What Has Been the Secret to Swansea City’s Success So Far This Season?

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 Up front for the Swans, last season’s leading goalscorer Danny Graham has been replaced by a new system employed by Laudrup, which is a hybrid of a 4-6-0 or 4-2-3-1 with Michu up top.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.

Wayne Routledge is one of the many reasons why Swansea are so exciting to watch this season (the 0-0 draw against Liverpool excepted, where the style of both teams canceled each other out). At Swansea, Routledge has been able to finally show the Premier League how gifted of a footballer he is, with his silky skills, but he’s also shown far more composure and better positioning this season. Routledge seems like he was born to play at Swansea, fitting perfectly into the side and showing his physical side of the game, when necessary.

Dyer has been explosive when given the playing time. He’s one of the midfielders who hasn’t played as much as he would like, but it’s been hard to fit him into the team with Hernandez and Routledge playing so well. But with De Guzman suffering a hamstring injury yesterday, it gave Laudrup the perfect opportunity to start the trio of Dyer-Hernandez-Routledge. Hopefully Laudrup will have noticed the improved football from Swansea.

I haven’t been a big fan of de Guzman so far this season. He has possesses great ball control, but he slows down Swansea’s attacks far too much for my liking, and he can be careless with the ball when in midfield. A far better midfielder for the Swans has been Agustien, who is one of my favorite players to watch in this Swansea team. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get much playing time. But he has the ball control that De Guzman has, but the differences with Agustien is that (1) he’s a superb passer of the ball, often cutting opposition defenses wide open, and (2) he’s far stronger in his tackles when breaking down opponent attacks.

The competition for first team places has helped the side when there’s been a dip in form from players, which happens with even the best footballers. This newfound depth in Swansea’s side, coupled with Laudrup encouraging his wingers to tuck in closer to the boxes instead of tugging the touchline, has led to a more clinical Swansea team in front of goal.

There are still areas that need to be improved in this Swansea team. But when they’re on song, and when they’re not playing a physical side that they have difficulty playing against (Stoke and Everton are their two bogey sides), it’s incredibly exciting to see this team flying around the pitch.

Such are the improvements that Swansea have made this season that I was honestly disappointed that the team wasn’t able to defeat Liverpool last Sunday. What a difference that makes from the decades watching Swansea play, knowing that they were probably going to be on the losing end again on a cold night in Oldham, Barnsley or other lower league clubs.

Next up for the Swans is an away match at Arsenal, which will be a good test for both teams. Swansea narrowly lost the match last season due to Vorm’s error that let Andrey Arshavin sneak in a goal. Saturday’s match will be a good indication of how the Swans have improved since last year.

17 thoughts on “What Has Been the Secret to Swansea City’s Success So Far This Season?”

  1. Graham’s been linked with Stoke in January. Anything less than £5m and it might be worth it, particularly as he hasn’t played this season.

  2. where can i find the Swansea v. West Bromwich Albion game? It’s not on the foxsoccer web site for on demand viewing.

    Anybody know why?

  3. I think laud romp has done a better job of translating possession into penetration, Rodgers has the same problem at LFC.

    It is early but Swansea’s result yesterday against WBA was great to see, snuffing out service for Lukaku is better than using x number of players on him to cancel out his physical,presence.

    AVB did the same thing to Suarez, took away his service from Sterling, Gerrard and Joe Allen.

    Pleased to see Swansea doing so well, the problem they have is if Laudrop does keep them in the top 10 then keeping him will be a challenge.

  4. Laudrop has shown both in La Liga and now in the EPL that he is a terrific coach. I thought it might take him a while to show how good he is and have been surprised at the early success.

    He also should be given credit for bringing in quality players he knew from La Liga and at such ridiculously low price tags.

    The fact that Swansea are playing better and are higher up the league table then liverpool proves that Laudrop was a terrific signing for Swansea and that letting Rodgers leave, with compensation and another 15 million for Allen, was great business by Swansea.

    1. And Swansea will be able to use that £15 million from the sale of Joe Allen to expand the Liberty Stadium in the summer. Money well spent for the future of the club.

      The Gaffer

    1. Tony, it’s a fair point. But, even though I’m a massive Swansea fan, I try to write objectively and try to spread the articles out, so there’s only one article about the Swans every few weeks.

      The Gaffer

    2. I do have to admit though that the Swansea articles aren’t as many as you would think compared to if the site owner was someone else.

  5. Wales has never had it so good since the heady days of Cardiff and John Toshack reached the semi finals of the European Cup Winners Cup. Swansea are a decent team with a very sensible, likeable manager. Nice to see they finally got away from Vetch Field, which I visited once or twice in a misspent youth.

    Although I must say nothing quite prepared me for visiting that sleeping giant of Welsh football – Newport County. Mud hills that were called terraces and changing rooms with so many holes in the roof they probably doubled up as showers especially with the deluge of annual rain Newport seemed to enjoy. After the game in a local pub there were a number of odd looking people slumped around a blazing fire. It appeared they had wandered in from the fields and simply passed away. That was until we spoke when they all suddenly sat up and started speaking Welsh.

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