Stuttering Swansea set to struggle against Kuban Krasnodar
Capital One Cup-holders Swansea dropped below fellow Welshmen Cardiff in the Premier League after their 1-0 loss against Malky Mackay’s Bluebirds.
Michael Laudrup’s Swans have won just two of their last eight games in all competitions and have been beaten four times in that run.
They travel to Russia to face Kuban Krasnodar without the services of talismanic midfielder Michu, who’s scored 28 times for the south Wales club since he was spirited away from La Liga side Rayo Vallecano for a paltry £2m 15 months ago.
Kuban Krasnodar to win @ 17/10
Victor Goncharenko’s side may have just about sneaked a point at the Liberty Stadium thanks to Djibril Cisse’s 90th-minute penalty, but that result has acted as a catalyst for Kazaki’s Russian Premier League campaign.
After one win in seven domestic games before the match against Swansea, Kuban have won their last two league matches at home to Anzhi Makhachkala and at local rivals FK Krasnodar.
This turnaround has to be attributed to the appointment of former BATE Borisov coach Goncharenko, who led the Belarusian champions to famous wins against Lille and Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League group stage.
Against a Swansea team in such uninspiring form, the Yellow-Greens are good value to make it three wins in a row.
Gheorghe Bucur to score the first goal @ 7/1
The Romanian international was only given half an hour to impress in Wales, but his form in recent fixtures for Kuban certainly warrants a starting place.
Bucur has scored five goals in the Russian Premier League this season and three of those strikes have come in the last two matches.
The 33-year-old scored the first goal in both of those fixtures and has to rate a better prospect to break the deadlock here than former English Premier League stalwart Cisse, who is yet to score an opener for Kuban in 16 appearances.
Both teams to score @ 17/20
Swansea’s hosts have got on the scoresheet in each of their four games since Goncharenko took over from Dorinel Munteanu.
Although Kuban were in crisis under Romania’s most-capped international, losing six of their last eight matches with Munteanu in charge, they do have strikers in form and Bucur is one of three players who have scored four or more this season.
Laudrup’s side have also shared around the goals this term, with Wilfried Bony chipping in with six strikes – the same amount as Michu – and three other players contributing two or more across their 18 matches so far in 2013/14.
Swansea have hit the back of net at least once in 13 of those fixtures and with Wilfried Bony – who has scored four times in six Europa League appearances for the Swans – expected to lead the line in Russia, they can get on the scoresheet again.