This time last week I was sipping an ice-cold beer by the pool under the American sun. Now though, as I place my laptop in front of the fan heater and sip a steaming coffee, I forget about my holiday and concentrate on the Swans. It’s been a while since the last blog, so let’s make up for it!
Before I give my thoughts on last night’s shocker against Portsmouth I ask myself: What did I miss while I was away? Well, technically, I didn’t actually miss anything. As this is the age of WIFI, iPhones and Twitter, most of the Swans news was easily accessible but, for arguments sake, what would I have missed if none of these were to hand?
Swans vs. Doncaster
It was nice to read that Swansea had some luck through Rangel’s last gasp goal and came away with a much needed point. It’s usually the other way around (well, certainly last season) where Swansea would score the goal and some odd referee would decide to play an unnecessary 5 minutes injury time where the opposition would then score and three points became 1. So, well done Rangel and thank you to the 93rd minute; a minute who rarely delivers.
Pratley refuses to sign a new contract
With Pratley’s current contract expiring in the summer, Rodgers has basically issued the sensible ultimatum: re-sign or be sold. While some fans may not want to see the likes of Pratley, Rangel or De Vries leaving Swansea, it’s better for them to go for a good price than for free. I’d hate to see De Vries go, and the same goes for Rangel – both performing well – though Darren Pratley seems to be annoying fans at the moment. He isn’t the rock that he was last season and has crumbed slightly, maybe in the shadow of great performances by Gower and Sinclair. Time for him to go? If he finds his form again, it will be worth keeping him as he is a great player. If he stays as uninspiring as he currently is, Swansea would be better off without him.
Rodgers signs Easter on a month loan
With rumours of Swansea looking to sign, amongst others, Daniel Sturridge and Carlos Vela, fans rejoiced! “We can win the championship, get promoted and win the Premier League if we start signing players like these!” Then came the announcement that Jermaine Easter had been signed on loan...
A known Cardiff fan coming from League One MK Dons (and currently a little bit injured) seems a bit of a non-starter in attempts to add depth to the strike force. I hope I’m wrong, because Brendan Rodgers has proved me very wrong in the past, but it’s like being promised a PS3 for Christmas, only to unwrap a second-hand GameCube. Cue bursting into tears, kicking the cat, and then drinking the rest of the day away (I love Christmas...)
So onto last night’s game. I didn’t brave the trip to the Liberty, mainly due to travelling home all day, so decided to listen on the radio from the warmth of my house. From the first minute it appeared that I had made a mistake – the Swans were going to hammer Portsmouth 5-0 and I was going to miss it! Suddenly (well around the time Portsmouth had their first goal disallowed), the momentum changed and Swansea began to slowly fall apart. Not even a Brendan Rodgers triple substitution helped as Pompey got behind the ball and shut out the game. All credit to the boys in black (unnecessary third kit), they deserved their three points.
So what happened to Swansea? Did they buckle under the pressure of the largest crowd (17,000+) this season? The underlying strain of being in the top three? The expectation of always having to win at home? Or maybe it was just an off day? If it was pressure that got to them, they’ll need to learn to cope as the Premier League will create more pressure than they’ve ever known. If it was an off day, fair enough – everyone’s allowed an off day. But one a season is more than enough. The way things have been going, off days may be more of a regular occurrence.