Friday 1 December 2017

A Key January for the Swans: The Players to Help Keep Them in the Top Flight

It’s been another rough start to the season for Swansea City. The Welsh club sit uncomfortably in the relegation zone having won just two in 13.

Paul Clement still believes he’s the man to take them forward, and the board are seemingly sticking with him. Tony Pulis has been rumoured to be interested in the job and Clement is the favourite amongst football betting teams to be sacked next in the Premier League.

Either way, work in the January transfer window is needed, and rumours are flying about who could make their way to the Liberty Stadium in the new year…

Santiago Arias

The full back areas are definitely in need of improvement at Swansea and they seem keen on making a move for PSV right back Santiago Arias.

The 25-year-old has been plying his trade in the Dutch Eredivisie since 2013 and has notched up 134 appearances for his club.

He’s highly regarded in his home nation of Colombia and a move to the Premier League is high on his agenda.

The Swans were put off by a £12million price tag in the summer, but times are a little more desperate now.

Jonathan Viera

Speaking of desperate, the Swansea attack is in dire need of talent. Having lost Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente in the summer, they’ve not really replaced their goals.

The return of Wilfried Bony has failed to set the world alight, so a new face, or a few, will be vital in January.

It’ll be make or break for the man in charge when it comes to buying new attackers. Jonathan Viera of Las Palmas seems the most likely man to turn to.

He was called up to the Spain squad recently but a £30million release clause could prove to be a sticking point.

The 28-year-old was linked with a move in the summer but nothing materialised, will it be a case of same again?

Vincent Aboubakar

Another player who was linked with signing for the Swans in the summer is Vincent Aboubakar.

The Porto man is dead set on a move to England and his form will make him a wanted man this January.

The Cameroonian forward has 14 goals in 16 games for the Portuguese outfit, goals that’d be vital for Paul Clement’s men.

He’s shown an interest in the club, the club now need to go and get him. 

Monday 30 October 2017

Which Swans manager has the best Premier League win ratio?

Paul Clement's job is edging closer to being untenable according to the majority of Swansea City fans, despite his heroics at the back of end last season.

Saturday's disappointing display in the 2-1 loss at Arsenal enraged many fans as the former Bayern Munich and Chelsea assistant manager refused to make positive, attacking changes.

Clement's defensive approach has been very much hit and miss this campaign, resulting in successful results against Southampton, Crystal Palace and Spurs, but the Swans still only sit narrowly above the drop zone on goal difference.

After delving deeper into the complete statistics, we discovered that Paul Clement's 35.71% league win record as Swansea manager actually makes him the second best Premier League manager in the club's history at the time of writing.

But who tops the list?

Well, no surprises for assuming who's in last place! That prize goes to American boss Bob Bradley, who managed a dismal 18.81% league win ratio in his reign of terror in 2016. He may have been given a weak hand and very little time, but performances and results were truly awful and it's still rather baffling how he got the job in the first place.

Ironically in the fifth place, the Europa League spot, is Michael Laudrup. The Dane made history by winning Swansea's first ever major trophy in 2013, battling for Capital One Cup glory and earning the Swans first venture into Europe in 22 years. Domestically however, Laudrup's record was somewhat underwhelming.

Laudrup's ninth place finish in 2012/13 actually only saw 11 league wins in total. Just five more than that Capital One Cup campaign! The distraction of trips to SpainRussia and Switzerland in the Europa League certainly didn't help his cause, but his accrued league win percentage stands at 27.41%.

In fourth spot is the man who brought the glory days back to Swansea. Brendan Rodgers led the Jack Army to their first top flight appearance since 1983, doing so with an easy-on-the-eye footballing style beloved by neutrals far and wide. That unique pass-based gameplan gained plenty of plaudits as the Swans earned a surprising 11th place finish - but how many games did Brendan win at the helm?

On the whole, Rodgers left with a superb 44.79% win ratio. In the Premier League, however, his total 12 wins from 38 earns him a disappointing percentage of 31.57%.

Marginally behind Paul Clement in second place is the man who began last season in charge - Francesco Guidolin. The experienced Italian was granted just seven games in the dugout before the hierarchy got rid last season, in spite of a hard-fought 12th place finish in the season previous.

It's a controversial decision to this day - Guidolin had seen far too many of his key players moved on in the transfer window and the Swans fans had a lot of time and respect for him. Nevertheless, it is what it is.

So here we are. Most fans will have already worked it out, but it's true. Swansea City's best Premier League permanent manager since 2011 is club legend Garry Monk!

His role in helping the Swans recover from a dreadful first half to the 2013/14 season was pivotal, restoring the positive vibes in the dressing room. In his only full season at the helm, Monk led the Swans to their highest Premier League finish of eighth, bringing in highly successful signings Lukasz Fabianski and Gylfi Sigurdsson that season.

Despite seeing positives from his signings of Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew, Monk was moved on in December 2015 with three wins from 15 league matches.

Nonetheless, Monk's complete combined league win record of 35.82% remains ever-so-slightly better than Clement's current record of 35.71%.

Monk's sacking was deemed harsh by many at the time - would sacking Clement get the same kind of response?

