Swansea kick-off their Premier League campaign with a tough home clash with champions Manchester United later this evening.
The Swans then visit West Brom, before a home clash with Liverpool then a trip to Tottenham. Not exactly an easy start to the season for Michael Laudrup’s men.
The expectations at Swansea are now extremely high after they claimed the Capital One Cup last season.
It was no doubt the biggest achievement in the clubs recent history. However, their season tailed off towards the end of the campaign, probably because of the distraction of winning their first ever silverware in English football.
The fixture computer has given the Swans a very tough start to the new campaign, but it is a chance for Michael Laudrup’s side to prove that they have what it takes to challenge higher up the table. There are not many tougher fixtures to start the campaign with than a game against the champions.
The Swans home record has been strong for the last couple of seasons and it has won the side many points in the last few seasons. They definitely will not make it easy for the champions this evening.
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup is highly-rated and after Swansea’s Capital One Cup victory the Dane’s managerial stock rose. The former-Getafe boss was linked with the vacant hot seats at French giants PSG and Premier League rivals Everton.
However, Laudrup stayed loyal to the Welsh side and will be looking for his club to push on. What happens this season will determine where the Dane’s future lies; as if Swansea enjoys a good season then Laudrup could consider his options at the end of the campaign.
Laudrup’s a very shrewd operator when it comes to scouting and bringing in players to the clubs he manages. At Swansea the Dane has pulled-off some superb signings. One of the signings of last season was Spaniard Michu, who Laudrup signed for just £2million from Rayo Vallecano.
The likes of Jonathan de Guzman and Chico Flores were also very good signings. Laudrup looks to have done it again this summer bringing in highly-rated striker Wilfried Bony in from Vitesse Arnhem. The Ivorian forward was one of the most lethal finishers in Europe, as he plundered 31 goals in just 30 appearances.
Bony had been linked with a host of top-flight clubs prior to his move to the Swans. It was something of a coup for the Swans to sign Bony. The 24-year-old striker will score goals and could form a lethal partnership with Michu this season.
The other signings are younger players, but the likes of Jordi Amat and Jonjo Shelvey are full of potential. Shelvey has threatened to become a star for the last few years at Liverpool. However, he never quite convinced at Anfield.
The England under-21 international will be determined to prove his ability in Wales though and could prove to be another inspired signing by Laudrup.
Amat is another highly-rated youngster, who arrived from Espanyol for a fee in the region of £2.6million. Amat is a Spanish under-21 international and regarded as a player with a bright future in the game.
Fellow Spaniards Jose Canas and Alejandro Pozuelo are slightly unknown quantity’s to most English football fans. With Laudrup’s track-record of the Spanish transfer market they could be yet more talented players from the Spanish top-flight.
Swansea have not been in Europe in over 20 years, until this season. The Swans hammered Swedish side Malmo 4-0 in the Europa League third qualifying round first leg and drew 0-0 in the second leg. The Swans will face Romanian side Petrolul Ploiesti in the Europa League play-off round.
Swansea look good to qualify for the group stages of the competition and their style of play is tailor made for European competition.
Swansea are very capable of making it into the top six this season. The addition of Bony, allied with Michu playing in the hole behind could be a partnership that could be a fantastic combination in attack.
Swansea could be the surprise package of this season and I would not rule the Swans out of claiming a European place through the league this season.
Where will Swansea finish in the Premier League this season?