In Part 1 Matt gave us his opinions on why Swansea City were wallowing in the relegation zone and what was needed to get us out of the rut.
He now runs us through the crucial next six games and gives us his predictions on how many points we can (and should!) get from each. Take it away Matt...
By Matthew Jacob
With players beginning to return from injury we now face the biggest
run of games since promotion was secured. It's time for Swansea to rise
and fight back.
There are 16 league games left to play, each one very
significant. The next six, however, have the potential to make or break
- HOME (Tues, Jan 28th, 7:45pm)
perfect opportunity to get on the front foot in this sequence of games.
Fulham were held to a draw on Sunday at Sheffield United and a replay
is no good for them. When Berbatov doesn't play Fulham don't play, and
the Bulgarian has been off form of late.
From a Swansea perspective De
Guzman and Rangel should return to give the squad a timely refresher and with Bony firing I think we'll have too much for them. Our comeback against Birmingham was also a timely confidence boost.
- AWAY (Sat, Feb 1st, 12:45pm)
the Six Nations kicks off the Swans travel to East London to clash with
Sam Allardyce's West Ham. The Hammers have been on the receiving end of
some terrible results of late (although they have faced Manchester
City's goal machines twice in that period).
Swansea lost at Upton Park
last season thanks to a goal from Andy Carroll and they held us to a
credible draw in October last year at the Liberty. Allardyce has added
to his squad at a crucial period including the classy Italian pair Antonio
Nocerino and Marco Borriello from Serie A. It'll be a tough place to go - I'd take
a draw but I think they'll have the edge.
- HOME (Sat, Feb 8th, 5:30pm)
to we owe them one. Malky Mackay finally made way for Ole Gunnar
Solskjaer and the Norwegian wasted no time in proclaiming his desire to
finish above Swansea and that they
were the capital and therefore
should be bigger than Swansea. Solskjaer hasn't impressed the Jack Army
with his comments but he continues to say the things Cardiff fans want
to hear, and he's making great strides in the transfer market signing a
clutch of players from his former club Molde and making bold moves for
Zaha and Fabio from Manchester United. He has also secured the services of
former Swansea target Kenwynne Jones.
This game needs no introduction. I
believe man for man we're a better side than them. It will take more
grit and determination than was shown in the first derby, but I think a
partisan Liberty Stadium crowd can see us to victory this time.
- AWAY (Wed, Feb 12th, 7:45pm)
the Britannia, a ground where Swansea have previously struggled to cope with the aerial bombardment that Tony Pulis
championed in the Potteries for a number of years - a style of play often
criticised, yet it saw Stoke into the Europa League and has helped them
become an established Premier League club.
However Stoke have a very
different appearance now in the shape of Mark Hughes, who has made
efforts to alter the style in favour of more passing, attractive play, which may have contributed to their league position. Having
never been asked to play that way, Stoke have struggled to make the
Britannia the fortress it has been in previous seasons. I expect us to
go there and be positive, hopefully with an almost fit squad, and come
away with a draw.
- AWAY (Sun, Feb 23rd, 1:30pm)
will take a special effort to prise something away from Anfield as the
business end of the season approaches, with the red men chasing a top
four spot and Suarez and co playing some spectacular free flowing
football. Swansea were demolished 5-0 at Anfield before the Capital One Cup final, so it's fair to say we owe them one.
Were it not for our own
mistakes in the home fixture we could well have taken the spoils then
and I expect us to put in a much better performance than last year. However I also
expect us to get nothing from the game, but I am a natural pessimist. Perhaps
Swansea will surprise me once again. Of the next six games this is the
'free' if you will, one where we will not be expected to get a result
and many will have written off already.
- HOME (Sun, March 2nd, 4:30pm)
last game of the next six that I've earmarked as crucial. I have a hunch we'll know what we have to do between this point and
the end of the season. A few months ago I was saying we'd be the club to
relegate Palace yet Tony Pulis, to his immense credit, has turned them
around. However, struggling to add to a weak squad, they may slip
into the bottom three again by the time we meet. I'm confident we'll put
them to the sword.
There you have it. 10
points from the next 15 on offer would see us up to 31 points and,
with our bottom half rivals facing tough opposition in the coming games, this
would make a massive difference.
Our FA Cup tie with Everton comes the
weekend of February 15th and there's also the small matter of a
Europa League tie in the middle of those games with Napoli coming to the
Liberty Stadium on February 20th (not to mention the return leg in Italy on February 27th), but the league must be our focus now.
believe it's in our hands - win our games and we'll pull clear. We've got
a good squad and a strong identity, so let's get behind the boys. Back
the new arrivals (whoever they are), lift the players and let's make the
Liberty a fortress again, together!