After a year of underachievement, James Dutton wonders where Michael Laudrup’s Swansea are heading…
A year is a long time in football, so the adage goes. It’s a year ago today that Swansea held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium, Eden Hazard kicked a ball-boy and Michael Laudrup led the Welsh club into their first major final.
It was the high-point of Laudrup’s 18 months thus far on the South Welsh coast, culminating in the 5-0 spanking of League 2 Bradford. They won only twice more in the Premier League that season, and have tasted victory only five times in the league this season. Some have called it a sideways step, but the figures paint a picture of regression.
The Swans currently sit 15th in the table, equidistant from both the relegation places and mid-table, but the gap is a mere three points. The season so far has been a tale of slow decline, where they have nestled between 9th and 13th for the majority of it, but now, winless since the beginning of December, they have been sucked into the middle of a relegation battle that is eating up the bottom half of the table.
In the timeframe since their last victory, a 2-1 win at Fulham, media attention has focused on various “crises” at West Ham United and Manchester United. Swansea’s own plight has slipped under the radar, their FA Cup win at Old Trafford brought plenty of plaudits and obscured the reality. Continue reading