Swansea and Sunderland show lack of quality in goalless draw

These are early days for Swansea fans, who are happy enough with any point, even at home, on their first excursion in the Premier League.

Swansea and Sunderland show lack of quality in goalless draw Sunderland's supporters are much more demanding, and responded to a useful away draw by booing their dissatisfaction and their mounting displeasure with the manager, Steve Bruce.

Such is the requirement for instant gratification in the modern game that Bruce, who has barely started phasing in 10 summer signings, is already deemed to be "under pressure", which is plainly ridiculous after just three league games. Shrugging off the criticism, he said: "We lost the derby [1-0 at home to Newcastle] and I haven't been forgiven for that."

Fortunately for all concerned, Sunderland have a sensible, steadfast chairman in Niall Quinn, who will give his manager all the time he needs to mould the recruits into an effective, improved team.

An impartial judge would have to give Bruce a better chance than Swansea's Brendan Rodgers of steering his charges clear of a relegation scrap. Sunderland have a bigger, better squad and the money to add to it before the transfer window closes.

For the moment, it is not only in the alphabet that these two are adjacent. They have now managed just the one goal apiece in four games, both having been eliminated from the Carling Cup by lower-division opposition in midweek. Swansea were unchanged from their 0-0 stalemate with Wigan last week; Sunderland were at last able to give a debut to John O'Shea, one of those ten signings, who came close to scoring in the second minute when he headed Sebastian Larsson's corner against the crossbar.

Bruce's team made the early running, with Stéphane Sessègnon demanding a notable save from Michel Vorm. Gradually, however, the Swans passed their way into the game and midway through the first half Scott Sinclair stirred another full-house Liberty crowd with a bristling 30-yarder that rattled Simon Mignolet's bar with the goalkeeper helpless.

Danny Graham, the Welsh club's record signing at £3.5m from Watford, tested Mignolet with a decent shot, but was again something of a blunt instrument. Ploughing a lone furrow up front, he found the attentions of the classy Wes Brown considerably more problematic than those of the Championship behemoths against whom he made his reputation. The same can be said of Sinclair who, in dressing room parlance, scored for fun last season, but is getting nowhere near as many chances at the higher level.

Graham should have opened his account after 41 minutes, the crowd gasping in collective disbelief when from a central position, seven yards out, he headed horribly wide from Kemy Agustien's short centre from the left,. It was the most inviting of opportunities, and the most culpable of misses. Almost as bad was Graham's maladroit response when Neil Taylor's left-wing cross picked him out at the far post. The consequent shot was little more than a backpass. In truth, it was powderpuff stuff in front of goal all afternoon.

Was Rodgers disappointed with his big signing's early form? "Not at all," he said. "He looks like scoring, he just hasn't done it yet." Collectively, the Swans' manager thought his team were "terrific", explaining: "With two clean sheets we've shown we are ready to compete at this level."

Maybe, but the search for that first win gets no easier for either side. After the international break Swansea are away to Arsenal and Sunderland at home to Chelsea.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Joe Lovejoy at the Liberty Stadium, for The Observer on Saturday 27th August 2011 17.30 Europe/London

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