Sunday, 26 August 2012

Not a bad start, Swansea... not bad at all.

Swansea City 5 – 0 QPR
Swansea City 3 – 0 West Ham

That's a good start isn't it?

We've seen two impressive displays from the Swans in the opening week. Eight goals, two clean sheets and now second in the Premier League!

However, it's still early. Plenty of time for Vorm to get injured, the team to lose ten in a row and us to watch as Dyer signs for Liverpool. Yet, so far it's all reassuring stuff from a team tipped for a disastrous season and rock-bottom relegation.

Briefly top of the league, until Chelsea spoilt it.

We knew from the pre-season that Laudrup is a manager with plans to attack. While many - including myself - knew there would be more goals for Swansea this season, many - again, including myself - also assumed there would be more goals against Swansea. So far, in the second aspect, we've been wrong.

Defence, therefore, is doing it's job. Chico Flores has come in and is providing the team with the same stability Steven Caulker offered, though with a little more fire (this may lead to a few cards along the way, but who cares about the Fair Play league if Swansea qualify for Europe the proper way!). Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor look as dangerous as ever going forward, and Williams is as assured as always. Though mistakes have been made at the back, Michel Vorm has been solid enough to clean-up what the defenders leave behind. All looking great.

Going forward, Swansea are already more entertaining to watch. It took the Swans nine games to score eight goals last season under Brendan Rodgers, where it's taken just two this time around. While I thoroughly appreciate everything Rodgers did for the club (apart from pissing off to Liverpool), I found the football last season a little... pointless at times.

While I don't think passing football is boring, the game played under Rodgers was at times frustrating - all pass, pass, pass and incredible possession stats, but not as much end product to get excited about. With Laudrup we are still seeing decent possession (50% in the QPR game and 62% against West Ham), but are also seeing chances made and goals scored, with some exciting counter-attacks thrown in.

Michu is clearly a key figure. For £2million, he's been the signing of the season - no contest. Again, just two games in, but the Premier League's top scorer. He has replaced Allen and Sigurdsson in one hit for literally pennies in this league.

Elsewhere, Wayne Routledge has come alive in the first two games. The ongoing Scott Sinclair moody, pointless move to Man City (until he's loaned out to QPR) has allowed Routledge two starting places and he's done a lot with them; running, cutting inside and offering plenty for Danny Graham and Michu to work with. Though Pablo Hernandez may eventually sign, Routledge is showing he has enough for a permanent first team place.

Little Nathan Dyer - man of the match against West Ham - is looking dangerous as usual. I'm surprised there weren't many rumours/offers from other teams for Dyer this summer. The transfer window is still open, so I won't speak to soon - Rodgers' the thief still has money in the bank. For now, it's nice to see Dyer shooting more.

We are yet to see Ki Sung-Yueng in action. With Britton, Michu and de Guzman all offering plenty in midfield, who will make way for the record signing? I'm guessing it will be de Guzman.

Ultimately it is too early to say Swansea will repeat these exciting scorelines for the rest of the season. There will be tougher games against opponents who actually want to win (both QPR and West Ham haven't looked that up for it). But for now, Swansea still have a nice run of teams where similar comfortable wins are possible - Aston Villa, Stoke, Reading and Wigan are all coming up soon enough.

If Laudrup can keep up a decent run, Swansea can go into the bigger games in November - those against Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool - with no real pressure, already comfortably mid-table. We said before the season started that the Swans must take as many points from the opening games as they could, and things are going exactly to plan it seems!

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