Showing posts with label De Guzman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label De Guzman. Show all posts

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Swansea City: A Midsummer Night's Update!

Firstly, I'm very sorry for the relative silence on the blog. This is partly down to it being the summer and not having loads of material to write about, while I've also spent so much of my time finishing off my new book, Swansea City's Greatest Games (more details on this in the coming week or so)!

But for now, let's have a brief catch-up!

(Free) Transfers

Garry Monk and Huw Jenkins have been uncharacteristically busy in the transfer market this summer and have accrued four new players already, paying next to nothing for some top talent (nothing new there then!).

At the start of June we saw the applauded arrival of Lucasz Fabianski. The Polish keeper joined from Arsenal on a free transfer for four years which was great business. Then came the most exciting addition in Baf├ętimbi Gomis from Lyon. A long-standing target for the Swans, the 28-year-old formidable French international striker was out-of-contract and is another to arrive in South Wales on a free transfer. He'll make for exciting watching next season, hopefully pairing up well with Wilfried Bony (if the big man is still around!)

Gomis!

Marvin Emnes has also joined the club for the third time - this time a permanent fixture! He wasn't free (although we don't know the price) but we don't mind splashing out a little on an attacker who knows the club and can score/create enough from the bench to make it worthwhile.

Then comes the signing of young left-back Stephen Kingsley from Falkirk (another undisclosed fee... if they don't want to tell us let's assume it was £35million!). The 19-year-old is probably another one for the future, but may make more of an impact if Ben Davies does leave.


Toffee throwing and spoiled bets

"I prefer Werther's Originals"

Ki Sung-Yeung and his South Korean team-mates were pelted with toffees thrown by angry fans when they arrived back home after their disappointing World Cup group stage exit (the video of this incident is here). Harsh on Ki, who actually played some brilliant football throughout his games.

Wilfried Bony, meanwhile is also back home following Ivory Coast's failure to make it out of the group stages. Bony scored two goals, but their early exit from the tournament means my bet on 'Bony to be top Premier League goalscorer' at 50/1 was essentially spoiled there and then! Gutted.

From a Swansea perspective both Jonathan de Guzman and Michel Vorm are still in the cup with Holland, who face Costa Rica in the quarter-final on Saturday at 9pm. I expect de Guzman to feature again in the tournament, especially with Nigel de Jong ruled out, but seeing Vorm may be limited to quick flashes of him on the bench.


Back to the action

Swansea are back in training which means the new season is just around the corner! Not before the team head off to America first for a series of friendlies. On Wednesday, 16 July they'll take on Mexican Lega MX side Chivas Guadalajara, then will travel north to face Minnesota United (North American Soccer League) on Saturday, 19 July.


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Swansea City: New fixtures, World Cup watch and transfers round-up!

Another week or so has passed - the World Cup is in full swing, the transfer market has seen some movement and Cardiff are still in the Championship. So let's see how the summer is treating Swansea City!


Fixtures

The Premier League fixtures for the 2014/15 season were released today. Rumors of playing West Brom at home for the first game were false - instead Swansea will play Man United again for their opening fixture, albeit at Old Trafford this time around (this will be on 16th August).

The rest of August, September and October are all pretty winnable and should give us some nice points to take into November which looks like a bit of a tough month (with games against Everton, Arsenal and Man City).

The season overall is pretty well balanced between tough and not-so-tough teams. Hopefully survival in the Premier League will be sorted before May as the Swans will face both Arsenal (away) and Man City (home) in that month. The final game is on 24th May with an away trip to face Crystal Palace. The full list can be found on the Evening Post's website.


Emnes during his first stint with the club in 2010/11

Transfers

There's not been much in the way of transfer activity over the past week. At the moment the biggest news is that the Swans are pretty close to signing an old face - Marvin Emnes - for around £1million. The 26-year-old has been with the club on loan twice over the past few years and, although he's nothing groundbreaking, he offers another decent option up front and is already a firm fan favourite. And, let's be honest, £1million is a bargain!

