Sunday, 1 March 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 1st March 2015)

It's the first of March, it's a Sunday and that can only mean one thing - it's time for a cup of coffee and a look at the week gone by for Swansea City:

(P.S. Happy Saint David's Day)


Burnley 0 - 1 Swansea City

Despite it not being the most enthralling game (last on Match of the Day of course), yesterday's 1-0 victory against Burnley away from home secured Premier League safety for Swansea City... in February!

That's 40 points from 27 games, which is Swansea's best ever return in a Premier League season. And it's a great achievement considering we lost our best striker last month, we've been unable to score consistently and that there was even talk of a relegation scrap earlier in the year.

Good keeper.

So a good result, with a very scrappy own-goal being scored in the 64th minute by Kieran Trippier. Monk stuck with his diamond formation, which seems to be working quite well. Gomis missed a few good chances, Routledge had a penalty shout (but so too did Burnley), while Fabianski once again put in a solid performance and kept out a string of good attempts from the home side.

It's a shame we are out of the FA Cup as that would have been a great competition to focus on now safety is achieved, but it'll be good to see how far Swansea can go this season. Europa League position perhaps?


Bad Swans #1

Unfortunately the usually very-well behaved club have made the news for all the wrong reasons this week.

Firstly Swansea City's Dutch director John van Zweden came under fire earlier in the week for reportedly calling his fellow countryman Louis van Gaal 'an arrogant b******' (...that's 'bastard' if you can't decipher my code) following the Swans' win against Manchester United. However he has since defended himself, saying he didn't actually use the word 'bastard'.

But yesterday morning it emerged that van Zweden had posted a photo of a winning betting slip which had Swansea to beat United 2-1. The Sun reported that the director is being investigated by the Football Association, as any bet made by someone so close to the club would be a direct breach of FA rules. However van Zweden is insisting it was not his betting slip in the first place.

I can't see either of these things going much further, but it's probably wise for the charismatic director to keep his head down for the next few weeks!


Naughty keeper.

Bad Swans #2

And finally, Swans' reserve keeper Gerhard Tremmel was also in the news for some dodgy behaviour. Last week it was reported that the German shot stopper had been given a six month driving ban by Swansea magistrates after failing to reveal to police who was driving his car, after it was caught speeding along Mumbles Road twice last year.

But his ban has now been lifted, with a fine and penalty points awarded instead. Slow down Gerhard, you're not on the Autobahn any more!


Monday, 23 February 2015

The Audio Jacks: Episode Four - Man United double, Leon's future, formations and gambling (Downloadable!)

Here I am again to brighten up your miserable (if the Swansea weather is anything to go by) Monday morning with a brand new episode of the Audio Jacks!

In this episode - which is fully downloadable (sorry I forgot to make it downloadable last week...) - myself and Matt take a look at doing the double over Man United, industrious Swans players of the past, the future of Leon/Rangel's careers, Swansea's changing formation and even have a rant about gambling.

So download or stream, and enjoy - all shares are more than welcome and feedback is gratefully received!



If you want to get in touch with either of us we are both on Twitter. I'm @ForzaSwansea and Matt is at @LMScreamer.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 22nd Feb 2015)

After a little Swans nostalgia last week, we're back with our regular round up.

So grab your double-shot skinny caramel macchiato (or just a cup of instant coffee) and let's see what's been going on in the world of Swansea City.


Swansea City 2 - 1 Manchester United: The Double

We have to start with the biggest news - Swansea have done the double over Man United for the first time!

It was by no means the best attacking performance from Swansea, nor was it 90 minutes of entertaining and attractive passing. But yesterday it was the result that mattered the most.

The Swans pretty much matched United through the first half, although the visitors looked more threatening in attack and scored the first goal after 28 minutes after some good passing in the final third allowed Ander Herrera to put a simple strike past Fabianski. 

But, for a change, heads stayed up and a great early cross from Shelvey just two minutes later gave Ki the chance to slip in a clever shot to equalise. 

United on yet another attack

Again, United were threatening on the attack in the second half, but Swansea stood firm at the back and in the 73rd minute - completely against the run of play - a cracking long strike from Shelvey (with a bit of a deflection from Gomis) put the Swans ahead.

Both Ki and Cork were very assured in the middle of the park. Gomis had a few great chances but he was unable to put any away (although he is credited with the second goal thanks to the deflection), but he did put in the effort and made some good defensive clearances. Shelvey was my man of the match - for the goal, the assist and his greatly improved work rate.

It's good to see that a tweaked formation can work as well as the standard 4-5-1 and even without the slick passing we're accustomed to you can beat the huge spending giants!