Sunday 29 October 2017

Arsenal 2-1 Swans - Abject Swans cling on to 'positives'

For 30 minutes at least, Swans fans astonishingly began to believe that a near-impossible win at the Emirates was on the cards. As ever, that dream was shattered limply in the space of 10 minutes in the second half.

It could have all been so different. Should Jordan Ayew have squared the simplest of chances to Tammy Abraham when he dispossessed Per Mertesacker inside the Arsenal penalty area with minutes left until half-time, it really could've been game over.

Instead, we're left to hear the same old soundbites. Paul Clement claimed that 'a good performance is just around the corner' midweek, while citing plenty of improvements and positives after another failed good performance on Saturday.

Yes, the goal was a lovely move, Abraham's perfectly weighted pass was dispatched with calmness and precision from Sam Clucas - but where were the other positives?

Arsenal controlled the game, not just in terms of possession (of which they had 73%), but in terms of the flow and the chances. The first Arsenal goal was a tad lucky with the ball bobbling to Kolasinac rather fortunately, but the second goal was a complete and utter shambles. Ramsey was in acres of space, queuing up with other teammates inside the box, while Kolasinac had all the time in the world to pick the pass.

That second half Swans display was almost certainly one of the worst we've seen all season. The lack of changes, attacking intent and belief in the ranks at 2-1 was disturbing.

Clement said post-match: "It's always going to be a difficult test against an Arsenal side with so many quality offensive players - you have to be so focused for the whole game. I thought we deserved a point."

Words of a man clutching at straws with his job on the line, no doubt. And rightly so after another 90 minutes evidence of regression.

Thursday 26 October 2017

Arsenal v Swansea Preview (28/10/2017)

After last weekend’s result, Swansea City will look to put things right in their upcoming fixture against Arsenal. The 2-1 home loss to Leicester wasn’t what Paul Clement had in mind, and travelling to the Emirates Stadium will be no easy task.

Despite the recent loss, Swansea actually had 56% possession, meaning they had plenty of the ball throughout the game. The Swans had a number of chances, but didn’t prove to be clinical enough in the end.

Still on eight points, Swansea are hovering around the lower part of the Premier League as goal difference is the saviour of the side’s position. The total goals conceded so far isn’t actually too bad at 10, while goals scored has tallied just six. The lads need to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to claim vital points this season.

The key player for Swans thus far has been Tammy Abraham. The youngster currently has four league goals to his name and proves a threat up front. His lanky physique is a great asset to have on the pitch and, if utilised correctly, Swansea have that “go-to” player.

Although we are only nine games into the season, fans will feel a little edgy after the recent loss to Leicester and there is many reasons to be. The main thing on any Premier League fans’ mind would be the security of your own team in the Premier League. Thinking about not being in that bottom three is painful at times.

For now, Swansea shouldn’t need to worry. Despite playing away to Arsenal next, there are five teams currently below them. Plus, those other teams will have to play each other and some of the top sides in the Premier League yet.

Heading into the Arsenal fixture, Arsene Wenger’s side are still missing key players. Santi Cazorla is still out injured; as are Calum Chambers, Skhodran Mustafi and Danny Welbeck. None of these three players will be back for the Swansea game.

The Swans will have four players missing for the trip to the Emirates Stadium. Kyle Bartley of course is still injured. Martin Olsson suffered a hamstring injury and doesn’t have a return date set yet. Rentao Sanches is out until November with a thigh strain and Wilfried Bony has a hamstring problem which makes him a major doubt against Arsenal.

Paul Clement will be having a headache over wanting his strongest side possible but with key players missing he will have to make due. The key now is to focus on the game ahead and hopefully grab something against Arsenal.

The Gunners may have won 5-2 at Everton last time out but they ARE conceding goals. If Swansea head into the game with a positive attitude, they could shock Arsene Wenger’s side. We have already seen them lose a few times this season and there is no reason why the Welsh side can’t beat them this weekend. 

Up the Jack Army.

Loanee must continue firing on all cylinders for the Swans

Now we already know the highest scoring player for the Swans this season is Chelsea loanee, Tammy Abraham. The 20-year-old has looked keen in front of goal and definitely has potential to do great things. But can he score more than enough goals for the Swans this season?

With only six goals scored by Swansea so far, a player like Tammy Abraham is certainly needed. Standing at 6’3, the youngster can use his towering frame to an advantage when taking part in set pieces or jostling for the ball in the air.

Tammy Abraham, or “Kevin Oghenetega Tamaraebi Bakumo-Abraham” as he is known by his birth name, has really taken to a shine at Swansea since joining on loan. He impressed at Bristol City in the Championship last season by being the league’s second top goal scorer. His tally of 23 goals was only beaten by then, Leeds striker, Chris Wood with 27.

At such a young age, Abraham has much potential and a lot to learn even though he is seen as the main threat in Paul Clements’ side. The striker has also averaged a goal for every four shots taken. With a conversion rate of 25% you would bet on the England under-21 starlet to grab plenty more goals this season.

Come the end of the campaign, Tammy Abraham could be crucial in Swansea’s final league finish. With Arsenal being the next opponents, Paul Clement will hope the young forward can cause the Gunners’ defence all sorts of issues.

