ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Swansea City
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Swansea City
Posted by Max Hicks on 01/24/2012

Brilliance against Arsenal, bewilderment against Sunderland and a few small squad moves...

THE GAMES

Swansea might have played their first Premier League game back in August, but the Arsenal victory really announced the arrival and ambitions of the team. The Swans performance that day was first rate, as Swansea beat Wenger's men at what was once their own game. The entire match was virtually a promotional video called 'Look at me, I'm Nathan Dyer', an observation not lost on Sunderland's new boss, Miracle O'Neill (and it was a miracle for anyone to get a win over Swansea playing like that).

In the loss to Sunderland, Dyer couldn't have received closer attention from a greater number of men if he'd been a stag night stripper. As a team, Swansea had the same air about them a visitor might experience when dropping in on a couple that have just had a blazing argument; superficially everything is fine, but there is an agitating tension under the surface, which in football terms manifested as an annoying inability to produce a decent final ball or finish. Scotty Sinclair, afforded more time and space as a result of Dyer acting as a triple-teamed man-marking-magnet, managed to blaze two fine chances over the bar.

Thinking about it, Dyer has scored a few goals of his own recently after years of shanking his shots way over the bar, and now Sinclair, last season's top scorer, can't hit the target... maybe someone has mixed their boots up? Someone in the organisation needs to show him this video to get his confidence back up.

The Sunderland game did at least allow a close look at the two new loanees; Gylfi Sigurdsson and Josh McEachran. Sigurdsson was top class, heavily involved in the play and generally doing everything right. His streetwise manoeuvring of David Vaughan to extract a free kick on the edge of the box is a trick the rest of the Swans would do well to learn; it's a great way to counter a team that presses heavily and aggressively, and a better ploy than forcing passes under pressure. He almost scored off that free kick, too.

McEachran replaced Sigurdsson, who hasn't got 90 minute fitness back yet, and generally looked decent. In fact, there were moments where he had plenty of time and space and I was aching to see him turn on the skill and try to dribble through the defence, but the youngster played it safe instead, passing the ball off and not trying anything too ambitious. That's understandable; he's going to be tentative whilst he settles in, but we'll have to wait before we see his best.

TRANSFER ROUND-UP

Swansea continue to redefine their financial obligations by releasing Craig Beattie and Tom Butler, only a few days after releasing David Cotterill. Cotterill and Beattie were each club record signings at the time they joined the squad. Beattie's Swans career was hampered by injury, and he was rarely healthy for long enough to establish himself in the squad, whereas Butler has really been a lower-league player biding his time. It's another example of the wage space having more value to the team than the players. Talk has it that Beattie is being looked over by Millwall, who have had a few problems scoring goals lately.

Michel Vorm has denied any interest in moving to a big club, which is a relief since Vorm is a huge reason the Swans are doing so well, whilst Joe Allen is apparently a transfer target for Spurs.

I honestly wouldn't expect many of the Swans players to move in this window; as Brendan Rodgers has said, there seems little point in any player moving to another club unless that club can offer them a significant step forward; i.e. European football, which is the domain of the big six, teams which are ocean-deep with players and prospects. Few if any of the Swans players would challenge for a regular place on those teams.

I'm not losing any sleep over which players might be transferred, because I think the answer is 'none'. As for players coming in, however, that's a different story. Still waiting on that full back cover...


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Comments

Posted by Joe B from Across the Sea on 01/29/2012

Great post. I am in total agreement about the need for a boost on the back line...with the style Swansea uses, the inevitable need for quickness and intelligence at the fullback position is made even more obvious. What they have is okay at best..but that "okay" concedes a goal...and Swansea is not the squad that can go down a goal and not worry about it.

Yes, until the Spurs game, the Swans had an awful record when conceding the first goal. But as has been the pattern throughout the Swans season, they have learned to deal with the challenges they've faced as they've progressed.

There is talk of Watford's Adrain Mariappa coming in, ostensibly to fill the hole loanee Stephen Caulker will leave when he goes back to Spurs. I consider Swansea's starting full backs (Taylor and Rangel) to be good, solid starters, but one serious injury anywhere across the line of this defence would hurt the Swans significantly.

They could definitely use a boost, that's for sure, M

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