Showing posts with label Ki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ki. Show all posts

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 3rd May 2015)

**UPDATE FOR SUNDAY 10 MAY**  Sorry, there's no catch-up today as I've been busy this week finalising my second Swansea City book, which will be out in September! However, I promise to have a nostalgia piece up next week. Enjoy your Sunday and see you soon, Chris


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I've missed the last two weeks of Sunday catch-ups, but I hope you were still drinking your coffee without me. I did post a couple of other articles during the week, including a nice one from Alec Johnson on why Swansea need to set their sights on cups instead of top of the league next season.

But now let's see what we can catch-up with this week:


Swansea City 2 - 0 Stoke City

So we're into May - that season went quite quickly! And kicking off the final month, Swansea beat Stoke 2-0 in their penultimate home game.

After a pretty forgettable first half, the game livened up soon after the break, as did the crowd at the Liberty. And although more chances were being created, a 0-0 still seemed on the cards - until 15 minutes remaining when, after some hard work to get to Nathan Dyer's poorly placed pass, Jonjo Shelvey chipped in a cross for Jefferson Montero to head home - his first Swansea City goal.

Stoke were reduced to ten men when Marc Wilson was rightly shown a second yellow for blatantly hacking down the breakaway Montero, before second-half sub Ki Sung Yueng slotted in his eighth goal for the club in the first minute of injury time.

The two goal win takes the Swans to 53 points and extends their lead in eighth place (with Stoke now six points behind in ninth). A great start to the final month of the season.



Pre-season tour announced

Heading back to the States!

This summer, the Swans will once again head off to America as part of their pre-season tour, where they will take part in a mini tournament in Texas in mid-July. I know there are many Texas-based Swans fans who will be celebrating this news, having the chance to see the club play on their doorstep.

It seems Swansea will take on both Malaga and Mexican top flight side Pachuca in their 'group' games, before playing either Newcastle, Lyon or Moroccan outfit Raja Casablanca afterwards. The first two Swans' games are currently scheduled for July 14th and 16th, although stay tuned for changes.


Loan watch

Let's briefly look at those players out on loan and how they are doing now the season is coming to an end.

Firstly - as you've probably guessed considering he made a late appearance for Swansea yesterday - young Modou Barrow is back from his time with Nottingham Forest, having made four appearances for the mid-table Championship side.

After his poor debut, Dwight Tiendalli remained with Middlesbrough and played just one more game, bringing his total to two. He didn't impress fans with his shaky performances, and I can't see Boro trying to keep hold of him somehow.

Elsewhere Swansea's young Irish striker Rory Donnelly made quite an impact with Tranmere Rovers, scoring five goals in 20 games and was even named Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month back in January.

Michu is still with Napoli, but rumours suggest he'd be happy to return to Swansea having had an awful time with the Serie A giants. Jazz Richards' one month loan at Fulham was extended to the end of the season - he made 14 appearances for the Championship club since joining at the end of January.

And finally club stalwart Alan Tate is still with Crewe Alexandra, having made 26 appearances with the League One Railwaymen since joining at the start of the season.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 22nd Feb 2015)

After a little Swans nostalgia last week, we're back with our regular round up.

So grab your double-shot skinny caramel macchiato (or just a cup of instant coffee) and let's see what's been going on in the world of Swansea City.


Swansea City 2 - 1 Manchester United: The Double

We have to start with the biggest news - Swansea have done the double over Man United for the first time!

It was by no means the best attacking performance from Swansea, nor was it 90 minutes of entertaining and attractive passing. But yesterday it was the result that mattered the most.

The Swans pretty much matched United through the first half, although the visitors looked more threatening in attack and scored the first goal after 28 minutes after some good passing in the final third allowed Ander Herrera to put a simple strike past Fabianski. 

But, for a change, heads stayed up and a great early cross from Shelvey just two minutes later gave Ki the chance to slip in a clever shot to equalise. 

United on yet another attack

Again, United were threatening on the attack in the second half, but Swansea stood firm at the back and in the 73rd minute - completely against the run of play - a cracking long strike from Shelvey (with a bit of a deflection from Gomis) put the Swans ahead.

Both Ki and Cork were very assured in the middle of the park. Gomis had a few great chances but he was unable to put any away (although he is credited with the second goal thanks to the deflection), but he did put in the effort and made some good defensive clearances. Shelvey was my man of the match - for the goal, the assist and his greatly improved work rate.

It's good to see that a tweaked formation can work as well as the standard 4-5-1 and even without the slick passing we're accustomed to you can beat the huge spending giants!


America? Not at the moment.

Last week the Swans confirmed that talks with American billionaire John Moores were off. The former San Diego Padres owner was looking to buy a 30% stake in the club, but Swansea confirmed that the deal was unlikely to go ahead.

