By Alec Johnson
I have never wanted summer to end so quickly! For the first time in living memory, expectation exceeds hope in my mind, and winter replaces summer as my season of choice.
Kicking off with the most important point - I expect us to survive in the Premier League, and comfortably so. Once the league shakes out in the autumn we should be happily sitting in the top half.
But there will be difficult moments. We could suffer a losing streak that may turn a handful of deluded newcomers to boo or criticise, but the incredible consistency that got us where we are should be maintained. Laudrup will not tolerate anything less and he has the squad to shake things up.
Despite losing to both Everton and Norwich with this tactic, I believe that we will be more adaptable this season with better players in the middle and more height up front. We are also more streetwise and alive to this high intensity.
However we are now Premier League and serious players within it. I’ll go for a comfortable home win and a draw away. Then onto the group stage and a real European tour.
So have we peaked? Is this the best we can hope for?
I sense a slight progression this year. We are better equipped and should break the 50 point mark, taking us into the top eight. The only thing to top that would be winning the FA Cup, or maybe a successful defence of our League Cup. Laudrup certainly does enjoy a good cup run and takes the competitions very seriously. We certainly won’t be challenging the top four so I will take a few points more and a Wembley cup final, or even a Turin final. Why not? Fulham did it!
One area that would be richly deserved this season is for our players to be internationally recognised. There are several waving the flag and having the first Dutch internationals represent us raises the hope that both Spain and England could follow suit. Step up Chico, Michu, Routledge, Jonjo and even Nathan Dyer. Cups and caps are what makes history for a club so this would be a massive achievement to get our lads into these two squads.
After all that, May will return quicker than a Bony left footer, and we will face another summer of disharmony with the media, scraps with agents, construction of a new tier in the East and possibly a departure or two to help pay for it.
Whatever happens, with Swansea City we have a club to be proud of in every way. Our reputation will grow with our expectation as we start to feel at home at this level. Our third season should be our most enjoyable. Last year takes some beating but this season will see us turn more dominance into points, killing teams off and becoming more ruthless, therefore taking more points and prize money come May - we hope!