Compared to last season, it is a definite fall from grace for Swansea's white-shirted men.

It's a puzzle for Michael Laudrup, who has seen his team replicate his brand of attractive, possession style football again this season which saw his team from South-Wales pushing the top sides all the way for European football last campaign.

Last season also saw them get the beating of Chelsea to set up a League Cup final tie against Bradford at this stage in the 2012/13 season, which, of course, they went on to win.

But besides escaping the group stages of the Europa League and recording a good win against Manchester United in the FA Cup thirdrd Round this season, they are currently just four points above the relegation zone.

The Swans have as of yet been unable to put any decent form together they were knocked out of their defence of the League Cup in the third round by Birmingham.

Why has this all happened, despite their strengthening in the transfer window and continuing style of excellent football?

Having qualified for European football last season by virtue of winning the League Cup, they are now playing many more games this season as they did last, which has stretched the squad. Tiredness, and distraction, therefore could be a factor.

But tiredness alone can hardly account for a modern, Premier League side with a decent sized squad winning only five games from 21 matches this season.

Equally, Newcastle are playing just as many games as the Swans this season but are enjoying a very good league campaign. Perhaps it is that Swansea's league woes this season have more to do with their fixture list, performances against the bigger teams, and a sudden dip in their ability to convert the many chances they create into goals.

This season, Swansea started off their campaign with matches against Manchester United and Spurs, two very tough games which they lost.

Last season, they opened up with successive wins against Queens Park Rangers and West Ham. Getting points on the board early always helps to settle nerves and the eight goals the Swans scored in those two games gave their strikers immense confidence - exampled best displayed by the 2012 goal-scoring antics of Michu.

Swansea have not put in the shifts against the big sides so far this campaign either. So far they have lost to Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Spurs, and twice to Manchester United and Manchester City, with their only positive result coming against Liverpool when they drew 2-2 at the Liberty Stadium.

By this time last season, Laudrup's men had beaten Arsenal at the Emirates, and secured draws with Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United, and lost only to Everton, Spurs, and Manchester City.

Finally, perhaps linked somewhat to all of the above, despite Swansea this season actually managing more of the ball on average (56 percent average possession per game this season compared with 54 percent last) and creating more total goal scoring chances (213 to 208), Swansea have scored five goals less than they had in the league at this stage last season (26 compared to 31).

A simple bit of maths tells us that last season Swansea's chance conversion rate last season (6.7 chances per goal) is significantly better this season's (8.2 chances per goal). Not an astronomical rise, but a rise nonetheless which must contribute to explain Swansea's rather blunt, up until this point, season.

Plenty to ponder for the Swans, who need to sharpen up in front of goal and prove once again that they can mix it with the Premier League's big boys if they are to turn around their current league form and progress in the cup.

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