With Swansea’s impressive 3-1 victory Wednesday night against West Bromwich Albion, in a game where the Swans completely outplayed the Baggies, especially in the first half, Michael Laudrup’s side has now reached 20 points — halfway to Laudrup’s goal of getting 40 points to ensure another season in the Premier League.
With only 14 matches played, the Swans are well on their way to a top ten finish after last season’s 11th place position. Twenty four matches still remain for Swansea City this season, but the team has yet again exceeded the expectations of most pundits, many of whom picked them (once again) as dead ringers to get relegated.
So what has been the secret to Swansea City’s success so far this season? The main reason has been that there is now a lot more competition for first team places at Swansea City.
Last season, the Swans luckily suffered very few injuries, which helped then manager Brendan Rodgers to field a consistent side throughout most of the season. This season has been a different story. The Swans lost Neil Taylor, Michel Vorm and Danny Graham to injuries (or a mystery illness, in the case of Graham). Last season, those injuries to the team’s three key players would have killed the team. But goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel has been extremely confident in goal, while Swansea youngster Ben Davies has improved by leaps and bounds in his left back position. Up front for the Swans, last season’s leading goalscorer Danny Graham has been replaced by a new system employed by Laudrup, which is a hybrid of a 4-6-0 or 4-2-3-1 with Michu up top.
Midfield has been the part of the pitch that has seen the most competition for first team places where Swansea have been blessed with a plethora of gifted footballers. Laudrup has the difficult choice of choosing between Leon Britton, Jonathan de Guzman, Michu, Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge, Pablo Hernandez, Kemy Agustien, Ki Sung-Yueng and Mark Gower. For the first time this season, Laudrup managed to move his squad around to play three wingers last night with Dyer, Hernandez and Routledge, fitting them in to his starting 11. The result was the best performance by Swansea this season.
Pablo Hernandez had his best game of the season last night, cutting and darting past WBA defenders. His form and confidence has been improving throughout the season, and despite initial reservations, he looks likely to become a key player for Swansea during the remainder of the season.