America? Not at the moment.

Last week the Swans confirmed that talks with American billionaire John Moores were off. The former San Diego Padres owner was looking to buy a 30% stake in the club, but Swansea confirmed that the deal was unlikely to go ahead.

Unable to settle on America at the moment

A club spokesman told the BBC: "Both parties felt that the time was not right to pursue any proposals. It was only at the discussion stage anyway, there was never any offer on the table"

This news will please those fans who were dead against foreign investment, but it's very unlikely that this is the end we'll hear on the matter (which is good news for those who wanted some investment).

The door has been opened on these kind of discussions and it won't be long until there's another investor keen on taking Swansea to the next level. Make sure to re-read Alec Johnson's excellent article on why investment could be a good move for the Swans.


Bonywatch

This certainly won't be a regular feature because - let's admit it, who really cares now - but Wilfried Bony made his first appearance for Manchester City in their 5-0 thumping of Newcastle.

He replaced Sergio Aguero on the hour mark and, while he didn't score on his City debut, he made a good impression. He did have one superb chance to get on the score sheet - after Tim Krul messed up a clearance Bony was fed the ball by Yaya Toure, but the striker's low shot was ushered over the bar.

That's probably the last we mention Bony for now, but it's good to see that he did make an appearance at the first opportunity - which is more than most former Swans achieve after leaving the club!


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Jack in Time: A packed and snowy Vetch in 1955 (with video)

Don't worry, I'm not ditching our regular Sunday morning catch-up articles, but while the Swans have the weekend off I thought I would do something a little different this morning.

I'm a big fan of Swansea nostalgia and - after writing Swansea City's Greatest Games - I find I know a lot more about the club's colourful history than I did before.

And I've decided to share a little of that history with you this week.

Today we're looking at an excellent video of Swansea Town vs Sunderland in the FA Cup fifth round at a very snowy Vetch field on 19 February 1955.



What's instantly eye-catching is the crowd - it looks insane! 28,487 people crammed themselves into the Vetch that day (this was before all the stands had been built... and well before health and safety regulations) to watch the Swansea Babes in action.

First Division high-flyers Sunderland took the lead after 24 minutes through Chisholm. However in the second half the Swans - then managed by the shrewd Billy McCandless - equalised through Mel Charles (although there are contradicting reports suggesting it was Len Allchurch who scored... I can't seem to see from this video, so it remains disputed!).

The home side then took the lead through the head of Terry Medwin, after an excellent cross from one of Swansea's greatest ever players, Ivor Allchurch. But Sunderland forced the replay later in the game with a goal from Charlie Fleming.

Unfortunately the replay four days later saw Sunderland win 1-0, knocking Swansea out of that season's FA Cup.

I'll try to do a few more of these entertaining trips through Swansea's history if everyone enjoys them. For now you can check out the best-selling Swansea City's Greatest Games for a good dose of nostalgia.


Monday, 9 February 2015

Audio Jacks podcast - Episode Three

It's another Monday and another Audio Jacks podcast!

In this short episode we discuss the Sunderland game, a controversial post on Planet Swans and we ask why the Liberty Stadium is so quiet these days.

You can stream it by clicking on the link below, or head to the SoundCloud website to download it.

All feedback is very welcome! Catch us on Twitter @ForzaSwansea and @LMScreamer.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 8th Feb 2015)

Whether you're hungover from the rugby or - more than likely if you're reading this - the FOOTBALL, wake-up and put the espresso machine on, it's time for our weekly catch-up.


Swansea City 1-1 Sunderland

A bit of a frustrating game, but one with plenty of positives.

Sunderland scored the first goal in the first-half, thanks to a solo effort from Jermain Defoe, who literally cut straight through Swansea's flustered defence and deservedly hammered the ball past Fabianski.

Gomis against Sunderland - he gave it a good go, but he's still not impressing.

But a wonderful diving header for the newly returned Ki Sung Yueng made it all square in the second half. Ki was a great presence on the pitch yesterday and deserved to be man of the match. However I was impressed with Kyle Naughton at times, while Jack Cork looked well at home in the centre of the pitch.

Federico Fernandez was pretty solid all game too. Nathan Dyer had spells where he looked like the Dyer of old, although he's just not as consistent as before. A mention must also go to Nelson Oliveira, who came on and looked very keen. I'd like to see him start against West Brom on Wednesday as Bafetimbi Gomis really isn't doing it for me.

But I can't be the only one to notice this? Yes he's committed his allegiance to Swansea (for now...) and he's certainly upped his work rate, but he never looks like he's going to score. He's no Bony (I'm done stating the obvious now).


We told you so!