Arsenal haven’t looked all that great as they have conceded 12 goals already this season. That’s more than one goal per game. Even though they beat Everton 5-2 their defence does look a little shaky. If Abraham can nit-pick his way in the upcoming game there could be an upset on the cards.

When it comes down to attacking threats, Tammy Abaraham is seen as a reliable source. He proved it in the Championship last season and he is starting to prove it this year in the Premier League. Paul Clement does have faith in him and the more time he gets the more confident he will be.

Getting a goal this weekend would be something special for the youngster but even playing any part in a positive result against Arsenal will be gladly taken.  

Thursday 19 October 2017

Swansea v Leicester Preview (21/10/2017)

After last weeks result the Swans should be in good spirits. Tammy Abraham's brace against Huddersfield secured the 2-0 home victory. Pushing Swansea into 13th place, they now look a little more comfortable.

The return of Ki Seung-Yeung was also a positive as the Korean was applauded as he stepped back onto the pitch for the first time this season. Even though Swansea won 2-0 they only had 40% possession. Showing that you don't need the ball all the time to be able to win the game.

Now on eight points, Swansea look to push on from where they are. Back to back wins would be welcomed and the next fixture is at home to a struggling Leicester side. With Craig Shakespeare shown the door, Michael Appleton has now taken the caretaker managerial role. The Foxes haven't won in their last three games and Swansea will want to take advantage.

Leicester have no new injuries but Robert Huth and Matty James are still out. For the Swans, Renato Sanches will be a slight doubt due to a thigh strain and also Wilfried Bony with a hamstring injury. Hopefully the duo can recover in time for the weekend. Kyle Bartley is the only other injury Swansea have. He won't be back until December.

So it looks like a good bit of news for Paul Clement as Sanches and Bony may be back available for selection. If they do recover in time, the boss will have plenty of options heading into the game at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

It will be more likely that the Swans boss will opt for the 4-3-1-2 formation that worked against Huddersfield last week. Depending on players possibly returning from injuries there could be a number of changes from last fixtures starting XI. However, Clement will not want to mess around with tactics too much as he will want to keep things pretty much the same if he wants to pick up another win.

Swansea have a good bit of momentum heading into this game with Leicester as the Foxes have drawn their last two games against West Brom and Bournemouth. This could be a perfect chance for Swansea to kick Leicester while they are down. Harsh it may seem but it's every team for themselves in the Premier League.

I'm going to go for a 2-1 Swans victory even though Leicester will be fighting. With that said, Swansea will be in a positive mood so they should find the flow of the game easier at home.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Swansea v Huddersfield Preview (14/10/2017)

Now the international break is over, we can all return our attention back to the Premier League. It hasn't been the best of starts for the lads as Swansea sit inside the relegation zone. With just five points from seven games played there is definitely much tweaking needed to be done.

Last outing's loss to West Ham shed a little more light on how tricky some fixtures can be despite Diafra Sakho getting the late winner. The deficits aren't even that bad it's just getting the results that is the problem at the moment. Paul Clement will obviously be speaking individually with each player on how he wants them to play this weekend against Huddersfield.

With a team like Huddersfield coming to town you would expect the Swans to at least get some sort of result. The Terriers started off their campaign fantastically with two wins against Crystal Palace and Newcastle. But since then, David Wagner's men haven't won a single match. They have only picked up three points from their last five matches and only one of them was away.

Looking at Huddersfield's records, this fixture should be a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of. But that is easier said than done. With the game being at the Liberty Stadium, there should be a home crowd urging the lads on in what is surely a winnable fixture.

If Swansea want to pick up points soon, now is the perfect time. There are no new injury problems and Ki Sung-Yeung will be a major doubt due to fitness but that is good news that we know he will be back soon. Obviously, Kyle Bartley is still out with his knee ligament injury. Ruling him out until the middle of November.

Huddersfield are expecting Colin Quaner and Steve Mounie to return from injuries but will still have a few players missing. Daniel Williams is expected to be out for another week with a fractured foot while Kasey Palmer and Michael Hefele won't be back until the middle of November. Jon Stankovic is also still out with an ACL knee injury sustained in March. He still has no return date set.

With the injury list Huddersfield have and this fixture being played at home, we should be looking at a Swansea side that can take advantage. If not there will be some serious questions asked. Huddersfield have shown their weakness lately and I think Swansea will edge them with a 1-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium this Saturday.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

West Ham v Swansea Preview (30/09/2017)

Heading into the weekend, Swansea face another task in the Premier League this season. The lads will be travelling to the all-new, London Stadium this Saturday. Facing West Ham will be a tough test as no win in three games means results are needed sooner rather than later.

Last week's 2-1 loss at home to Watford wasn't ideal and focusing on the game ahead is key. Any form of result would be welcomed as the Premier League is starting to take its shape. With that being said, it is still quite open. Five points only separate 19th up to 11th place.

If you are thinking Swansea might not get anything against West Ham, think again. In their three Premier League away games this season they are unbeaten. A 0-0 draw at Southampton, a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace and a 0-0 draw at Tottenham.

Continuing an away form would be ideal against West Ham and Paul Clement will hope his squad will put in a good performance as well.

