Swashbuckling Swansea City targeting record points and future progress
Swansea City, 25/1 with Coral for a top six finish, have been quietly going about their business this campaign, in a manner befitting of a club that does not take top tier status for granted.
The silky style and focus on intricate passing, instilled by former coaches Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup, is still evident, yet the Swans have added steel this season.
After a recent triumph over relegation battlers Burnley, Swans boss Gary Monk said “It was a different type of performance, but I talked about being adaptable as a team – you have to be like that.
“We’ve shown that many times this season. We’ve played good football and won games, but also been able to do the basics and scrap out and grind out wins.”
Swansea and their fans are certainly keen not to get complacent and their coach’s approach often reflects that.
From almost going bust, to climbing their way surely but steadily back in to contention for glamour and glory in the Premier League, the Swans’ remarkable, yet modest, story was brought to the big screen in 2014.
The timing could not have been better, as Monk’s men sat joint-top of the league table and, although a top four spot seems a long shot over the next few seasons, Swansea’s stability could certainly see them compete for cups.
Having now achieved their target of 40 points for this campaign, a haul that should theoretically (and almost always in fact) see them safe from relegation, the Welsh club can aim to make club history.
Talking recently, Monk stated: “[A total of] 40 points was the target for us to try and get there as soon as we could.
“We’ve managed to do that now and I talked about if we could get to that with games left to spare that 47 points is the best we’ve ever got in the Premier League.
“It’s important for myself, the players and the club itself that we show progression each year,” said the former Swans skipper.
The Swans could do worse than look to mirror rivals Southampton’s model of business. Although the Liberty Stadium side do not have the same infrastructure and finances, improving their academy should surely be an ambition for the future.
While the Saints may not be reaping the benefits of many of their academy graduates, they have made incredible profits on several of their homegrown stars, and built a brilliant reputation in the process.
Providing their own players then, is perhaps a more realistic aim for Swansea and a way for the club to continue developing.
As for the present, skipper and centre back Ashley Williams, plus midfielders Ki Sung-Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson provide the Swans with a solid midtable spine occasionally capable of the sensational.
Losing striker Wilfried Bony to Manchester City was certainly a blow to morale and Monk’s side must be careful not to become just a selling club. However, despite losing their biggest forward threat, the Swans could be set for their most successful top flight season yet.
A Premier League double over Manchester United, who they are just 10 points behind in the league, and a surprise scalping of the Saints shows this current crop of Swansea stars has an abundance of potential.