After Swansea City’s outstanding month of Premier League and League Cup success, the congestion of the festive fixture list appears to have caught up with Michael Laudrup’s Swans in the form of a 1-0 defeat at West Ham.
A single Andy Carroll goal at the end of the game signalled the end of an impressive nine-game unbeaten streak in the league stretching back to mid-December. The game was relatively well contested by both sides, with Swansea’s slick-passing, European-style football only rising to the surface every once in a while. The Jacks’ attacking formation of Michu, Pablo Hernandez and Jonathan de Guzman consistently failing to team up in order to penetrate the West Ham defence.
Ki Seung-Yeung, who normally acts as a pacey and physical playmaker for the Swans, switching sides and playing long passing balls down the wing, failed to turn up on the day and gave a largely muted performance as a result.
Swansea’s next two top-flight fixtures will provide Laudrup’s men with a good chance of bouncing back into form with minimal risk, they welcome Queens Park Rangers to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday before travelling to Liverpool the week after.
Laudrup will be eager to put Saturday’s defeat down to an away hiccup rather than an insight of what’s to come for the Swans. The Welsh club’s League Cup final clash with Bradford City of League Two at Wembley takes place at the end of the month, and although the game may look easy on paper, the Jacks must prepare and train equally as hard in order to guarantee some silverware for the Liberty Stadium outfit.
Putting the West Ham defeat aside however, Swansea are flying high in the Premier League at the moment, with relegation looking almost mathematically impossible and the reality of a Europa League spot if results continue looking increasingly likely.
The only forseeable issue that could crop up to spoil the day for the Swans appears to be injuries. Laudrup made a minimal amount of trading during the January transfer window and now that striker Danny Graham has made a move to Sunderland, things could get pretty desperate if a series of injuries crop up in the Swansea midfield and attack.
Michu may be an outstanding player when fit, but if an injury was to take him out of action then the Welsh club would have to completely rely on the offensive talents of Jonathan De Guzman and the relatively unproven offering of Israel international Itay Shechter.
If injuries can be dealt with in an efficient yet speedy manner, then the final few months of the season could potentially be record breaking for the Swans, with a Wembley cup final already on the cards and the potential for Europa League action if positive results continue.
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