So, will the most regular of EPL clichés at the Liberty Stadium, “Second season syndrome,” be a consolidation, or will it be onwards and upwards?
If it’s to be the latter, there are three teams Michael Laudrup’s Swans simply have to be claiming six points from during the coming campaign. Let’s start with the opening weekend’s opponents.
One of two teams to jump clear of last season’s relegation trapdoor, but Swansea teams have traditionally found points hard to come by against the Hoops—including two heavy Loftus Road defeats in the last two campaigns.
Yes, Rangers have recruited heavily with the likes of Robert Green, Junior Hoylett and Robert Green, while Allen and Caulker will be absent from the Swansea team sheet. But let’s look outward, not inward.
Laudrup’s recruitment of Flores, Michu, De GuZman and Schechter gives Swansea a brighter, even hungrier look than before. So the points verdict against the Rangers? If the Swans can hit the ground running and fully BELIEVE in their 2012 vintage, why shouldn’t it be a full six from six against Mark Hughes’ men? And so to..
The lazy and predictable UK football media had them relegated even before the fixtures were released and the cry will doubtless rise, it HAS to be a full six against the Latics. Rodellega may have gone— to a puzzlingly low-profile Fulham—and the Chelsea vultures will circle round Victor Moses until their man is carried safely down south, but Swansea fans as always must beware the Martinez factor.
An exemplary student of the game, their former boss masterminded inspirational new tactics to catalyse the Wigan gallop to safety from a spine-chillingly bad start last term. His eye for a quality unsung overseas recruit won’t have gone unobserved by Liberty boss Laudrup—Real Mallorca’s Ivan Ramis perhaps the latest in a long line of such.
Manchester United were just one of the glitterati halted in their tracks at the DW last season; if Swansea are looking to "kick on" this time, Wigan’s an "elephant trap" essential to avoid.
Despite the club’s history and tradition, there are many who genuinely feel Paul Lambert’s taken a downward step there from "upwardly mobile" Carrow Road to the "beached whale" of Villa Park. It was the scene of the Swans’ debut EPL away win last term—a feat they must repeat both there and at the Liberty to continue sailing above, rather than risk now dipping below the Premier radar.
While shedding Premier Regulars like Emile Heskey and James Collins, Lambert‘s addition of a trio from the Dutch League will doubtless need time to bed in. Unless Mr Lerner’s recently tightly-sewn pockets can be further unstitched, this must surely be viewed as a site for potential Swansea profit.