Nathan Dyer may be in contention to make a comeback into the squad after he appeared for the under 23's last week in a 3-1 defeat to Man City. The winger played 58 minutes after returning from a long-term ruptured Achilles tendon injury. He had been out since February and is hoping to make the squad this Saturday.

Kyle Bartley is still out until October with a ruptured knee ligament. Ki Sung-Yeung is expected to return from his knee injury but will likely feature for the under 23's this weekend against Celtic on his return to full fitness.

West Ham will be without Michail Antonio, James Collins and Manuel Lanzini through various injuries. Pedro Obiang and Edimilson Fernandes will be major doubts which Swansea will want to take advantage of this Saturday.

With the away form, it should be at least an interesting game from the neutral but the Swans need to pick up those crucial points when needed. 

Thursday 21 September 2017

The League Cup draw and Swans v Watford Preview (23/09/2017)

The away win on Tuesday night was a great result from the lads as they headed into the last 16 of the League Cup. Goals from Alfie Mawson and Jordan Ayew sealed the 2-0 win at the Madejski Stadium.

Now into the next stage, Paul Clement will be aware of the side arriving at the Liberty Stadium on the 24th October. Manchester United. A huge draw for the club as there is a chance of redemption considering what happened a while back. We don't want to be reminded.

With Watford arriving at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, there is a chance for Wilfried Bony to make his first team start this season. We're pretty sure Swans fans will be singing his popularized "Come on Wilfried Bony" song. It would mean the world to him and all Swansea fans if he could get himself on the scoresheet this weekend.

There will be no new injury worries ahead of this weekend's fixture. Nathan Dyer will face a late fitness test after suffering an Achilles injury. Paul Clement will pretty much have a full-strength squad as we look forward to a winnable game.

Watford did recently suffer at the hands of Man City last weekend 6-0 so it should be a good sign. They were unbeaten but Pep Guardiola's side may have knocked their confidence. It would be a perfect time to play Watford, especially at home.

Marco Silva's side have a few injury problems but two players will be slight doubts in returning this weekend. Kiko Femenia has been out with a head injury and Sebastian Prodl with a hamstring problem. Both players are 50/50 in being available to play on Saturday.

Mauro Zarate, Younes Kaboul, Craig Cathcart and Tommie Hoban will all still be unavailable. That is something Swansea fans would rather hear but the job needs to be done on Saturday. Whether it's a scrappy game or very close. The three points need to be certain and a game against a Watford side right now shows the potential of a possible victory.

A win at home would be great but a goal for the returning Wilfried Bony would be something in the script. We hope that it can be a perfect day at the Liberty Stadium.

Friday 15 September 2017

Spurs v Swansea Preview (16/9/2017)

If last Sunday's defeat to Newcastle was upsetting, it's hard to consider how to feel going into Spurs away.

On one hand, it's going to be lovely to return to Wembley again!

On the other hand, an aggregate loss of 8-1 to them last season and six successive losses when travelling to Tottenham won't fill anyone with much confidence.

The team news is that Nathan Dyer, Ki Sung-Yueng and Kyle Bartley are all missing again, while Oli McBurnie travels after his loan move to Barnsley fell through.

Paul Clement has confirmed that Wilfried Bony is still not fit to start after featuring for the Under 23's on Monday - he will be on the bench on Saturday.

Clement said: "He [Bony] played 63 minutes, scored a goal and showed his leadership qualities. Now it's about getting that match sharpness."

Swans fans have been urged to back Renato Sanches despite an ineffective debut last weekend. Sanches could feature in the midfield with Leon Britton and Roque Mesa this weekend, who have been tipped to return - though Sam Clucas should also start.

Spurs will be missing Victor Wanyama, Danny Rose, Erik Lamela and Georges-Kevin N'Koudou, which could limit the hosts.

Let us pray for something a little less glum this weekend. Like a Swans goal, for example.

In all seriousness, the defence has been pretty steady and a packed-out midfield could give us a bit of hope. Spurs are also a bit shaky at Wembley, though they did win midweek. I'll go for a very optimistic 1-1 draw.

Thursday 7 September 2017

Swans v Newcastle Preview (10/9/17)

The Swans completed a hectic transfer deadline day by replacing the outgoing Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson with Wilfried Bony and Renato Sanches, but these two signings must adapt quickly to ensure Paul Clement's side aren't facing another relegation battle.

Needless to say, the Jack Army know how much of a loss Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente could be. At £45m, Sigurdsson is clearly a very talented player and his 9 goals and 13 assists will be sorely missed. Llorente is a Spain international who scored 15 goals in his first Premier League season.

But the past is now in the past and Swansea must learn to cope without two players who rightfully saw their future at a higher standard.

Wilfried Bony has returned following a dreadful season with Stoke City, scoring 2 goals in 10 appearances and being outcast for the full second half of the season after a fallout with Mark Hughes. Many will have doubts about his pricetag and ability to replace Llorente, but it's important to consider that Llorente was arriving on the back of two very poor seasons with Juventus and Sevilla respectively. We've seen the raw ability Bony has to offer, scoring 17 back in 2013/14, and the Jack Army must remain confident that Clement can unlock that ability once again.

