It’s funny how quickly your feelings can change in football.
One day you’re optimistic that your club will be heading for a great season. The next, you’re fearing the worst. That pretty much sums up Swansea City’s opening three games in the Premier League.
The Swans beat newly promoted Burnley in their first fixture of the 2016/17 campaign. A 1-0 away win at Turf Moor put a positive light on proceedings for the Swansea fans. It wasn’t a memorable game, but we got the job done in what was a pleasing season opener.
However, fast forward two weeks and we’ve seen a huge decline in performances.
A team written off by many before the start of the season, Hull City came down to the Liberty Stadium and stole all three points in what was a game of very little chances. The Tigers had a game-plan and executed it perfectly in fairness.
Swansea had no idea how to break down a resolute Hull side, with a worrying lack of creativity as well as an unconvincing 90 minutes for new striker Fernando Llorente. In the end, Mike Phelan’s team snatched two late goals as he outmanoeuvred Francesco Guidolin on the day.
And then the Swans travelled to the King Power Stadium on Saturday to face reigning champions, Leicester City. A game against the Foxes was always going to be a tough battle; however the quality just wasn’t there as the Welsh club succumbed to a 2-1 loss.
Okay, a 2-1 away loss to the champions doesn’t sound catastrophic, but Swansea were woeful for 80 minutes. Leicester, on a good day, could’ve won that match much more convincingly, with centre-backs Federico Fernandez and Jordi Amat looking extremely shaky at the back. Also, in what was an infuriating occurrence for the Swansea faithful, our two central midfielders were very poor.
Jack Cork is normally ever so reliable in midfield, but lost pretty much every second ball and 50/50. Then there’s Leroy Fer, whose positioning was a big concern. Fer was set out to play alongside Cork in the holding midfield position, although did not stick to that, and faded from that position many times in order to press forward and attack.
That left a huge gap in midfield where Leicester exploited the Swans – and like I said, if they were on top form, they could’ve easily put four or five past us.
With a cruel run of fixtures in September and October, it’s hard to see where we’re going to get some points from. Swansea face Chelsea, Southampton, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal after the international break, and realistically, I can’t see us getting more than three points from those five games. Perhaps we can nick something out of the Liverpool home match, or maybe a point away at Southampton – but even that’s being optimistic.
Hypothetically, this leaves the Swans with say six points going into the last week of October. That sounds worrying. By then, we’re firmly in the relegation battle, which is not what was expected at the start of the season. If Swansea don’t shape up, this will happen, and it’d be a huge shame as we have got a mid-table quality squad for sure. And we’ve got a good manager, despite recent troubles.
Looking on the plus side, new £15.5m record signing Borja Baston will be fit again after the international break and perhaps he can be the striker to bag the goals to gain us some crucial points in September and October.
Maybe after a week off for many of the team, they can sit back, rejuvenate and find the will to come back stronger and put things right.
Swansea certainly have the capability to finish in mid-table, but I for one am very worried at the moment.