Wilfried Bony has said he will only leave Swansea for a top six club, which - I guess - is fair enough, even though we hope it doesn't happen this summer. It may/will definitely be difficult for the club to keep hold of the star striker in the long term, but if he does go it will be better to see him with Arsenal or Chelsea, not Stoke or Sunderland.

Meanwhile the question mark still hangs over Ashley Williams' head, but all this talk from his agent smells too much like a tactic to increase his wages rather than an actual threat to go elsewhere. Another 'watch this space'!


World Cup watch

The World Cup is only a week old, but it's already been a fascinating tournament. And Brazil - home to the Copacabana, the Rio Carnival and the BSOP - is the temporary home to some of Swansea City's stars.

Wilfried Bony popped up to score Ivory Coast's first goal in the 2-1 turnaround against Japan, with a glancing header after latching on to Serge Aurier's cross in the second half.

Meanwhile Jonathan de Guzman played around an hour of Holland's thrilling 5-1 hammering of Spain (even if he looked a little out of his depth at times). Michel Vorm was on the bench for the Dutch for that game, but with Holland having no set number one, don't be surprised if we see him at some stage in the tournament.

In South Korea's 1-1 draw with Russia last night, Ki Sung Yueng showed the kind of midfield passing and domination that, had he shown more of in his first season with Swansea, may have seen him avoiding that loan spell at Sunderland. Either way, he looks like a player Garry Monk - and the Swans fans - will want to keep hold of.

More from all these players in the next few days (including de Guzman tonight hopefully)!


Shirt sponsors

Finally, the Swans look to have agreed a new shirt sponsorship deal with the company with the almost unreadable logo, GWFX (the Goldenway Global Group).

It turns out to be the biggest shirt sponsorship deal in Swansea City's history, supposedly worth more than £4 million to the club. Good business there, even if I do hate that logo!


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Swansea City: The ‘other’ summer signings

Although Michu has rightly claimed the title of the new Swansea City poster boy, he is not the only player who joined the club in the summer. As JULES PRICE explains, there are others worth celebrating.


To suggest Michu has been the signing of the season is an understatement. Not only is he one of the leading scorers in the Premier League, but he has demonstrated his versatility playing in different positions and, with the departure of Danny Graham, has taken on extra responsibility within the team.

However, he wasn’t the only signing that Swansea made before the 2012/13 season commenced.

New recruits Ki Sung-Yeung, Pablo Hernandez, Chico Flores, Jonathan De Guzman and Kyle Bartley have all enjoyed some success in South Wales. Let's take a look at three of these ‘other’ signings who sit in the shadow of Michu.

South Korean Ki Sung-Yueng had already enjoyed three successful seasons in British football with Scottish giants Celtic. Swansea signed the 24-year-old Korean international for a club record fee of around £6million. Little was known of the attacking midfielder, but it soon become apparent how useful this player is. He is a skillful player who has great vision to choose the right pass, many of which are forward moving and has the ability to use both feet.

For both Celtic and the South Korean national team, he has shown to be a valuable asset, scoring some spectacular goals from 25 yards plus. Although yet to score for the Swans, he has had the most shots blocked of any player in the Premier League this season. Ki’s willingness to help his team mates and his resourcefulness was typified by playing a full back role in the Capital One Cup Final game against Bradford at Wembley.

Pablo Hernandez is a 27-year-old player who was signed to compliment the wide players like Routledge and Dyer. Formerly a striker in his early days in Spain, Hernandez has been tipped to play for a big club with alleged interest coming from Manchester United and other top European sides. After some success at international level for Spain, making his debut against Austria in 2009, Hernandez’s career seemed to meander before Swansea signed him during the Summer of 2012.

He has the ability to round a player and has scored some memorable goals for the Swans. However, in more recent games against WBA and Arsenal, his pass completion has been poor, and he seems to try almost too hard to be precise with his pass. He played well against Bradford, showing some flashes of his true talent, whilst gaining an good understanding with Ben Davies.