Renato Sanches has arrived on the back of a season coming off the bench for Bayern Munich. Naturally, some will assume that is because he's not good enough. But it's very important to remember that he had Xabi Alonso, Thiago Alcantara and Arturo Vidal ahead of him in Munich. This a Golden Boy winner we're talking about here - previous winners include Anthony Martial, Raheem Sterling, Paul Pogba and Isco. This isn't a player arriving off the back of a solitary good season in the lower leagues - this is an influential European Championship winner at the age of just 18.

Should Paul Clement motivate these potentially great players, Swansea should be looking up rather than down. With Newcastle at home approaching this weekend, it's crucial that we see some signs that these players can adapt quickly.

The Toon have just three points out of three games so far, one less than the Swans. Their away match at Huddersfield resulted in a poor performance and a dismal 1-0 loss and, considering a less equipped Swans side picked up three points away at Crystal Palace before the international break, the Jack Army should be confident of taking three points on Sunday.

Swansea have won 6 out of 10 home league matches since Clement took charge, with 1 draw and 3 losses. Those 3 losses came against top 6 sides (Spurs, Arsenal and Man United) and 2 of those 3 wins came against bottom half sides.

Is it too early to claim this game could define the season? A win here would be a statement - a relegation battle isn't on the agenda. I truly believe the Swans will win this game and it could be a huge win to build on. I'll take a punt on a 2-0 home win on Sunday.

Monday 4 September 2017

Time and investment is key for the Swans

Heading into the Newcastle game this weekend, Swansea feel as though the upcoming game is very winnable. After the recent 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace there should be an edge of momentum that can be lifted by the recent signings made by the club.

With the departures of Sigurdsson, Llorente and Cork making up the majority of income from this summers' transfer window, just under £78m has seen it's way into the club. As for players coming in, loanee's such as Renato Sanches and Tammy Abraham have cost just over £8m for the season.

Permanent signings include Roque Mesa, Sam Clucas and the returning Wilfried Bony have cost the club just over £50m. A profit of around £20m dealt with by Paul Clement can be seen as a bit of an investment. However, if some of the profited transfer money is invested it can take some time in effect of what the club is inspired to do with the money.

In this day and age £20m does not seem like a lot in the Premier League but if pumped back into a club like Swansea it could be a real benefit. With transfers obviously dealt with for at least another four months there can be many various examples of where some of the money can go.

Being in the Premier League has potential to use profits in many different ways. Improving club facilities. Investing in coaches and scouts. Investing more into youth set ups. If used correctly the investments can be a long-term plan and the rewards would be great.

But for now, long-term plans are not the focus for Paul Clement and the Swans as there are jobs to be done right now. Those jobs include getting the vital points when needed. With Newcastle travelling to the Liberty Stadium this weekend it will not be an easy game.

The Magpies will also be on a high after their 3-0 victory over West Ham but come Sunday they will be put to the test. The introduction of Sanches and Bony should lift Swansea's urgency in the game whether they start or come off the bench. It is important how they will be used this weekend to ensure all three points are taken.

The game on Sunday should have a good atmosphere as fans will be in the mood relishing for the win. Urgency will be key and that is what will get the Liberty Stadium rocking. Getting in front of Newcastle this weekend would also be a sign of greater things to come.

Friday 1 September 2017

Food for thought after frenetic Swans deadline day

At the end of a long, long 24 hours, we can categorically say that Swansea City are in a much healthier position than they were heading into the transfer window.

This time last season, barely-known marquee signing Borja Baston had arrived for a club-record fee. Fast forward to now and we've got a real star in our hands for a year at the very least with Tammy Abraham. And it cost nothing! His first goal came against Palace last weekend and he's clearly got a great deal of potential.

Fernando Llorente worked out an absolute treat last summer and his goals were huge last season, but swapping him for a younger, equally proven Premier League goalscorer and Swans hero in Wilfried Bony should send us wild, wild wild all over again. The Swans have two fantastic choices to lead their forward line again.

Needless to say that a lack of strength or depth in the centre of the park was a real concern. Here we are now with Roque Mesa, Sam Clucas, Tom Carroll, Leroy Fer, Ki Sung-yueng, Leroy Fer, Golden Boy Renato bloody Sanches and Leon. Outstanding work has been done in this department.

Question marks for the season DO still remain in the defence. The sale of Stephen Kingsley leaves no reserve at left back/left wing-back, while a deal for Santiago Arias at right back never materialised and no central defenders arrived other than the return of Kyle Bartley. Clement has made the current Swans defence into a solid force, but quality recruits and depth is still a slight concern.

Equally, there's worries over creativity. The mercurial Gylfi Sigurdsson was at the heart of everything for Swans last season and everybody knew it. Everton saw fit to spend £45m on the Icelandic heartthrob with good reason. The signing of Nacer Chadli would've offered significant threat and creativity from the flanks, where options are clearly lacking.

Hopefully the wing-backs in the new 3-5-2 formation can stay fit AND continue to get involved on the offence as they did at the end of last season. That's essentially the answer to Clement's biggest weaknesses going forward.

Ultimately, the Swans are in a much better state than last season and fears of another relegation battle should be slowly fading away.

Don't forget - one of the world's best young prospects is a Jack, after all. The Swans are on the rise again!

