Swansea are serious shouts for top six despite 20/1 price
At the start of this season, some of Coral’s football experts had Swansea City down as potential strugglers following an exodus of star Spaniards from the Liberty Stadium.
There has been no slump in south Wales, however, and rookie coach Garry Monk has steered his side to two points off the top six with a couple of Premier League games left. At an outside price of 20/1 to finish among that upper echelon, we may still be underestimating them.
Monk’s men have done the double over Arsenal with French target man and summer signing Bafetimbi Gomis scoring decisive headers in both battles, while South Korea skipper Ki Sung-Yueng grabbed goals as they did the same to Manchester United.
Selling Wilfried Bony to Manchester City proved every Swans player has his price, and again we thought they would fall away, but five wins in seven has helped the club to its best-ever Premier League points tally and close in on a Europa League place.
Having played in that continental competition under Monk’s predecessor Michael Laudrup after claiming the Capital One Cup in 2013, the current Swansea boss has voiced wariness about another campaign of juggling this with domestic commitments.
“I am very mindful of the experience we had last season of being in there and how it affected us,” Monk said. “I don’t want to stop anything that could be exciting for the club or the players, but of course what comes with that is a lot of work in the summer.
“Outside of those bigger clubs, [the Europa League] does affect the league form. I am always pushing to win and finish as high as possible. If that takes us to somewhere else, so be it.”
“The most important bit – and it will always be the most important to us – is the league, especially with next season being such an important season because of the revenue at the end of that season with the TV money going up.”
In their remaining Premier League games, the Swans face Manchester City and former favourite Bony, whose new side are assured of Champions League football, before battling mid-table team Crystal Palace, unlikely to better their current position of 12th.
Contrast Swansea’s superb form of 16 points from a possible 21 with that of Tottenham (eight from the same on offer) and Southampton (averaging a point per game in their last seven), who are both stuttering towards the finish line, and that 20/1 price is looking much more appealing.
Seventh may be enough for a Europa League place, if Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup final following a UEFA rule change regarding spots in continental competitions for domestic trophy runners-up.
Ronald Koeman’s Saints are certainly catchable for the Swans after one win in six, while Spurs must face relegation-threatened Hull City next in a game that may mean more to Steve Bruce’s Tigers and their contingent of former White Hart Lane favourites.
Monk’s men can capitalise on their more lauded rivals’ downturns during the run-in, and getting Europa League action for next season would certainly help the Welsh club have some pulling power in a cut-throat transfer window with adding options in attack a clear priority.