It almost feels so very long ago that Swansea City were in a rut. September to October saw them winless, at best picking up a draw by sheer luck. A rebound win against their former boss Roberto Martinez and Wigan Athletic was followed with tough loss against defending Premier League champions Manchester City that was more known for both sides suffering unfortunate injuries. It could very well have been panic time right then and there, however a very fortunate draw against Chelsea and another against Southampton revealed a never say die attitude among manager Michael Laudrup’s men.
Swansea traveled to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle United a couple weeks ago. There the 2 million pound man Michu claimed yet another goal en route to a victory of 2 to 1. The following week saw the Swans back in the comforts of home as they hosted Liverpool and yes, the return of their former boss Brendan Rodgers. I expected it to be a chess match of the clashing Swanselona styles. A Pablo Hernandez free kick was just a smidge wide to what could have been a dagger of a match winner. In the end a scoreless draw was the result and any designs of sticking it to their former boss will have to come when the Swans travel to Anfield.
This past Wednesday took on the early-season surprise team, third-place West Bromwich Albion. It was in the first half of the match where Pablo Hernandez shined and won the general consensus for Man of the Match honors with his two assists on goals by Wayne Routledge and fellow Spaniard Michu. In the first half Hernandez also had a very definition of a nutmeg on a West Brom defender that if it translated into a goal or assist would’ve been on the season-end highlight reel. For Michu the goal was his 8th in the Premier League and 9th in all competitions.
If you haven’t heard by now there’s a growing chatter among football pundits that the acquisition of Michu could very well be the signing of the summer, if not season. The first half was universally lauded by Swans fans (a few of them I chatted with over in awe) as some of the best football they’ve seen so far this season, very much the epitome of their catchy nickname, “Swanselona.” Laudrup echoed those sentiments saying in his post-match interview, “The first half was one of the few times as a manager that you are just watching the game, it was delightful, it was fantastic.” In short, Swansea City did what Liverpool and Chelsea couldn’t when they met West Brom so far this season.
This weekend the Swans travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal who sit one point above them on the table. Unfortunately late in the West Brom match, Pablo Hernandez suffered a thigh injury though it has been announced that he should miss no more than 10 days; though given the multi-match week I more or less expected him to not get the start anyways. Still this weekend’s fixture should still feature a nice Spanish contingent as Swansea have Michu and defenders Chico Flores and Angel Rangel. While Arsenal have Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla. The task in front of Swansea’s Spanish defenders stopping the Gunners’ Spanish midfielder and forward. In return Arsenal are tasked with stopping the buzzsaw that is Michu. All of which should prove to be a compelling and entertaining match.
A victory at the Emirates could propel the Swans as high as up to 5th on the Premier League table as we get closer to the mid-season swing. And the prospects of the Swans flying high as they head into the mid-season swing thanks in large to these Spaniards have a lot of people thinking that there will be no sophomore slump at this nest.