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Swansea City, 2011/12 - a year at the top

(June 01, 2012)

 Review of Swansea City's first year in the Premier League


Garry Monk - gyda'r cwpanSwansea City winning promotion to the Premier League  – a dream come true

Swansea City have undeniably relished their opportunity in the top flight this season. Producing countless domineering displays of the highest magnitude, they pulled off two sensational scalps at home to both Arsenal and Manchester City. Their exuberant maiden Premier League campaign was rounded off with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool.

Belittled relentlessly prior to the start, and during the course of, the season, to their credit Swansea retained the utmost belief in their possession based philosophy for the duration of the campaign. As the season progressed their growth in confidence and maturity shone through, and their capabilities reaped deserved rewards.

Ahead of the season, concerns were raised as to whether the step up would prove too much for a number of Swansea players given that they had little or no experience at the top level. However, all adapted in an exhilarating manner, demonstrating key attributes of the highest calibre in order to prove their critics wrong. Making the transition in a remarkably short period of time, Swansea were able to implement the tactics and passing strategies that had served them implausibly well in the Championship. As a result, they registered a final league standing of 11th, whilst proving to be a credit to their new division.


Garry Monk - yn dathluParty time!

Brendan Rodgers

Swansea fans and players alike, would have known that naivety would play a part in the season. However, the way in which Swansea learnt rapidly from mistakes and persisted in a resilient and spirited manner, in order to command an authoritative and fearless approach, was both breathtaking and a true testament to their character.

Quick to rid the stigma of 'the new Blackpool', Swansea recorded an astounding 14 clean sheets over the course of the campaign – the Liberty Stadium becoming a fortress, with just 4 home defeats. Their centre back pairing of Ashley Williams and Steven Caulker proved one of the best in the division; their abilities complimenting each other superbly. As for keeper Michel Vorm, he demonstrated the credentials that have earned him the nicknames 'Penalty Killer' and 'The Cat'.

The overwhelming pride that the season brought was, at times, slightly dampened by exasperation and infuriation towards critics who questioned Swansea's approach, as their initially poor record away from home overshadowed their accomplishments. But no-one could disparage the way the players conducted themselves against even the league's best sides.

One of the main reasons Swansea have enjoyed such an effervescent and ebullient campaign has been their interminable belief and confidence, coupled with the unity and willingness of players who have impeccably demonstrated immense discipline levels. Given the style of football that Swansea play, there is no room for complacency. Therefore, an outstanding work ethic is essential, and required from all - the Swans have shown this consistently, defying the odds and surpassing all expectations.


Garry MonkSwansea captain, Garry Monk, clapping the Swansea fans at the last ever Cardiff v Swansea derby at Ninian Park

For the fans, it has been thoroughly refreshing to see Swansea keep faith with the style of football that steered them through the divisions, whilst continuing to field the bulk of the squad that guided them to play-off promotion.

Focus now turns to whether Swansea can push on from this success in the forthcoming campaign and vie to become an established Premier League side. Swansea have shown on many occasions that their A game is good enough to get the better of most opposition. However, they need to acquire a different approach to compete against the division's more physical sides. The return to fitness of Kemy Agustien will really bolster the side. As he offers a great physicality in the middle of the pitch, his presence could prove instrumental when it comes to facing sides such as Norwich and Stoke.

Gylfi SigurðssonGylfi Sigurðsson

The whole Swansea squad played a significant part in the side's success, however loan signings Steven Caulker and Gylfi Sigurðsson were imperative to Swansea's final league standing. Therefore extending the loan of Caulker and capturing the permanent signature of Sigurðsson would have undoubtedly been high on Brendan Rodgers summer list of priorities in order for the Welsh side to follow up their phenomenal debut season in the top flight.

On Monday 28thMay, news broke that a fee of £6.8 million and personal terms had been agreed for highly rated Icelander Sigurðsson, pending a medical which was due to take place later that week.

Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp hinted that he would be happy for Caulker to rejoin Swansea on loan, with Rodgers chances of securing the 20 year old's services for an extended period seeming highly realistic.

However, just 48 hours on, chances of these deals materialising were significantly hampered when manager Brendan Rodgers accepted the prestigious offer to become Liverpool manager and begin a new challenge. Given Rodger's departure from Swansea, it is unlikely that Sigurðsson will complete his move to the club, with the 22 year old now being tipped to join the Northern Irish manager at Anfield. It is believed that Swansea are moving fast in order to appoint Rodgers' successor with Wigan assistant manager and former Swansea number 2 Graeme Jones favourite to take to the helm, with reports suggesting that talks are imminent.

Given the proficiency of managerial appointments made by Huw Jenkins over recent years, I feel that Swans fans can rest assured that the chairman will appoint the fitting man to help Swansea progress with the same ethos that has brought them extensive success.


Abigail Davies, 1 June 2012


Also from Abigail Davies:

     Book review; Loud, Proud and Positive, Gary Monk's autobiography, June 2012


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