Preview Swansea City v Liverpool - Sun 25th November 1.30pm
Posted by royhendo on November 23, 2012, 10:41:27 AM
I'd rather Jack, than Fleetwood Mac, sang the Reynolds Girls, acknowledging the rising star of Swansea Football Club, but in the same breath neglecting to acknowledge the brilliance of the rock 'event' that was "Rumours".
But did they have a point? In Huw Jenkins, a man Brendan Rodgers could barely talk higher of, they have what can only be described as a visionary of a Chairman, and boy oh boy can we testify to the benefits of that - the older heads remembering the positive evidence; the younger heads the counterpoint.
A club with a clear approach to its football, applied through successive managers, each of whose work (as a rule) built on that of his predecessor. That's a recipe for long-term growth - something maybe only emulated at West Brom on these shores in recent years. A kind of steady isolation from the slings and arrows of outrageous managerial fortune.
That approach has truly borne fruit in recent years, of course, with our own Rodgers solidifying the foundations to a stage where the club has viable ambitions to becoming a Premier League stalwart. Starting from a position where it was relying on a local gym for its training facilities, the sales of Allen and Sinclair, and let's face it, of Rodgers himself, has put Swansea on a very firm footing indeed. That netted the club in excess of £25m, which when added to their Premier League prize money and their share of the TV revenues, provided quite a war chest for whoever the new man was going to be.
And what a new man. Handsome, bechiselled of cheekbone, hair as slick as a newly emerged Martin Sheen en route to ending Colonel Kurtz's Junglist Massive, and with a footballing pedigree that sits him at the top table of the footballing Crufts (or should that be Cruyffts?), Michael Laudrup is a man that some of us ourselves covat. He'd stated his admiration for the club beforehand, after all. But regardless, having taken the reins at The Liberty, he took his prodigious war chest and spent it in what looks like the most effective way possible.
In the signings of Ki, De Guzman, Hernandez and Michu, Laudrup has added a veneer of genuine Rolls Royce class to his group, with (it seems) Chico Flores providing an able replacement for the loanee prodigy that was Steven Caulker.
Swansea currently sit in 10th place on 16 points, one point and one place ahead of ourselves. We could use a victory, that goes without saying. But Swansea are a mean proposition, particularly in light of our own peculiar 'work in progress' tendencies this season.
Our achilles heel recently has been our vulnerability to quality and pace on the counter, and Swansea have both midfield players with the class to make single touches count in transition, and the pace to kill us in the spaces we leave. We saw as much at Anfield. Also, when on his game, in Michu they have both that quality on the ball, and the kind of reference point that brings their other weapons into play. This is a difficult tie.
That said, we'll boast a full strength line-up, and players with something to prove: a resoundingly bloodied nose in the Carling Cup, a returning Brendan Rodgers and Joe Allen, and last but not least, quotes from Ashley Williams to pin up on the dressing room wall. That, plus the little matter of our league form, which is improving, and Senor Luis Suarez, who ought to be frothing at the mouth... well, it's going to be interesting.
My prediction? A scoring draw. It'll go down like a cold cup of sick after the UEFA result, but when we look back on it, we'll think it was a fair return. That's just me though - over to you.
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