Unable to settle on America at the moment

A club spokesman told the BBC: "Both parties felt that the time was not right to pursue any proposals. It was only at the discussion stage anyway, there was never any offer on the table"

This news will please those fans who were dead against foreign investment, but it's very unlikely that this is the end we'll hear on the matter (which is good news for those who wanted some investment).

The door has been opened on these kind of discussions and it won't be long until there's another investor keen on taking Swansea to the next level. Make sure to re-read Alec Johnson's excellent article on why investment could be a good move for the Swans.


Bonywatch

This certainly won't be a regular feature because - let's admit it, who really cares now - but Wilfried Bony made his first appearance for Manchester City in their 5-0 thumping of Newcastle.

He replaced Sergio Aguero on the hour mark and, while he didn't score on his City debut, he made a good impression. He did have one superb chance to get on the score sheet - after Tim Krul messed up a clearance Bony was fed the ball by Yaya Toure, but the striker's low shot was ushered over the bar.

That's probably the last we mention Bony for now, but it's good to see that he did make an appearance at the first opportunity - which is more than most former Swans achieve after leaving the club!


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!


Friday, 3 January 2014

Exclusive Sunderland POV: "Ki has been a revelation"

The transfer window is open and Swansea City are desperate for something to freshen up a tired squad. But who exactly are we looking for?

Apart from a goalscoring striker to take the pressure off Bony, we are after someone strong, someone with good feet and someone who can pass the ball. But who?

The answer is actually pretty obvious - Ki Sung Yeung! He's already a Swansea City player, but he's currently on a season-long loan to Sunderland (with a mid-season re-call option, which may prove to be important).



So how has Ki been doing up north? By all accounts very well. But who wants to hear all accounts? We want a concrete answer! So I've recruited David Boyle from the popular Sunderland website The Roker Report to give us the Sunderland perspective on Ki and how effective he's been for the Black Cats:

Ki has, quite simply, been a revelation on Wearside, especially under Gus Poyet. That may that sound like a ridiculous thing to say given Sunderland’s current predicament but Poyet has pretty much set his side up around your man and has given Ki licence to dictate play from the middle of the park with basically every attacking move we make going through the South Korean’s feet first.
It is no secret how Gus Poyet likes his teams to play - very much a style which is especially reminiscent to that of your own which won Swansea many plaudits over recent seasons and given the freedom to play in a central midfield of three, Ki has flourished.
Obviously transfers are a hot topic up and down the country at this time of year and I would not be exaggerating when I say that Ki would be top of my shopping list such is his importance to the side.
Quite whether or not a deal can be agreed either now or in the summer remains to be seen and would ultimately hinge on whether or not the club can beat the drop come May, but either way, we look incapable of playing possession football without Ki in the middle of the park.
Ultimately I fear the Ki situation on Wearside may well play out just like Danny Rose’s loan stint last year where he too caught the eye and won the admiration of the home fans for his superb performances at left-back only to play his way back into contention at White Hart Lane.
Selfishly, I’m desperate to see Ki make his spell with Sunderland a more permanent arrangement, although I could perfectly understand if Swansea were to give their man a second chance given the level of performance he has put in of late.

That's some praise! Perhaps we at Swansea didn't see the potential of Ki when he was sent out on loan, but it seems he's one loan player who would be in our best interests to get back as soon as we can.

A big thanks to David for taking the time to give us his opinions on Ki. You can follow David on Twitter.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Swansea City vs Sunderland: A lovely little preview

We're only in October, but we've already arrived at a crucial game for Swansea City. A win in the match against Sunderland on Saturday is very important!

Why? Firstly, despite an array of top players, Sunderland are rock-bottom of the league with just a single point. I have compassion, but Swansea need to take advantage of Sunderland's confidence and kick them when they're down, so to speak. They also have a new manager in Gus Poyet, so it's a great time to take all three points before he settles in.

And finally it's at the Liberty Stadium! The Swans' home form hasn't been that impressive this season, but understandable with Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool the opposition. This is the first of the "should-wins" at home, and the Swans must do exactly that.

Swansea should have a full squad, with Ben Davies, Pablo Hernandez and Garry Monk all back from injury. However it seems Ashley Williams will be out a little longer so expect Amat to replace him again. I'd like to see a middle three of Shelvey, Canas and Michu, with Hernandez and Routledge outside them - very attacking. And up front is obviously Bony. With a team like that, goals shouldn't be a problem.

Sunderland have surprised me this year as there are some quality players in their squad, including two with big Swansea connections - Fabio Borini and the on-loan Ki Sung Yeung. However, it's clear to see Paolo Di Canio didn't help things and is probably the reason they have done so poorly. With Gus Poyet I think they'll be much more solid. But now is a great time for Swansea to make sure they start his reign off with a lose!

