Giving up an own goal to squander two points versus Chelsea was heartbreaking for the Swans. On the other hand, when a newly promoted team can complain about only getting one point instead of three against big six opposition, things can't be that bad.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Syggi Stardust) was on song again for the Swans, the loan signing already winning the hearts of the faithful with exciting, committed performances from midfield. Nathan Dyer was back to his best, embarrassing the Chelsea defence time and again and putting overworked ref Andre Marriner to a few decisions too many; David Luiz fortunate to escape a late yellow.
Ashley Cole was not so fortunate, eventually earning himself a early bath (not to mention an early massage, pedicure and manicure) as Chelsea's frustrations boiled over. At times it seemed like Chelsea were aghast that this newly promoted team wouldn't just lay down and let them win. In actuality, Chelsea were lucky to get the draw, despite having most of the second half possession, Michel Vorm with barely a save to make.
Jose Bosingwa's presence on Swansea's left side was an obvious threat and easily the most likely source of trouble. Even more obvious was that substitute Luke Moore was not going to do any better than Scott Sinclair at containing that threat; when the lackadaisical forward was turned inside out by the Portuguese right back, Neil Taylor became the unwitting fall guy and Swansea had to make do with settling for a point against a big name side that put four past them with ten men on autopilot in the first fixture.
That says a heck of a lot about how far Swansea have come. Top ten is not out of the question.
The transfer deadline day was fairly quiet for Swansea, but in mostly good ways. The only negative was failing to sign highly touted central defender Ryan Bennett from Peterborough, who instead went to Premier rivals Norwich. Rumour is the price was too rich for the Swans board, although Brendan Rodgers backed the deal. With Caulker set to rejoin Spurs at seasons end, Bennett is exactly the sort of player the Swans need. Perhaps the Swans' board's legendary financial caution was misguided on this occasion.
The good news is that the team didn't sell any of it's players. The really good news is that the one deadline-day signing the Swans did make was bringing in pacey full back Curtis Obeng from Wrexham. Finally, some full back cover. Obeng might be a youngster, but things worked out pretty well the last time the Swans bought a young full back from Wrexham... (for non Swans fans, I'm talking about Neil Taylor).
Here's a look at Obeng in action.
With Sigurdsson and McEachran on loan, three good young players properly signed (Rory Donnelly, Darnel Situ and Obeng), three unwanted players released and no key players sold, I'd say the Swnas made out pretty well this transfer window. Only the failure to secure Bennett, who was apparently in the process of driving to Swansea when he was told to turn around and head for Norwich instead, stops me from giving a round grade A for this window. Let's call it a B+ instead.
Brendan Rogers hasn't exactly been shy in expressing his disappointment regarding the failure of signing Ryan Bennett from Peterborough. Are you worried that if Swans board repeat this "legendary financial caution" too many times, Brendan Rogers will do a Mark Hughes and walk away from the club?
It's possible, after all, the main reason behind Paulo Sousa's early exit was supposedly his frustration with being given no money to spend. After that situation, however, I imagine the Swans board would have been keen to impress on their next manager exactly what kind of financial structure they expect to operate under.
I think Rogers youth focus is partially a product of tight purse strings, and perhaps the board considered Bennett too much of a gamble since he is untested at this level. Whether they would have pulled out of a deal for proven talent would have been a better indicator of their intentions.
We can probably thank Liverpool's "buy British" policy for inflating the prices of domestic players. In any case, I get the impression Rogers is a man who would like to prove he can win even under financial constraints, so hopefully he'll stick around regardless. M
Post your comment
Max Hicks is a writer, musician and former Sunday League left winger. Despite never playing professionally, Hicks has walked onto the hallowed turf of the old Vetch field in full Swansea whites... as a mascot. These days, when not writing, he plays in defence in a weekly jumpers-for-goalposts kickaround.