Jonathan De Guzman has been signed on loan from the relegated Villarreal for a season, although both the player and Swansea are looking to make the deal a permanent one. This will depend on whether Villarreal are promoted back to La Liga. During the pre-season games at the Liberty Stadium, De Guzman could be seen marshaling his new team mates around the pitch, showing great zonal awareness, and demonstrating some true technical ability.

De Guzman has grown in statute, producing some wonderful free kicks, and is now the second leading goal scorer for the Swans with eight goals in total. Arguably his best game was in the Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where he proved to be the perfect foil for Michu helping to create the first goal.

Many media pundits will still argue that to be successful in the Premier League you have to spend serious money. I disagree! Yes, you need to sign new, better players to improve the squad, but more importantly a club needs to sign the RIGHT players and Swansea City have been justified in this approach.

Michu has been a revelation this season, and his recent League Managers Association Award has vindicated this, but the Swans are much more than that and, with two exciting players apparently lined up to join the squad this summer, may Swansea’s shrewd approach continue.

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If you are after lovely, independent reviews of the fine eateries of Swansea remember to check out Chris's food blog - SwanseaOnAPlate!

Monday, 25 February 2013

From Landore to London: Swansea City Champions!

Once again we came, we saw and we conquered Wembley!

Swansea City are champions of the Capital One Cup 2013 - quite a feat for Michael Laudrup's first season in charge!




Around 30,000 Swans fans made their way from South Wales along the M4 to London for their second Wembley final in three seasons. After a frosty early start, the beer (on my bus anyway) was cracked open at around 8am, along with chants, singing and a hefty case of sausage sandwiches!

We made it to Harrow at around 11:30am and continued drinking in the warmth of The Moon on the Hill, which was rammed with Swans fans. Maybe a little too rammed, so we eventually moved to the slightly more manageable one a few streets away - The Junction. The atmosphere was superb - I can't imagine the Bradford-designated pubs were as loud as our ones!

I made my way to Wembley via tube and arrived at 3pm and found my seat which had a great view. Only as I sat down I realised how cold it was... any energy I had left was knocked out by the icy chill that swept the stadium. I knew I should have bought a half/half scarf...

The interesting opening ceremony was atmospheric as you would expect, as were the fireworks and dramatic music. And the flags left on the seats were also a nice touch.

With the long build-up over, the main event - the 90 minutes of football - was actually a bit of an anti-climax for me. Not the five goals or Swansea winning, but the actual feel of the match. It felt more like the first round of the cup, only at Wembley.

Unfortunately this was down to Bradford not really turning up. Unlike their fans - who were superb throughout, out-singing Swansea at times and celebrating until the end - the actual team seemed burned out and/or overawed by the situation. Probably the case of one massive game too many. Even though I wanted Swansea to win, a couple of nerve-wracking Bradford chances - similar to the play-off final vs. Reading - would have made for a little more excitement. But it felt a little bland.

Still, 10,000/1 at the start of the cup, Bradford surpassed the expectation of their fans to get to the final, but it was always going to be Swansea City's day and the team thoroughly deserved to lift the cup.

From what I remember, Swansea dominated possession and territory, outplaying Bradford in every aspect. Take nothing away from Swansea though, who would have probably beat any opposition yesterday, such was the quality of football they played.

The goalscorers were a little unexpected. At no point did I have Dyer to be on a hat-trick - I don't think many would have. It's a shame he didn't get his third goal. It's undecided whether de Guzman should have surrendered the ball to him for the penalty, but de Guzman was in his right to want a goal on a plate at the final and therefore was probably right to take the kick.

Ashley Williams lifting the trophy with Garry Monk was another nice touch of the day - both men deserved it for their service to the club.

We shuffled out of the stadium and found the way to the mini-bus that would take us back to Swansea. Five hours later we arrived - knackered, hungry, cold but happy! A great day and one which may not be topped for some time!

Europe, here we come!

