Friday 2 June 2017

Liverpool win marks the turning point of Swans' survival bid

Despite a turbulent campaign, it was a pretty sound end for the Swans and to be honest, we’re already missing the Premier League. And whilst we can’t wait for next season, there’s still a long way to go with pre-season and a transfer window to get through first. For pre-season, Paul Clement’s men will head to America to take on Philadelphia Union, Richmond Kickers and North Carolina on the East Coast, as well as a game against Birmingham City at St. Andrews.

But before we delve into the Swans’ pre-season plans and discuss their opponents, we decided to look back on the season and highlight the turning point.

Undoubtedly, the Swans’ turnaround came with the arrival of Paul Clement. Having already sacked Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley after two pretty disastrous tenures, it was vital that the Swansea hierarchy got the next appointment right otherwise their Premier League status would be no more. And you have to hand it them because they did, they got it spot on.

Clement watched his first game as Swansea boss from the stands as they claimed a hard fought 2-1 victory away to Crystal Palace. The win took the Swans from the bottom of the table and up one place. However, no more than one league game later, Clement found his side back at the bottom following a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Arsenal. It was a demoralising defeat for Clement in what his first Premier League game for the club and fans can be forgiven for thinking “here we go again”.

Though to be fair to Clement and his troops, rather than dwelling on the defeat, they dusted themselves down and delivered a resilient and spirited display against Liverpool. Their resilience and determination duly paid off as they ran out 3-2 winners at Anfield, that was the ultimate turning point for the Jacks. They showed they had the ability and quality to beat the top sides and needed to continue doing so.
Fernando Llorente and Gyfli Sigurdsson were in fine form and Clement was getting the best out of his two star players, with Llorente grabbing a brace and Sigurdsson netting the winner. The latter was the star of the show yet again in the following game as he scored another winner in a 2-1 home win over Southampton. The Swans were finally out of the relegation zone and two points clear of 18th place.

The Swans then won just one of their three games in February but did put up a good fight away to both Chelsea and Man City. Heading into March they were still clear of the drop and a 3-2 win over Burnley helped take them five points clear. Though that was as good as things got for the Swans in March as they lost to Bournemouth and Hull before picking up five points in April, including a respectable draw away to Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.

May was set to be a huge month for the Jacks and they started off in 18th place, something special was needed. And something special was delivered. Kicked off by beating Everton 1-0 thanks to a Llorente header, Clement’s men followed up by beating a sorry Sunderland 2-0 at the Stadium of Light to secure survival and another year of Premier League football. The Swans ended the season on a high at the Liberty by beating West Brom 2-1 to finish 15th and five games unbeaten.

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