Friday 20 September 2013
Swansea City 3-0 Valencia: Kings of Europe!
A guest post by Andrew Lassiter
Following a mixed start to the Premier League, Europe has been Swansea City's strongest competition so far this season and it's safe to say that all Swans fans were looking forward to the Europa League opener against Valencia last night.
And it didn't disappoint! The 2,000-odd Jacks who travelled to soak up the remaining Spanish sun were rewarded with a 3-0 crushing of the Champions League giants!
Although Valencia haven't looked particularly strong of late - in fact quite the opposite - the BBC rightly pointed out that Welsh sides have historically had very little success against Spanish clubs, and the odds were against Swansea ahead of the match.
However Angel Rangel led his team through an incredibly lopsided win in flawless fashion. Despite missing key players like Williams, Britton and Davies, the Swans showed intent and intensity from the off.
Of course Adil Rami's early red card didn't help Valencia, but it takes nothing away from a passing masterclass from the Swans. In the end Swansea controlled 65% of the possession and it's not surprising to see how. Canas in particular passed himself into a frenzy, while Pozuelo ran the opposition ragged. The only Englishman in the team - Nathan Dyer - excelled as well. And Bony also showed his strength and made another European statement with his early goal.
The other two goals were equally satisfying, especially de Guzman's superb free-kick. He's occasionally been disappointing with set pieces, but the finish was perfect - on par with Pirlo this time!
So it was the perfect start to Swansea's European campaign, putting them right at the top of Group A in Europa League play.
Ultimately, this should also inject a bit of confidence into the Premier League pursuit. Of course, winning the league is an unrealistic stretch at this point, but if you take a look at the Betfair news gambling exchange, which offers fixed betting odds for a variety of outcomes, Swansea are currently 16/1 for a top-6 finish in the Premier League. A top-6 finish certainly seems within reach at this point as, beyond the top four, the rest of the league seem to be pretty evenly balanced.
The winning is likely to continue on Sunday when the Swans face Crystal Palace away (1:30pm), before a trip to Birmingham on Wednesday evening for the defence of the Capital One Cup. It's a great time to be a Swans fan!