, but from what I've seen they pass the ball really well too."
Dean Ashton Quotes of the week
CHRIS COLEMAN: Of course. There's the likes of Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor for Swansea and for West Ham I know Jack Collison's not fit, but James Collins has just moved there so there will be players for me to keep an eye on. Working for Sky Sports kills two birds with one stone because I'd be out there watching the game anyway. If I can watch it in a nice comfortable studio and have a nice cup of coffee with the guys then it's even better!
Can either of you call it?
CHRIS COLEMAN: I'm just looking forward to seeing a good game. With the pace of the Premier League it's bound to be exciting and I hope I'm not going to jinx anything, but I think there will be goals. I certainly hope so.
DEAN ASHTON: I think West Ham will be good enough to get a draw and perhaps Swansea won't be quite as good as they were against QPR. I can see it being a scoring draw. I'd be very surprised if it was 5-0 again!
Chris and Dean will both be in the Sky Sports studio at the Liberty Stadium this Saturday lunchtime. Don't forget to tune in at 12.30pm on Sky Sports 2 HD for all the action and analysis.