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Check back soon for an important announcement about the future of ForzaSwansea.com.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Swansea City: Evil Plans, Team GB and Friendlies

Who's a lazy boy then? Me. It's been over a week since I've written a blog post, so let's catch up on what's been happening with Swansea City!


Rule Britannia (...or not)
Not sure about you, but my interest in Team GB is very low - be it running, swimming or, indeed, football. However, I now have to pay more attention after three Swansea City players were named in Stuart Pearce's squad: Joe Allen, Neil Taylor and Scott Sinclair.

It's probably a big honour for the players so I guess congratulations are deserved. But is it good news for Swansea?

There will be positives in the sense that the three will play competitively through the summer so will not have too much rust to WD40 off when it comes to the opening game against QPR. They will also come up against high quality opponents which is, of course, great exposure to new playing styles and tricky players. Meanwhile they may learn a thing or two from experienced teammates Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy.

Yet you can't help feel these positives will immediately be shadowed if one of the Swans trio picks up a knock or, worse, a long term injury. There's also the likelihood that, should Team GB go all the way, the three will pick up some fatigue going into the first few games. They'll also miss much of pre-season with Michael Laudrup - I can't see this affecting his decision making (i.e. he won't automatically opt for Tate over Taylor), but it would be better for them to be with the club than running around in London.

A mixed bag then. Good luck to them - just watch those injuries.


Welcome Flores and De Guzman! 
While most of the focus is on players leaving the club, Michael Laudrup has reinforced the squad with two solid signings: defender Jose 'Chico' Flores comes in from Genoa on a three-year contract (initial fee of £2million) and midfielder Jonathan De Guzman arrives on a year-long loan deal from Villarreal.

From what I've seen of these guys, they look to be good acquisitions, especially Flores - it was no secret that Swansea were desperate for a centre-back after Steven Caulker returned to Spurs, and Flores looks very capable of filling the hole. Meanwhile, Jonathan De Guzman looks quite impressive in his attacking midfield role with plenty of vision and passing ability. Hopefully a good replacement for Sigurdsson.

As always, time will tell. For now they both seem to be players that are comfortable with the Swansea style of play, have big game experience and could fit in very well. Welcome.


Brendan Rodgers' Evil Plans
Mr Rodgers has, unsurprisingly, made Fabio Borini one his prime targets at Liverpool. Why should we care what happens at Liverpool? Well, it's our ex-manager and one of our ex-strikers, so it is interesting to see if these two do reunite for a third time. Nothing is confirmed yet, but I'd urge Borini to stay in Italy.

More critical to Swansea is whether Rodgers will want to link up with Joe Allen again. We know that Rodgers can't instigate a move for Swans players due to the terms in his contract termination, but, if I understand correctly, if Allen wanted to go to Liverpool, he could. There's no denying Liverpool can offer him bigger wages and that Rodgers is keen to have him, so the rumours are more believable than some of the others we've heard (although Swansea have announced there are no plans to sell the midfielder things can change).

Nobody wants to see Allen leave the club - he is vital to the central three, he works hard, he's from Swansea (rare now to see a local boy with his local team, especially in the top flight). Yes, he'd fit into Liverpool's plans, but I feel he'll make a big mistake. Maybe I'm being cynical towards Liverpool (I am), but I genuinely think anyone going there these days is making a mistake!


We're all friends here!
Swansea will play a number of friendlies prior to the first game against QPR - some in Swansea, some in America. One in Port Talbot.

Here are the details (all subject to change, etc, etc):

vs. Port Talbot - Sat 21st July (3pm, GenQuip Stadium)
vs. Colorado Rapids - Tues July 24th (7pm local time, Dick's Sporting Goods Park)
vs. Ventura County Fusion - Sat July 28th (5pm local time, Oxnard College Stadium)
vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Tues July 31st (7.30pm local time, Buck Shaw Stadium)
vs. Blackpool - Tues 7th August (7pm, Liberty Stadium)


Follow me on Twitter for immediate blog updates and general Swans news - @ForzaSwansea.

See you next time!