With yet another Premier League season upon us, many people are suggesting that Swansea are possible relegation candidates and will thus end the good times that the fans – The Jack Army – have experienced over recent seasons. However, the reasoning behind this is not really because of the players at Swansea’s disposal, it is the manager, Garry Monk. With no managerial experience – except for the three or so months with Swansea at the end of the season – many are quietly confident Swansea will go down.
Many of these people, though, also claimed that Monk would struggle to attract players because he did not have the legendary status of Michael Laudrup nor the contacts of Brendan Rodgers, two managers who did well in South Wales. But, with the free transfers of Lukasz Fabianski and Bafetimbi Gomis, coupled with the return of popular Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, the Jack Army have much to be content with. The addition of Jefferson Montero, a pacy winger with a lot of skill, the return of Ki Sung-Yeung alongside the decent if not spectacular signings of Stephen Kingsley and Marvin Emnes, there seems to be much agro over nothing. Granted, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm have gone to Tottenham and Michu has gone to Rafa Benitez’s Napoli. But, apart from that, no key men have left. The departure of Alejandro Pozuelo although wont initially be missed, could hint a little of ‘the one that got away’ but there is certainly enough quality in the Swansea squad not to miss him, especially his attitude.
So, if the signings and the squad are shaping up nicely, why are people saying that the Welsh outfit will go down? The lack of experience from Garry Monk’s part is clearly a decisive factor in this. Another is that Swansea struggled at times last season and were, occasionally, fearful of getting stuck in the wrong side of the table. Although it could be argued that the Swansea squad is the best squad in the Premier League that they have had, it is not a massive improvement on last seasons. Buying Federico Fernandez from Napoli, an Argentine centre-back, would change that. What Garry Monk has managed to do, quite successfully it seems, is root out all of the players whose attitude wasn’t Swansea-like or whose ability wasn’t. This is just the first step. Football is not played on paper. A few seasons ago QPR relegated with a squad that contained very good players. Loic Remy, Stephane Mbia, Julio Ceasar and Esteban Granero to name but a few. Garry Monk, and the Liberty stadium faithful will be hoping that the same fate does not happen to Swansea and that the players gel together.
Last Saturday, just a week before Swansea go to a much rejuvenated Manchester United, Swansea hosted Spanish club Villarreal in their last pre-season friendly. The Yellow Submarine went on to win 3-0 with goals from Cani Cheryshev and Uche. According to reports Garry Monk’s army were anything but barmy. Lethargic, playing players out of position and sloppy passes; three things that are usually not associated with Swansea were just that. Granted, the Spanish side are very good and will be challenging in the Europa League this season with top players such as Giovani Dos Santos, Bruno and Uche, but the manner of the 3-0 defeat is quite worrying for many. It must be said that the game was only a friendly. Nothing more. These games count for very little and the players should realise that they will need to up their game for when they face the most successful Premier League team of all time.
Yet, as already mentioned, Swansea struggled at times when it mattered most. Pre-season counts for very little indeed. The manner of the defeat against Villarreal has created a sense of foreboding when really it shouldn’t have. Everton, buoyed by the signature of Romelu Lukaku, lost 3-1 to Celta De Vigo. Both Newcastle and West Ham lost to Malaga. Chelsea lost 3-0 against German side Werder Bremen. These results, apart from being meaningless, are happening to other Premier League teams against weaker opposition. If Swansea do in fact go down this season, it will not be because a class team like Villarreal beat them in a warm-up game.
So, will Swansea be relegated? There are many people who believe that they will in fact do what Cardiff city managed to do last season. However, many other people are expecting Swansea to have a comfortable if nothing else season and finish around 12th place with relative ease. One thing that the Premier League prides itself on being is unpredictable and fiercely competitive. Nobody knows where Swansea will finish, within reason, but one thing that all of the Swansea fans and Premier League watchers do know, is that this season is yet again going to consist of drama, goals, controversy, excitement, and, most importantly of all, some fine football!
How do you think Swansea City will get on in the new Premier League season under Gary Monk? They could easily finish mid-table but could just as easily be relegated. Let us know what you think in the comments and on twitter @TBRFootball.