Monday 28 August 2017

Swans can build on Palace win

Swans midfielder Tom Carroll has proclaimed his satisfaction over the 2-0 over Crystal Palace at the weekend. The former Spurs trainee has proclaimed that the victory at Selhurst Park can provide his side with a 'springboard for further success'.

"We knew before kick-off that it was a big game," Carroll stated. "Then after the first-half, when we went in 1-0 up, we felt we had a big opportunity of taking the three points.

"When you look at things now, especially after our cup win in midweek, it’s been a good start to the season," he said.

Swansea looked very comfortable on Saturday afternoon, now earning four points from three considerably difficult Premier League fixtures. Carroll believes that the season has begun quite well, and all things considered, we wholeheartedly agree.

With several days still left to complete business, the Swans and Paul Clement must ensure they hold onto assets like Fernando Llorente and look to strengthen where possible. Moves for Santiago Arias, Nacer Chadli and Wilfried Bony have been touted, and those signings would boost key areas in the squad.

Carroll and I seemingly agree that it is vital that the Swans now build on the points they picked up at Southampton and Crystal Palace after the international break to avoid another relegation battle.

"We showed [today] what we can do. It was a positive result and I firmly believe we can push on from this now," he added.

Thursday 24 August 2017

Crystal Palace v Swans Preview (26/8/17)

Last Saturday? Nope, I don't remember anything of note happening. Absolutely nothing.

It's all about this Saturday. The Swans travel to lovely Croydon once again to face Crystal Palace. It's been a place of reasonable joy for the last few years for the Jack Army. Two wins out of four and just one loss with nothing on the line back in 2015.

Last season's two games against Palace saw 12 goals fired in - 7 of them from the Swans! The 5-4 epic under Bob Bradley was probably the most exhilarating game since the Premier League return, while the 2-1 smash and grab under Clement saw the absolute top boy Angel Rangel bag a late winner and create scenes in the away end.

Same again this season would go down a treat. Fernando Llorente came off the bench to terrorise Alan Pardew's lot at the Liberty last season and he could be back for the weekend. A potent lack of goal threat has been obvious in the first two games and, even though confidence is higher from midweek's EFL Cup cracker, the Spanish international would boost attacking credentials.

Kyle Bartley and Ki-Sung Yueng are missing for the Swans, though their significance is nothing compared to Palace missing influential winger Wilfried Zaha and centre back Jairo Riedewald. New £16.5m signing Sam Clucas could feature in the Swans side and his energy and workrate will breathe new life into a lifeless midfield. Roque Mesa looked pretty bright on his debut and should start again here, though he has a lot more to offer.

Palace have operated with three at the back under new boss Frank de Boer and haven't looked entirely comfortable, creating nothing against Liverpool and looking vulnerable in their loss to Huddersfield. Swans will likely revert to four at the back at the Selhurst Park.

Both sides have yet to score in the league this season, but the 15th place and 18th place sides will know that this is a huge opportunity here. Swans record against Palace bodes well, while Clement has had time to adapt and learn how to take points in crucial games - de Boer hasn't yet.

The backline will get flak for letting in three late goals against Man United (fine, we're accepting that it happened), but it was pretty tight before the subs were made and the capitulation took place. Swans have four wins out of the last six competitive matches and only conceded two in the five that weren't against Man United...

The 16/5 for the Jack Army to take the three points here is top when you consider Huddersfield's efforts here. A repeat of the 2-1 win from last season is 16/1 with Winner Sports - why not eh?

Monday 21 August 2017

Swansea target Sam Clucas close to Premier League switch

Hull City midfielder Sam Clucas is on the brink of signing for a Premier League club, his manager Leonid Slutsky confirmed.

Clucas asked to be left out of the Hull squad for their 2-1 Championship defeat to QPR on Saturday as he closes in on a return to the top-flight.

Swansea are believed to be one of the frontrunners for his signature, but reportedly face stiff competition from Burnley, who have had two bids rejected.

"Clucas is preparing to play for another club," Slutsky told reporters after his side's loss to QPR. "I think a deal has been agreed.

"It was his decision not to play, but in the next days, I think a deal will be announced. It is a Premier League club. I think it is a decision made all together but it was his as well."

Swans manager Paul Clement is understood to have funds available to him, especially following the £40m gained from Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure to Everton, and admitted that he needs to add quality to his squad in order to avoid a relegation scrap. 

"The moment Gylfi's going you know you need to do that. Without him, [Fernando] Llorente and Ki [Sung-yueng], when they're out, we are weaker," he said.

"We still have a good squad, but we absolutely need more quality players to come in so we have a chance of being competitive this year.

"The situation is very fluid at the moments: texts, emails and telephone calls are going back and forth between various parties. We hope by the deadline - and someone asked me would it be before Crystal Palace [on 26 August] - but as soon as we can do it the better.

Sunday 20 August 2017

Paul Clement drawing positives despite being swept away by ruthless United

Swansea City manager Paul Clement insists that the scoreline did not fully reflect the story as he watched his side go down 4-0 to Manchester United.

A late blitz of goals from United made the game look thoroughly one-sided, but for long stretches, while the score was still 1-0, Swansea conducted themselves admirably.