I've asked David Boyle from top Sunderland website The Roker Report to give me his thoughts and a prediction ahead of Saturday's match, which he kindly agreed to:

Sunderland fans will anticipate yet another new dawn this weekend, something we have become accustomed to given the rate we've been going through managers recently!

Kevin Ball acted quickly to reinvigorate a squad left downtrodden and demoralised by Paolo Di Canio’s regime and Gus Poyet will be hopeful he can carry on the improved performances which Ball was able to produce during his spell as caretaker manager.

Poyet may well be keen to instil his preferred football philosophy of possession football and methodically looking after the football - something that Swansea fans are well accustomed to, but quite whether it is possible to implement yet another new tactical approach in such a short space of time remains to be seen. However, if we’re being honest, putting points on the board is much more important than easy-on-the-eye football at this stage for a side rooted to the foot of the table.

I wouldn’t expect Poyet to tinker too much or change from the 4-3-3 formation which Kevin Ball employed in the last two games. Obviously he will have to find somebody else to pull the strings in the middle of the park rather than your very own Ki who is unavailable due to the restrictions of the loan deal. I must say I’ve been impressed with the Korean; very tidy on the ball and a good eye for a pass, he has certainly added something to our middling midfield at the very least.

Steven Fletcher is also reportedly ahead of schedule in his bid to returning to action following a shoulder injury sustained against West Brom but if he is to feature it is likely to come from the bench.
It’s impossible to underestimate the importance of three points for the travelling side this weekend but I have a feeling that the spoils will be shared - score draw.

David believes a score draw is likely, which should be the very least Swansea should expect. However I feel the Swans will be too strong at home (hopefully) and too eager following their 2-0 loss to Southampton, so I'm going for a 2-1 win to Swansea.

See you at the Liberty!

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!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Swansea City 0 - 1 Spurs: I came back for this?!

Today I make my triumphant return to blogging!

Now, this may sound selfish - but I'm sure other sportswriters will agree - it is sometimes easier to blog when your team are doing poorly than when things are all rosy. So today was a good time to rejoin the blogosphere with a dull performance from Swansea City.

It's not a massive surprise. The Swans were without several key players - Angel Rangel and Pablo Hernandez have both been superb recently, but both were injured today and that cut some of Swansea's power going forward. Add Michel Vorm and Neil Taylor's lengthy injuries and Swans were lacking in defence.

However, despite the defensive injuries, it wasn't really the defence that was the problem against Spurs. The back four did well to absorb the consistent pressure of Spurs attack, while Gerhard Tremmel made some good saves. Ashley Williams played very well and deserved his man of the match award, while Chico Flores was as fiery as ever.
 
It was the midfield lacking today. Ki Sung Yueng looked tired and elsewhere for much of the game, while de Guzman was also poor. Even Leon Britton was off at times. Casual passes and poor touches cost Swansea any momentum going forward and getting the ball up from defence to midfield was a struggle. Dyer and Routledge both produced little to get excited about either.

Kemy Agustien came on, shortly followed by Luke Moore, shortly followed by the goal for Spurs. We can't blame Moore for the goal though. Then came a bit of attacking force for Swansea, but Spurs stopped much of it with little hassle. Finally, we had an annoying end where Michu was accidentally taken out by Hugo Lloris, and then everything kicked off. And then it was game over.

The stats say it all really: Swansea had no shots on target, while their possession was just 39% for the whole game. Spurs had 24 shots in total, compared to Swansea's four.

Not a festive result for Swansea, but White Hart Lane is a tough place to go, Spurs are a top side and Swansea were understrength.

The Swans remain in 10th then, which - let's be honest - is better than any of us would have predicted at the start of the season. They'll take on Man United on the 23rd at the Liberty Stadium where anything other than a loss will set us all up for a good Christmas!

Finally, before you all leave for other websites for a more in-depth analysis, I'm asking the question 'what does Laudrup need to focus on in the transfer window'?

I'd say a real effort to seal a capable goal scorer is needed. This is not to disparage Danny Graham, Luke Moore or Itay Shechter, as they all try to put in a shift when on the pitch, sometimes scoring, but not often. Recently the goal scoring duties seem to have fallen to Michu. This isn't a bad thing, but giving someone else the pressure to score goals would allow Michu to roam where he likes, which is when he scores his goals.

It's similar to a time a few season's ago, where Scott Sinclair was relied on for everything. If he fell injured, or dipped in form, the whole team would suffer. Let's hope that doesn't happen with Michu, but if he is out for any reason Swansea need another capable scorer to smash them in. All budget should go there because every other area is pretty much oozing with talent.

Please use the comments section of this post to add your desired (and realistic) striker for the January transfer window!