Routledge provides cutting edge for Swansea
Swansea City 3 West Bromwich Albion 1: West Bromwich Albion’s bandwagon didn’t just lose a wheel but suffered a complete malfunction at the Liberty Stadium where they were utterly out-classed by Swansea City.
Manager Steve Clarke arrived in south Wales looking for West Bromwich's fifth successive win in the top flight since 1979, only to be left shell-shocked after watching his team systematically torn to shreds.
Michael Laudrup's Swansea found their inimitable rhythm as Wayne Routledge scored twice before half-time, following Michu's early opener, to climb to eighth in the Premier Table table, having now lost just one of their last nine games.
It was 66 years since West Bromwich's last win at Swansea and any hopes of ending that run were effectively over by half-time.
The West Bromwich manager Clarke said: "That was very unexpected. We have had a really good season, but we started so slowly it was incredible, you wouldn't believe it.
"We know Swansea are a fantastic team and they play good football and we knew they would cause us problems, but I did not expect so many problems so early and when you are chasing the game it is going to be difficult.
"They had a quick start, they got in front and we left ourselves too much to do. We deserved to lose."
Few teams can match Swansea's possession game and the West Bromwich players did not know what had hit them as they spent the first half seemingly chasing shadows.
The passing was effortless as the hosts picked West Bromwich apart. This time, however, Swansea also had a cutting edge to go with their glut of possession, with two goals inside 11 minutes against one of the most astute defences in the league.
Nathan Dyer's cross was volleyed across the six-yard box by Pablo Hernandez for Michu to plunder his eighth league goal of the season. Then Hernandez combined with Ben Davies on the left before bursting into the box. Routledge looked to have squandered the chance before poking his shot past Boaz Myhill.
Swansea were insatiable and, when Dyer picked out Hernandez with an arching pass, Davies fired in his cross and an unmarked Routledge thumped home his second on 39 minutes.
Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for West Bromwich just before the break, but Swansea are now wily enough not to let slip a commanding position and finished much the stronger.
Laudrup said: "As a manager, it's not very often you can sit and enjoy your team playing. Sometimes there are moments in a half where you can improve, but for 45 minutes, we were outstanding.
"All 11 players played with one or more touches and they did so well. It was a pleasure to watch and it shows everybody just how good we can be."
Man of the Match Hernandez.
Match rating 7/10.
Referee L Mason (Lancashire).