Football

Swansea's first game signals positive ambition

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Last season brought Swansea a record points total in their fourth year of their residency in the Premier League. Plaudits were poured out on young, British manager Garry Monk and his team. It was a magnificent achievement for a club which was in League Two in 2005.

Still the question was left lingering in South Wales: what's next?

The ambition of the manager and chairman, Huw Jenkins, was clear. They both wanted a club that would head to the top. After the loss of Wilfried Bony to Manchester City, it was clear that more goals were needed to fill the void.

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After all, only Bafetimbi Gomis scored more goals than the Ivorian last season. The answer came in World Cup players, forward André Ayew, who scored twice in Brazil and joined on a free transfer from Marseille, and Portugese striker Éder, who came in from Braga. They were joined by long term target, full-back Franck Tabanou from St-Étienne and goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt from Heerenveen. 

The next step for Swansea would be to follow Southampton's progression and start qualifying for the Europa League. Ayew is a quality attacker with a proven track record for club and country, while Éder has a questionable goalscoring history, with only 62 goals in 233 career appearances.

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Perhaps it signals a change in Monk's style of play. While Gomis has more of a Bony style to him, with added strength and better ability in the air, Éder would be more of a hold up man, without the onus being on him to score. 

So, along came the opening day of the season and a visit to the champions, Chelsea. It was a perfect opportunity to test the team, and to be honest, it went really well. At times, they have been a sticky wicket (apologies) for bigger teams, doing the double over Manchester United and Arsenal.

Swansea went to Stamford Bridge and attacked them, looked to score goals, but also maintained a defensive shape when needed. The loss of midfielder Ki Seung-Yeung to injury was the biggest dampener on a day where Ayew, with his first goal in the English top-flight, and Gomis' penalty got them a point.

Some would argue that the Swans even deserved to win. What really caught the eye was the strength of their midfield. Jonjo Shelvey was key with his defensive work and passing ability, which may have helped him out, as he tried to test the Chelsea keepers at corners.

Man of the match, Jefferson Montero proved again that pace can really unsettle full backs, with his trickery running rings around even the accomplished Branislav Ivanovic.

What remains to be seen is how this team will do over the course of the season. The attack looks as if it could be very dangerous and their defence is astute.

Consistency will be key for Swansea this season, if they are even to maintain their position as one of the teams to watch this season. The test of being on point week in, week out will be intriguing to watch. I believe that they can finish as high as 8th in the table. If some are still not convinced about all the hype around the club from South Wales, there is no smoke without fire.

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Topics:
Football
Swansea City
Premier League

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