A small news item about former Swansea City star Scott Sinclair, who said he would now 'think twice' about leaving regular football to sit on the bench for a bigger club.

I'm not sure why it's taken him that long to realise, but at least he does have some career awareness. He was a big talent for Swansea, but he's basically starting from scratch again... let's hope it works out for him at Villa (apart from his away days at the Liberty).


Boring old Swansea?

The transfer window closed on February 2nd, and - as many of us were expecting - nothing really happened with Swansea on the final day. But then why would it? We had a busy enough month of ins and outs, so there was little need to panic buy in the final hours.

The biggest news for the Swans in the window was, of course, the departure of Wilfried Bony, who left for Manchester City for around £28million at the start of the month.

But the club used a little of that cash to bring in a few new faces, with the biggest signing probably being Jack Cork from Southampton for a rumoured £3million. The previous week Kyle Naughton arrived from Spurs for an eyebrow-raising £5million. He's perhaps less of a catch than Cork, but he will give Rangel some much-needed competition, as he showed yesterday.

The Swans also secured Nelson Oliveira on loan from Benfica earlier in the window, but he's not been able to make much of an impact during his limited time on the pitch. As I've already said, it would be nice to see him make a start or two.

And finally Exeter City midfielder Matt Grimes came to the club for £1.75million - the youngster is a decent prospect, but definitely one for the future.


One year on...

Last Wednesday, Garry Monk celebrated his one year anniversary as Swansea City manager. And he's done a great job. Of course he's made his fair share of mistakes, but he's also enjoyed his moments of genius and has pretty much led Swansea to Premier League safety with most of the season to go.



Doesn't it seem like yesterday that the club was wrapped up in rumours and controversy as Michael Laudrup was sacked? Hang on... that means that today - February 8th - is the one year anniversary of that glorious 3-0 win against Cardiff City!

Now, surely that's a good reason to crack open a few cans this Sunday morning!

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Read all about that epic Cardiff City match in Swansea City's Greatest Games - the city's best-selling sports book of 2014!


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 1st Feb 2015)

Happy new month! We all survived the bleak and rainy month that is January.

So, to kick off February, get your cup of coffee ready and enjoy my weekly round-up!


Southampton vs Swansea City (4pm today)

For a change, I can't start this blog with an angry reaction about the match just gone because Swansea don't play their weekend Premier League fixture until 4pm this afternoon. Rest assured we'll probably see the Swans take an early lead, before two of them are sent off, leading to a 6-1 defeat.

In all fairness Swansea are without an array of key players at the moment including Sigurdsson, Ki and - let's admit it - a gifted striker, so it'll be tough to get much of a result at St Mary's against a team who are excelling again this season.

I'm expecting a loss for Swansea... perhaps 2-0. I'm usually wrong, so we could see a nice draw instead. And with the talent left in the team, there's no real reason why a 0-0 draw couldn't be on the cards.


Jack Cork... finally

One of Garry Monk's final January transfer window signings was Southampton midfielder Jack Cork - a player who has been linked with Swansea for a couple of years now. Cork was officially unveiled on Friday night for an undisclosed fee, reported to be in the area of £3million.



Cork is a holding midfielder, who has played around 110 times for the Saints since 2011. He's not a goalscorer, but seems to have been drafted in to play in alongside Ki/Britton/Carroll in a defensive midfield role.

Of course, the name Cork may be familiar to older Swans fans who will remember his father Alan, who briefly managed the club from October 1997 until the end of the season.

He comes to Swansea looking for more games, but with an already healthy midfield, will he find them? I'm guessing that yes, he will. But that begs the question: who will make way for him?


Filthy little Swans

It seems Swansea are the naughtiest boys in the Premier League! However we all know that this truly isn't the case. Most of the red cards have been second yellows (for silly little occurrences) or pretty questionable straight reds.

Of course there's rarely smoke without fire and sometimes a red card is justified. But when it comes to Swansea - who we know are not a dirty team - something is not quite right.

Garry Monk summed it up best when he said earlier in the week:

"We make one of the least amount of fouls in the division, have one of the lowest yellow card counts and yet one of the most fouled against. It really doesn’t add up."

Ki returns to Swansea

Ki Sung Yueng is on his way back to South Wales following his Asian Cup campaign with South Korea. And what a cup he had, captaining his country through the competition right up until yesterday's final against Australia.

Unfortunately for Ki, South Korea finished runners-up as the Aussies made history by winning their first ever Asian Cup competition, in a 2-1 final.

His big midfield presence had certainly been missed over the past month or so, and he'll be a very welcome addition to the team next week, hopefully ready in time to take on his former team Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium.

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