Despite winning the Capital One Cup last season – Swansea City’s first major trophy in its history – Michael Laudrup has been sacked as manager.
The football displayed by Laudrup’s side last season was enthralling. They hammered Bradford City 5-0 at Wembley in the cup final, with Spanish striker Michu at the heart of it all.
So good were his performances last campaign that the Swans have struggled without him fit and firing this year, plummeting to 12th in the table, two precarious points above the relegation zone.
Despite injuries blighting his second season, he had still scored six times prior to the injury sustained in December’s game against Norwich.
Of Swansea’s current crop of players, only Wilfried Bony has emerged from the mediocrity to try and replace their talisman.
Chico Flores, Leon Britton and Nathan Dyer have all looked shadows of the players that shone for Laudrup last season and Brendan Rodgers the one before.
Besieged by fear and lack of confidence, the 2-0 defeat against ten-man West Ham was the tipping point. Despite boasting an extra man, they could not find a way past Sam Allardyce’s side.
The dependency on Michu has masked the bigger problem at Swansea City. The system, of intricate, possession-based football only works with the Spaniard in their starting 11.
Jonjo Shelvey has his moments, but he does not have the same footballing intelligence that Michu possesses.
He scored 22 goals in 43 games last season, and his partnership with Bony was meant to ignite a charge for a European place.
But for Laudrup, his injury has now cost him his job.
Swansea must now pray his return will save them from relegation.
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