“We were competitive for long periods of the game – right up until the second goal,” Clement said.“The difference between the sides for a long time was a set-play. Although we had to defend more than they did, I thought our shape was good and we didn’t let them have any real clear-cut chances.

“We are disappointed about the way we defended the set-play. We have a really good record defending set-plays – we only conceded one after I came in last season – so to concede in that fashion was disappointing.

“But there were enough good things in the first half for me to say at half-time that we were still very much in the game and must not let our confidence get affected.

“That was the case right up until the second goal.

“Whereas last week at Southampton I was more disappointed with the performance than the result, today I am more disappointed with the result rather than some of the things we did.

“I think the supporters felt that way too. I think they were happy with some of the things they saw up until the second goal.”

However, Clement admitted that his side could have done more to prevent their late capitulation as United ran away with it thanks to a quick-fire triple from Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial.

I don’t want to be a coach who is happy losing 1-0, so I made some offensive changes,” Clement added.

“But the second goal we gave them was a gift. We missed a couple of tackles in midfield and then we were out of position at the back and they punished us.

“The third goal was a loose pass. They are so strong on the counter and they showed it again.

“The first goal is always important in this league. Jose (Mourinho) has shown over the years that when his team go 1-0 up, they manage games so well.

“They know the other team will have to come out and in the end they punished us.”

Saturday 19 August 2017

Paul Clement admits Swansea need quality after United defeat

Swansea City manager Paul Clement was under no illusion following his side's 4-0 defeat to Manchester United, admitting that the club 'absolutely need to sign quality players.'

A late flurry of United goals heaped the misery on the Welsh club at the end of a week which has seen them one of their finest-ever players, Gylfi Sigurdsson, depart for Everton.

Without the Icelandic playmaker's craft and guile, Swansea struggled to create. They are also still missing last season's top-scorer Fernando Llorente, who is still injured, and Clement admitted that he needs to sign players.

“We absolutely need more quality players to come in, so we have a chance of being competitive this year,” Clement said.

“The sooner we can do it the better. It could go later in the window but the necessity is there. It’s clear.

“We were competitive for long periods of the game. Up until the second goal the difference was a set-play and generally, the shape was good.

“I made some offensive changes because I don’t want to be a coach happy to lose 1-0 at home, but we ended up playing to their strengths and they punished us.”

“Today I’m more disappointed with the result than some of things I’ve seen. I was happy with some of the things defensively, not so happy offensively.

“We went a goal down and tried to do something about it but we got punished and it’s hard to take.”

Next up for Swansea is an EFL Cup tie against MK Dons before travelling to Selhurst Park next week to face Crystal Palace, who have opened their season with two straight defeats. 

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Swansea braced for disappointment as Stoke refuse to sell Joe Allen

Swansea's pursuit of Joe Allen may be an exercise in futility with Stoke City refusing to entertain offers for the Wales midfielder.

According to Sky Sports, Stoke have directly informed Allen's former club that he will remain with the Potters beyond this window, indicating that the player himself is happy and settled in Mark Hughes' first-team.

Allen helped establish Swansea as a Premier League side before scoring a lucrative move to Liverpool. He spent four years at Anfield before joining Stoke last summer, going on to have one of the finest seasons of his career.

Stoke boss Hughes had appeared to pour cold water over any potential deal, too, saying that Allen is simply not for sale.

"My understanding is there was a tentative inquiry and that was it.

"We rebuffed that, didn't give it any encouragement whatsoever, and that's where we are with that one, not for sale."

Paul Clement admits Swansea's transfer business may cut it fine on deadline day

Swansea City manager admits that the club's quest to complete their recruitment for the new season may bring them right to transfer deadline day.

Clement watched his side draw 0-0 with Southampton on Saturday but knows that bolstering his squad is absolutely imperative if they are to steer clear of the relegation zone. The expected departure of Gylfi Sigurdsson, their most influential attacking player, has placed further emphasis on the need for new signings.

The manager will have funds at his disposal with which he is expected to make moves for Wilfried Bony – the former Swansea striker who is deemed surplus to requirements at Manchester City – West Brom's Nacer Chadli and Joe Allen of Stoke City.

However, Clement – in a subtle warning to fans expecting announcements this week – has implied that it may be a struggle to conduct all desired deals before the deadline.

“For me, I want players in as soon as possible but the reality is it could go to the last day in terms of ‘ins’,” he said.

But we want the time to be able to do the negotiating, and if it is on the last day it is hard to do it or you pay way over the amount, and we don’t want to do that either.

“We’ve identified targets, but you don’t know if you can get the first choice on your list.”

Clement also expressed his wish for the transfer window to shut before the season starts as to not unsettle players such as Diego Costa, Virgil van Dijk and Philippe Coutinho whereby they are not available for selection.

“It is frustrating here and I am sure Southampton and Liverpool are frustrated too. That’s why the window needs to close before the season starts so you can get on with football,” he said.

“Our club would support that decision. In our managers’ meeting at the Premier League last week we spoke about it, it was discussed and I think the majority of clubs are in favour of it.

“I think we all have to be in favour of it for it to go through."

