Norwich And Swansea Create Blueprint For Future Clubs Promoted from Championship

Pre-season predictions are a dangerous game especially when it comes to tipping the relegation candidates. A safe bet is to always look around the teams from last year and the newly promoted sides. This is something BBC’s chief football writer Phil McNulty did when in his pre-season predictions he placed Norwich City in 17th and Swansea City in 19th. Contrary to Phil’s beliefs, these two are sitting pretty in the Premier League in 11th and 10th respectively. This suggests the view that perhaps the transition from Championship to Premier League isn’t as hard as some people seem to imagine.

When examining the squads of Championship teams it is important to see that many of these players would not look out of place in not just bottom of the table clubs but also mid-table teams. In the current Championship, players such as Adam Lallana, Jack Collison and Adrian Mariappa have been followed by Premier League clubs and thoroughly deserve that attention. Swansea and Norwich have stronger squads than people give them credit for and they certainly warrant their positions in the table. Although recognition for these players is not widespread, the facts do not lie. Other than Wayne Rooney, Danny Graham and Grant Holt are the leading English scorers (alongside the “past-it” Frank Lampard) but yet are still ignored by the England set up.

Part of the strength of the squads is down to the wise moves that their respective managers make in the transfer market. Paul Lambert has shown himself to be an excellent spotter of talent. Signings such as John Ruddy and Bradley Johnson (free transfers) and Kyle Naughton (on loan) have formed a solid base within the Norwich set up. He has also proved to be a good man-manager after promoting Grant Holt to captain and then seeing the forward score 67 in 120 for the Canaries. However if Lambert is shrewd then Brendan Rodgers is something of a genius in the transfer market. Scott Sinclair, Neil Taylor, Danny Graham and Michel Vorm are just four of Swansea’s household names that have been brought in by Rodgers, as well as loan signing Steven Caulker. Arguably his greatest signing however is Gylfi Sigurðsson. The Icelandic star has become one of key figures at the Liberty Stadium with 5 goals and 3 assists in 10 appearances in his loan spell from German side Hoffenheim.

Of course, players and managers are not the only reason that newly promoted clubs can achieve success when they get promoted. English football is an interesting game and habits can come into it quite a lot. Many clubs in the league will have realistically had to prepare for a relegation battle this season because it is what they are embroiled in year after year. For promoted clubs they are used to winning, they have gotten promoted because they have won a large number of games and as far as they’re concerned this shouldn’t change. Newly promoted teams have no fear and aren’t afraid to follow the tactics that brought them so much success in the past. Swansea is a prime example of this as they aren’t afraid to continue with their fluid passing system that took them up and they have consequently signed players that fit into their system.

Equally if teams want to develop their system of playing they cannot be too adventurous at the start as it could backfire. Stoke City has led the way here by “winning ugly” as Arsene Wenger would say, but nevertheless winning and securing safety allowing them to achieve more success in the future. Clubs shouldn’t break habits as these tactics have brought them to where they are today and by sticking with their current systems Swansea and Norwich have enjoyed fantastic debut season. QPR has tried to inject too many new players too quickly and they’re struggling to gel which can possibly explain their shortcomings this year. The quality at Loftus Road cannot be questioned but it is perhaps too much too soon.

Overall the success of these clubs should be inspirational for teams such as West Ham, Southampton and Reading who are all chasing promotion from the Championship. These three should follow Swansea and Norwich and have faith in their current squads, current managers and current tactics. These are the reasons for their success and there is no reason it shouldn’t be in the future. To tackle this grueling league, teams should not panic buy and should stick to what they know. It’s tricky with the league becoming more and more competitive but teams like Swansea and Norwich are showing the way.

15 thoughts on “Norwich And Swansea Create Blueprint For Future Clubs Promoted from Championship”

  1. Arsenal and Swansea are the only teams in the Premiership that play the right and beautiful way. All others including United plays direct, 4-4-2 and long ball. Alex Mcleish and Tony Pulis should be ashamed of what they are doing to Joga Bonito.

    1. Actually add in the fact that United win games more because refs help them win games ala Fergie Time and dubious calls.

    2. NN

      What garbage. City and Spurs play beautiful football as has been evident this season bar the last 6 results. Swansea play very well and are impressive but to say that ar5ena1 have played great football this year is a joke.

    3. NN,

      Pretty ignorant statement. It’s quite obvious that Spurs have been played some great football this year, even in the games they lost (and this does NOT include 5-2). As a Spurs fan, I can still be objective and say Arsenal does play some decent football, but it relies much on the success of RVP.

    4. So Tony Pulis should be ashamed he was able to bring Stoke back to top flight football for the first time in 23 years and solidify them as a sound mid-table team qualifying for European play and taking the Potters to the finals of the FA Cup?…….Que?

      Pulis and Stoke deserve credit for playing to their strengths and forging a team cohesiveness that has allowed them to continue to be successful despite a limited budget. The Britannia holds just 27,600, yet has one of the great atmospheres in the Prem. Many teams would love to be so “shamed”.

      No, this comment was not ghost written by ICK or YP. :-)

      1. I couldn’t have put it much better myself Guy, nice to see a neutral with an open mind. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

        1. Exactly. I am so tired of the constant “Stoke this and Stoke that” commentary I could spit. It is simply intellectual laziness. Is it that tough to find another analogy? How many teams play like Swansea? Hell, even Arsenal don’t, this year. The object is to win. You take your coach, your budget, your team and you forge a way to win on a regular basis and keep your team in the league. Sure, you may tweak that formula (add Crouch), but you don’t want to get crazy. How is “beautiful” Blackpool feeling this year?

          I admire Pulis and Stoke for their, “Here we are. What are you going to do about?”, style. They are just mid-table in yellow and red cards, so it’s not like they are some bunch of mad men out there. Tony knows what he and his team can and can’t do to realize their goals and their fans’ hopes.

          At the risk of breaking my neutrality, I will say……Go On Stoke! :-)

          Uh oh. Sounding like a closet Potter. 😉

  2. I would argue that from the point of view of sticking to what you know to maintain and build on success Stoke have led the way, Swansea’s backers have acknowledged more than once this season they are following that template. It’d be nice to see somebody write a piece on how Stoke were expected to do and how they have actually done, exposing the pundits and journalists for the sheep they tend to be.

  3. Norwich and Swansea have certainly been a urprise to those of us that were writing about which sides were likely to struggle to stay up, my opinion was that their “naivety” would cost them long run and their lack of finances would mean that a swift return to the Championship would be inevitable for at least one of Norwhich or Swansea.

    As it is, I’m glad I was wrong, I have enjoyed watching both sides on various occasions this season and Swansea have played some of the best football I’ve seen in recent times in England.

    Long may this approach continue.

  4. I spent all of last season hoping Swansea wouldn’t be promoted, all of this season hoping they would be relegated. They might play ‘beautiful’ football but they’re gonna lose too many games. Look at Blackpool! Sure, Swansea lasted longer before collapsing but I don’t think they can keep this up and they’ll get desperate, this time next year when they’re bottom without a win all season…

    Norwich, on the other hand… give it ten years and they might just be the best team in England.

    (Except Chelsea)

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