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!