Swansea City's eventful season is finally over. In equal parts it's made us happy, sad, angry, proud and, at times, even a little horny. However I am sure you'll agree that there is a part of you that's glad we can put it all behind us?
With European football, Premier League survival, derby glory and some stunning goals, Swans fans have ultimately enjoyed a successful season, which I am going to run through briefly.
It all started with the Europa League in August, which produced some incredible early season moments. First Swansea shrugged off Malmo and Petrolul Ploiesti before an emphatic victory against Valencia at the Mestalla. The Swans thoroughly deserved to win the game 3-0, including a lovely free-kick from Jonathan 'Pirlo' de Guzman.
Progression through the group was less comfortable, with Swansea making a meal of qualification to the knock-out stages. Who can forget dropping a point with Kuban Krasnodar in the final minute, before doing the very same again in the return leg! Mental.
|Swansea at the Stadio San Paolo|
Still, the Swans made it out of Group A, where they would find Napoli waiting. The Italian giants proved tough opponents, but Swansea gave it a good go and, in reality, should have won the first leg considering the chances they had. The game in the San Paolo was equally as enjoyable, but Swansea ran out of steam and gracefully fell out of Europe. (Read Gavin's brilliant round-up of the group stages, and Alec's travel journal from his trip to Napoli).
Between all this, Michael Laudrup had been sacked. In early February rumours circulated that a backroom shuffle was taking place. The following day the announcement was made that Swansea had parted ways with the Danish prince. Of course there were mixed reactions, but ultimately fans knew it was for the best. Laudrup seemed to have lost any enthusiasm and direction and he had to go. (Check out Matt's thoughts on his departure).
|Thank you Michael, and goodbye.|
Meanwhile Swansea were slipping down the Premier League table. Unfortunately they joined around ten teams under threat of the bottom three all season and found it difficult to get a foothold in the league. Dropping silly points against West Brom and Crystal Palace at the start of March was probably the lowest Swansea sunk, with the exception of the highly embarrassing 1-0 loss to Cardiff in November. However, revenge for that one was particularly sweet...
In Garry Monk's first game in charge he led the Swans to victory by hammering the Redbirds 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium. There were no excuses from Cardiff that day - they had been outplayed by the better team. The remained in the drop zone until May when they were relegated.
The Swans eventually sealed their safety with an enthralling 4-1 victory against Aston Villa at the Liberty, before the lacklustre game against Southampton a week later showed why the season needed to end when it did!
|The big man|
We saw some brilliant players offer awesome contributions. Wilfried Bony for one almost single-handedly kept Swansea afloat while the rest of the team were simultaneously out of form. His goals show why he was actually a bargain at £12 million! Jonjo Shelvey also developed into a more rounded player, offering a new attacking option and a couple of very memorable goals (make sure to read Jacob's rules for The Official Jonjo Shelvey Drinking Game!)
Jose Canas, Alejando Pozuelo, Alvaro Vazquez and even Michu all underperformed and ended up playing no part towards the end of the season. It will be interesting to see where they all are come September.
There was plenty of moaning throughout the season (myself included), though in the end - apart from finishing slightly lower than we may have liked - no-one can really complain.
Though the season is now over we will still do our best to update ForzaSwansea.com with the goings-on in the Swansea City world over the summer, starting with an upcoming Blogger Q&A later this week.
For now, thanks for reading again this season - it's been one hell of year, but thank f**k it's over!