Swansea end tumultuous season strongly with five-game unbeaten run
After a slow start, Swansea sprung to life in the second half to give their home fans a proper send-off following a season of stress, beating West Bromwich Albion 2-1.
Another victory means Swansea finished a season of struggle on a five-game unbeaten streak. Key players Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente were again front and centre, with each involved in the goals, and Swansea will hope both men remain with the club for next season. Based on recent form, it is hard to imagine this club was ever in any real peril, with the fiasco of the Bob Bradley experiment firmly in the rearview mirror, and Francesco Guidolin's inauspicious start to the season an even more distant memory. With Paul Clement seemingly an ideal fit in South Wales, Swansea can look forward to a small summer facelift and expect a refocused side to fare a lot better next season.
Owing to other results on the final day, Swansea have actually managed a 15th-place finish this season having been bottom of the table at Christmas time, conceded 70 goals overall, and gone through three managerial changes. That is an incredible achievement which a glance at the final standings will never properly reflect, but this season will live long in the memory of the fans.
Swans assistant coach Nigel Gibbs is the man responsible for the side's incredible set-piece record since Clement brought him to Swansea as part of his staff. Until Jonny Evans scored on Sunday, Swansea had not conceded a goal from a free kick or corner under Gibbs' watch. Tony Pulis has long been the league's set-piece master, so perhaps there's no shame in being beaten by the best. It'll be fun to see if Gibbs can repay the favour next time these sides meet.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Clement has his system down pat, and there were no surprises here. His switch to a wider shape to accommodate Luciano Narsingh was inspired however, and produced the winning goal.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kristoffer Nordfeldt, 7 -- Was somewhat culpable on Evans' goal, but made two key saves to prevent West Brom from scoring more.
DF Kyle Naughton, 8 -- The right-back has earned next season's starting job with his recent performances. Won all his individual battles and offered an option going forward.
DF Federico Fernandez, 8 -- Fought well to contain Salomon Rondon and did just about enough. Won 80 percent of his headers, but still needs to sharpen up from offensive set-pieces.
DF Alfie Mawson, 8 -- Tidy and composed in defending his own third, he got Swansea out of serious trouble at least once.
DF Martin Olsson, 6 -- Had a good running battle with Allan Nyom, and managed a few half decent crosses. Was culpable for allowing Evans to get goalside on Albion's strike, however.
MF Leroy Fer, 7 -- More of the usual box-to-box battling from Fer, who tied for a team best three tackles.
MF Leon Britton, 8 -- Captain of the team -- and would be captain of the City if there were such a thing -- had a 93 percent pass completion mark. The man so instrumental in Swansea's survival also received another standing ovation.
MF Tom Carroll, 7 -- Most of Swansea's play went through the midfielder at some point. Made a couple of good passes despite constant pressure.
FW Jordan Ayew, 8 -- Scored his first Swansea goal with a neat header and also made two tackles. He's looking very much a part of the plan going into next season.
FW Fernando Llorente, 8 -- Set up the equalizer and scored the winner, bringing his total to 15 goals for the season and earning Swansea almost £4 million more in prize money in the process -- not bad for a striker who only cost £5 million to begin with.
FW Gylfi Sigurdsson, 8 -- Battled to make an impact from the congested midfield, but provided strong dead-ball delivery once again, taking the corner which led to Ayew's equalizer.
FW Luciano Narsingh, 7 -- Looked a little sharper here than he has in his past couple of appearances. Caused the West Brom defence some problems and chalked an assist on Llorente's game winner.
MF Ki Sung-yueng, NR -- Ended the game with an uncharacteristic 56 percent pass completion mark having replaced Fer with 10 minutes to play.
DF Stephen Kingsley, NR -- Came on in the 93rd minute and had no time to make an impact.
Max is ESPN FC's Swansea blogger. Follow him on Twitter: @maxwellhicks