Back in the big time for the first time since 1983, Swansea enter their first Premier League campaign on the back of a season in which they impressed everyone with their exciting, open, attacking style of football.
Finishing last term in third place in the Championship with a tally of 80 points, Swansea won last season’s play-offs on the strength of a Scott Sinclair hat trick against Reading to earn promotion.
Star players: Top league scorer: Scott Sinclair (22 goals) The former Chelsea man scored 22 goals in 42 matches in a prolific campaign.
Top league assister: Nathan Dyer (9 assists) Nathan Dyer is a pint-sized winger who won the Supporters Player of the Year for the Swans last season.
During this transfer window, highly rated young manager Brendan Rodgers has acquired the Championship’s top scorer last season, Danny Graham, for a club record fee, plus Wayne Routledge from Newcastle, Michel Vorm, a Dutch international goalkeeper, Leroy Lita from Middlesbrough and Steve Caulkner from Spurs.
The new boys will be thrown in at the deep end to premier league life as they face super-rich Manchester City in their Premiership debut.
Respectability against Man City on the opening day is what the Swan’s and their fans need to avoid a nightmare of a start which sees them play Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea in their first three away games.
However, their first 6 games include, amongst Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, three winnable games in Wigan, Sunderland and West Brom and picking up points in these games are vital.
It’s a big ask for any team coming up to the Premier League to instantly have a squad of proven top-level quality and the gulf in class will normally point towards a swift return to the lower division.
Their slick passing game was too much for most of the Championship, but Rodgers will know that he is going to have to adapt in order to achieve Premiership status for longer than one season. (Take for example, A repeat of Blackpool’s adventure last year, with a slightly happier outcome!)
With the striking talent they possess it’ll be hard to see them struggling to create chances and score goals. Defence wise, last season Swansea conceded 42 goals – the 2nd best in the league. Just behind champions Q.P.R. But they do have major weaknesses at the back, which may not have been fully punished by Championship sides, but if the issues outstanding are not addressed Premier League teams will no doubt take full advantage. Unless they get in some more experience to the back line then the Swans are going to struggle defensively.
I feel, if the liberty stadium becomes a Welsh fortress sides dread to visit, and Swansea can successfully play on the counter attack away from home, I suspect after a hard fought season survival may just be on the cards. Just.