Safety on the horizon for Swans

Posted by Max Hicks

The most intriguing Premier League season for some years keeps refusing to offer any resolution. Just when the relegation picture seems set, Sunderland go and beat Chelsea, or Cardiff surprise Southampton. It's the same at the other end of the table where former Swans boss Brendan Rodgers seems poised to bring the title to Liverpool (and steal 'manager of the year' plaudits from the more deserving Tony Pulis of Crystal Palace in the process), but will still have to win a few more games first. Continue Reading...

Bony's brilliance can't paper over Swansea's issues

Posted by Max Hicks

Dave Thompson/Getty ImagesWilfried Bony's been the difference between the Prem and relegation this season.

The gift of a rare penalty in the final moments of Saturday's match against Newcastle gave Swansea a precious 2-1 victory. Now with 36 points, Swansea are a hair's breadth from safety largely due to the continuing excellence of Wilfried Bony.

Bony's brace against Newcastle extended his league tally for the season to 13. Swansea's next best goalscorers in league play (after "own goal") are Jonjo Shelvey and Nathan Dyer, with five apiece -- figures that only serve to underline the Ivorian's importance. Continue Reading...

Playing for safety

Posted by Max Hicks

Stu Forster/Getty ImagesSwansea manager Garry Monk has a good chance to stay up.

The minimum Swansea need from their last four games to be virtually sure of safety is probably only three points. That's one win, which will ideally come before the visit to Sunderland on the last day of the season. Three more points give Swansea 36, and while that total would normally be relegation-worthy [40 is seen as the number required to stay up], this season it looks to be enough for safety.

Assuming Swansea find one win from their remaining four games, drop-zone incumbents Cardiff would then need seven points from theirs to go level with them. Continue Reading...

Battling Swansea hint at progession despite loss

Posted by Max Hicks

SwanseaGettyImagesSwansea's Chico Flores heads for the tunnel after his controversial sending off against Chelsea.

It's hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Swansea. Trying to get something out of Chelsea was going to be difficult enough without having to play with ten men for most of the game. Although they ultimately lost, they did so by the smallest possible margin, 1-0, which is impressive given the circumstances. And in all honesty, even with 11 men, a 1-0 defeat would still have been reasonable. It was no rout, and the Swans looked and played like a decent mid-table team.

The biggest talking point of the game was obviously Chico Flores being shown the red card with barely 15 minutes played. Continue Reading...

With safety near, Swans can experiment against Chelsea

Posted by Max Hicks

AllsportPablo Hernandez should be considered to play this weekend, as he scored a late equaliser against Chelsea in the same fixture last season.

Swansea City will face the toughest of their remaining five matches Sunday when Chelsea come to town. As far as the relegation battle goes, things might have to get worse for the Swans before they get better, but with all the teams below Swansea facing similarly tough matches, the Welsh club should be able to hold on to 15th place for now.

Sunderland, Cardiff and West Brom each face top-10 opposition in Everton, Southampton and Tottenham, whilst Fulham and Norwich play each other. Continue Reading...

Weak Swans fall to Hull

Posted by Max Hicks

George Boyd goal header Hull SwanseaPA PhotosGeorge Boyd headed Hull in front versus Swansea.

So much for pep talks. In the wake of last week's satisfying 3-0 victory over Norwich, Swansea boss Garry Monk dared his players to go the remainder of the season unbeaten, and they responded by promptly falling at the first fence. Hull will not be the toughest game the Swans will have to play between now and season's end (that plum falls to Chelsea), and with points at a premium during the Premier League's craziest ever relegation battle, the Swans showed a surprising lack of focus in the 1-0 defeat. Continue Reading...

Bony buy has been a bonanza for Swans

Posted by Max Hicks

Swansea's season so far has been one full of gambles: from the forced gamble of taking a small squad through four competitions, to the calculated gamble of a mid-season managerial change. Perhaps the Swans' biggest gamble of all came before a ball was kicked, when chairman Huw Jenkins spent twelve million pounds on striker Wilfried Bony, a target identified by former manager Michael Laudrup.

- Report: Monk: Bony key to Swansea future

In Premier League terms, twelve million pounds isn't all that much. Continue Reading...

Swansea's quality resurfacing as health improves

Posted by Max Hicks

It shouldn't really be surprising that Swansea finally managed to beat Norwich 3-0 on Saturday. For the first time in a long time, the Swans are more or less playing with a full squad, having endured a treatment room carousel which has seen one or more key men miss games every week since last September. As the players have returned, so too has the style, the confidence and fluidity, which despite being a trademark of Swansea football, has been in short supply in recent weeks.

- Report: Swansea 3-0 Norwich City

Manager Garry Monk is now so spoiled for choice that central midfielder Jonathan de Guzman has lately been starting on the flank to accommodate returning central players Jonjo Shelvey and Michu in the same formation. Continue Reading...

Swansea prove mettle against Arsenal

Posted by Max Hicks

Wilfried BonyPA PhotosSwansea City's Wilfried Bony celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game

Lee Probert's decision to whistle for full-time thirty seconds early on Tuesday night while Jonathan De Guzman was on a breakaway might seem pretty baffling, but it makes sense to me.

Probert was making a decision about which set of complaints he'd rather face: those from influential Arsenal, who are already 'in credit' with the FA's referees following Andre Marriner's case of mistaken identity of Saturday, and would have certainly complained had De Guzman scored a likely looking goal; or those from comparatively powerless Swansea, who weren't even offered an apology after the Bobby Madley penalty incident against Stoke, and won't be offered one this time either. Continue Reading...

Defensive errors doom Swans at Everton

Posted by Max Hicks

A beaten Swansea City maintained their four point safety margin from the relegation places on Saturday, but only because every team beneath them in the table also lost. The 3-2 away defeat to Everton -- a side Swansea have never beaten -- probably wasn't a fixture the Swans would have earmarked to break a four game winless streak, but they might yet have done just that.

- Report: Everton 3-2 Swansea

Swansea overcame an early penalty to equalise in a dominant first half display, but threw the game away despite out-shooting their opponents 21-9. Continue Reading...

Deja vu all over again for Swans

Posted by Max Hicks

It seems quite likely that West Brom manager Pepe Mel might have headed into the visitors' dressing room at halftime on Saturday in two minds about whether to attempt a rousing team-talk, or whether to call the house movers and tell them not to bother. Before he could do either, he apparently found Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis's notes from the last match at the Liberty in the waste paper basket and along with them, his salvation.

The similarities between Saturday's 2-1 defeat to West Brom and the previous game's 1-1 draw against Pulis's Crystal Palace were hard to ignore, and harder still to tolerate. Continue Reading...

An exercise in development

Posted by Max Hicks

SwanseaPA PhotosSwansea could have done better, but it could be worse too.

This time last season, Swansea had just capped off their League Cup final win with a 1-0 Premier League victory against Newcastle. The Swans would go on to take just six points from their remaining ten matches, but with 40 points in the bank already, survival was assured, and the side eventually finished 9th.

The season before last, Swansea had 36 points by this stage. Needing just four more to hit the magic 40 point threshold -- generally considered the base line for survival -- the side picked up three in their very next game (a 3-0 win over Fulham), but had to battle through a five game losing streak before another 3-0 win against Blackburn Rovers took them to 42 points and guaranteed safety. Continue Reading...