No points but a lot to be learned from Norwich defeat

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The football season is barely a fortnight old, yet last season’s problems are surfacing their ugly heads. 

For all our domination, the Swans lay on the wrong side of the result. Déjà vu? The control of possession and the better of the chances are all but talking points for the players as they endured the lengthy homeward trip on their new £350,000 luxury coach. 

It would be unfair at this stage to say we can expect to read this opening line all season, but maybe last week’s optimism after the goal rush was too hasty. 

Saturday's match at Norwich saw delight turn to devastation within the space of a minute when David Cotterill could not convert a spot-kick. John Ruddy saved the penalty, but should the keeper have still been on the field after his foul on Scott Sinclair? 

And just 60 seconds after the penalty miss, the home side took the lead. The miserable weather matched my mood as the most stinging salt was rubbed into an open wound when an undeserved second was added moments later. 

On a more positive note, Brendan Rodger’s home League and Cup debuts suggest a more free-flowing, attack-minded campaign for the Swans. 

Similarly to last season, a new manager oversaw a comfortable 3-0 League Cup victory over lower division opposition - this after succumbing to a Nigel Pearson Hull team in our first league game. 

The respectably-sized crowd for Barnet were well entertained and the Swans must be congratulated for offering £1 concession tickets. Similar offers throughout the season will be welcome, and is why Swansea has the “Family Excellence” award. 

Both home games also served to remind Swans fans that, for all the importance of retaining the services of both Darren Pratley and Ashley Williams, while Dorus de Vries could again prove to be one of the most valuable players this season. 

Pratley is still so crucial to the team, and his goal celebration of showing his shirt to half the West Stand shifted my “Will-he-won’t-he-Stay” Barometer from “cautious optimism” to “pretty confident”, but reports later on in the week about stalling contract negotiations brought fresh doubts. 

The Holy Trinity of Pratley-Bodde-Britton is no longer applicable, but Joe Allen and Andrea Orlandi are not bad replacements! 

The most positive aspect has been the wing play. Swansea must surely have one of the best selections of wide men in the Championship. 

Nathan Dyer and Sinclair will create all sorts of problems and there is little doubt that there will be a much greater goal contribution from the flanks. 

Equally, Cedric Van der Gun was very spritely against Barnet and his partner in crime, Kerry Morgan, gave an energetic, skilful performance. 

Together with Allen and Joe Walsh, three Swansea youth team graduates were on display against Barnet and they did not look out of place. 

Morgan looks to have gained from his time on loan at Newport last season and his return to the lower leagues this campaign will aid his development further. 

On the topic of Sinclair, he is another ambiguous “record” buy, whose fee could be £500,000 or a million plus, depending on add-ons! His potential is undoubted, as his debut against Preston confirmed.  

Seven goals in two games is more than acceptable for Rodgers. His relaxed approach to training seems to agree with the players more than the previous regime, and let’s just hope we can pick up where we left off against Burnley on Saturday (ignoring the last ten minute daylight robbery Norwich performed). 

*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association. 

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