Sitting just three points above the relegation zone, Swansea City find themselves in the perilous position where the club desperately need to begin winning matches to climb up the table.
The team is seemingly coming apart at the seams. The police were called to training on Friday after a report of a standoff between defenders Chico Flores and Garry Monk. MOTD2 pundit Alan Hansen says the team should change its playing style to beat the relegation trap. Star player Michu is still injured and won’t return until February 8. And, to make matters worse, the critics keep reminding everyone that the Swans have the worst current form in the Premier League.
On the surface, these seem like dire times at Swansea. While the results have been demoralizing, there are some reasons to be optimistic that Swansea City will avoid relegation. While they’ve been frustrating to watch on the pitch at times, Swansea continue trying to play football ‘The Swansea Way’ to get themselves out of trouble. They’ve been unfortunate that during this eight match winless streak, they’ve faced several of the top clubs in the league, including Manchester City (lost 0-1), Tottenham (lost 1-3), Chelsea (lost 0-1) and Everton (lost 1-2). In the other four matches, they lost against Manchester United (0-2), and drew against Aston Villa (1-1), Norwich (1-1) and Hull City (1-1).
In none of the above matches did the Swans play poorly or were outplayed. Even in the defeats against Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton, Swansea were in the game for large portions of the match but narrowly lost in the end.
Thankfully for the Swans, the next three matches are slightly easier, albeit against relegation candidates that may offer an X-Factor in their performances. Still, Swansea should (and need to) win two to three of their four upcoming matches against Fulham, West Ham United, Cardiff City and Stoke City.
Just playing pretty football against sides and monopolizing the possession statistics won’t win matches for Michael Laudrup’s side, however. As was the problem in Swansea’s first season in the Premier League when they were managed by Brendan Rodgers, the Swans need to improve on creating more chances in front of goal, and — more importantly — putting the ball into the back of net.
While that’s easier said than done, the reason why Swansea are having trouble scoring goals and winning matches is two-fold:
1. The squad has been ravaged with injuries to arguably three of their best players. Michu, Jonathan de Guzman and Michel Vorm are still on the injury list, not to mention Nathan Dyer, Pablo Hernandez, Jose Canas and Garry Monk who are all out injured. Even Jonjo Shelvey was injured in Sunday’s match against Spurs with a muscle pull, but there’s a 75% chance he’ll return at the weekend against Fulham.
With a team like Swansea that doesn’t have a ton of quality in depth, injuries are going to have an impact on the team’s performances. As a result, Michael Laudrup has had to rely on players who aren’t Premier League quality yet such as: