Here’s my weekly blog on Swansea City FC. I’ll be writing this for www.premiershipflavour.com
To the Next Step
In this first edition of the blog, a quick look at what needs to be done at the club for the next season.
It is wonderful sight to watch Swansea play. Their English version of ‘Tici-Taca’ duly earned them a famous nickname ‘Swanselona’ and an inevitable comparison with Tici Masters and Taca Lords Barcelona.
What Brendan Rodgers has achieved on the foundations built by Kenny Jackett and Roberto Martinez (now at Wigan) has been incredible. To achieve a win ratio of 50.82% and being Swansea’s most successful manager deserves applause. Swansea has given English football, what they lacked for many years, a team breaking traditional 4-4-2 and still playing attracting passing football.
With possession football being core to their footballing style, Swansea deployed 4-5-1 rather than Barca’s 4-3-3. What that reflected into is central midfield due Leon Britton and Joe Allen giving the balls to both wingers Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer, who would try to cut in and take a shot or cross once in a while to the striker Danny Graham. So the effectiveness of another attacking midfielder Wayne Routledge was lessened.
With the addition of more dynamic Gylfi Sigurdsson in the January transfer window seem to have sorted the attacking central midfielder problems. Sigurdsson is playing in his natural AM-C position than Routledge who is prominently a winger. Sigurdsson’s involvement in the game has been tremendous.
Sigurdsson has shot 4.1 shots per game with 84.7% of passing success rate in comparison to Routledge’s 0.6 shots per game with 79.2% of passing success. He has also scored 7 goals and 2 assists in his 15 games compared to Wayne’s solitary goal and 4 assists in 27 games.
Although a first priority of the season was to get 40 points and thus next season in the top flight, Rodgers ensured that this is achieved much earlier than the last day huff and puff. Swansea has achieved this in style and playing enthralling football with 4 games to play.
But Brendan Rodgers knows that the Job isn’t done at 40 points, rather it starts at 40.
He has to start thinking about building the squad for the next season. There’s an inevitable curse of 2nd season syndrome in football which they can’t avoid but that’s what Swans will have to negotiate with a strong mindset, courage and shrewd transfer policy.
His style of possession football too will be “Found out” in the second season. Well, it has already been somewhat found out as 4 looses on the trot suggest that. I’m hopeful that Rodgers will not get carried away with all the talks of him getting a prime candidate for Manager of the Season award.
If Rogers has to maintain the same style of football, he must improve the standards as next season in the Premiership is going to be more competitive as ever.
First things first. Every attempt to make Gylfi Sigurdsson’s move from on loan to permanent should be made. Rodgers might not find players suitable to his style in England where Kick and Rush football is still being played across the leagues. For example Chelsea starlet Josh McEachran is not getting any game time as he had hoped for. Rodgers will have to take a look in Europe for sure. Dutch League and La Liga are the two leagues where he can hope to find suitable targets and mostly at suitable price.
Also he must spend money wisely in the next season and not getting carried away with success in the début season. The usual tendency of the promoted club who stay in the top flight is to buy heavily in the second season and in turn change the playing style and philosophy.
I hope he stays on at the club and not get buoyed by any big offers which are likely to come his way.
There’s lot of work to be done at Swansea and Rodgers is the man for it.