Swans v Man United Preview (19/8/17)

Considering last season's early loss at St Marys, we can only think of last weekend's stalemate at Southampton as a positive.

Yes it was dull, yes we failed to register a single shot on target and yes we sat back for a point - but we got that point. It's hard to imagine many teams will leave the south coast with anything more than a beating, so let's keep our heads high.

It's very much a case of onto the next one now. Unfortunately, the next one is one of the toughest around in Manchester United. The Reds are flying high after their 4-0 smashing of West Ham on Sunday and £75m striker Romelu Lukaku appears absolutely lethal.

This same fixture last year prompted a chorus of boo's from the Liberty as Bob Bradley led the Swans to a limp 3-1 home loss. Pogba and Ibrahimovic's goals had finished us off within half an hour and we sat delicately poised in 19th spot on just FIVE points - joint with Sunderland!

Realistically, that should remind us just how poor the situation was before Paul Clement arrived. With Clement in charge here, things will surely be different.

This IS a Man United squad who are stronger than they were this time last year, but it's also a Swansea squad rejuvenated. The likes of Van der Hoorn, Barrow and Borja won't be seen, while Olsson, Abraham and Ayew will give offer much more quality.

The setup will likely be the same as the trip to Southampton. Routledge and Ayew on the flanks, Abraham leading the line, three in the middle. With a feisty, energetic United midfield of Pogba, Matic and possibly Herrera, Roque Mesa could be introduced for Leon Britton, with Tom Carroll holding and Leroy Fer playing ever-so-slightly further forward.

This current back four has let in just one goal in their last four league games and must continue to shine against a scary Man United forward line. Given our strength rests mostly in our defensive ability and structure and the fact that Gylfi Sigurdsson, Ki Sung-yueng and Nathan Dyer will all definitely be missing, it's hard to envision a crazy game full of goals. With Fernando Llorente also probable to miss out, it's hard to imagine any Swans goals at all.

The focus will be on keeping things tight and not getting beat - in doing that, you create a couple of chances yourself and possibly take the game. Keep this United side quiet and we've had a good day. We'd be happy with a 0-0 at 12/1 with Paddy Power, but a 1-1 seems more realistic at 9/1 with William Hill. The draw is 10/3 with Sky Bet, while a Swans win (dare we dream?) is 9/1 with Paddy Power.

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Swansea City sign former Coventry youngster Courtney Baker-Richardson

Swansea City have confirmed the signing of Courtney Baker-Richardson from non-league side Leamington FC.

The former Coventry City academy product will link up with the club's U23 side on a two-year contract after impressing in the National League North last season, where he scored 21 goals.

The 21-year-old started his career with the Sky Blues but only made two first-team appearances before moving on. He also had spells with Tamworth, Nuneaton and Redditch.

“It still has not sunk in,” said Baker-Richardson.

“The welcome I have had has been superb and I feel this is a move that can benefit my career and help me push me on. I am very excited to get started.

“I have had to take a few knock backs in my career, but whenever people tell me I am not good enough, it only motivates me to prove them wrong.

"I had a good 18 months at Leamington and I feel I can deliver at this level.

“I watched the game on Friday (against Liverpool U23s) and thought we were unfortunate to lose 2-0.

“I am looking forward to getting started.”

Monday 14 August 2017

West Brom boss Tony Pulis not ruling out Chadli to Swansea

West Brom manager Tony Pulis has confirmed that the club is willing to listen to offers for winger Nacer Chadli, with Swansea believed to be one of the interested parties.

The Belgium international, who joined the Baggies from Tottenham Hotspur last summer in a club record £13million deal, is a key target for Swans boss Paul Clement, who is actively pursuing targets in preparation for Gylfi Sigurdsson's expected departure to Everton.

Clement admires Chadli's pace and creativity and believes he would be a strong addition at the Liberty Stadium as he can be played in the centre or out wide.

"It's been publicised that Swansea are interested in Nacer – if they are, we'll deal with Swansea," Pulis told the Birmingham Mail.

"At the moment Nacer is with us and I hope he stays with us."

 Chadli was left on the bench for West Brom's 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday after reportedly falling out with Pulis during pre-season. However, the Baggies boss poured cold water over any suggestion of discord.

"You have your ups and downs like every family, but Nacer has trained hard this week and he's worked well," Pulis said.

Saturday 29 July 2017

Everton confident of securing Sigurdsson as playmaker’s departure looms large

Everton remain confident of landing Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, despite seeing a second bid of around £45 million rejected, according to the Liverpool Echo.
The Toffees are aggressively pursuing the Icelandic playmaker thanks to a cash influx from selling Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, but the Welsh club are determined to hold out for £50 million for their star man.
The 27-year-old was not included in Swansea’s squad for the tour of America and has been training with the club’s under-23s squad because he is not in the “right frame of mind.”
Sigurdsson has reportedly informed the club of his desire to join Ronald Koeman’s side and it’s increasingly looking like his second departure from the club (he left for Tottenham Hotspur in 2012) is a matter of when, not if.
Discussion over the player’s future are thought to be a major priority for Swansea this week after they returned to pre-season on Wednesday. It remains to be seen whether Swansea boss Paul Clement includes Sigurdsson for the club’s friendly against Birmingham City on Saturday.