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 →
Joe Bookbinder brings us a Hypothetical XI comprised of Premier League Spaniards…
There is nothing new in the fact that this generation of Spanish footballers represents a decent bunch of players. In fact, some may go as far as to argue they are a “Golden generation”. Best in Europe? Yes. Best in the World? Probably. The general rule, tried, tested and accepted is that if you do not play for Barcelona or Real Madrid you have very little chance of representing your country. If you play outside of Spain altogether your chances are further diminished.
So spare a thought for the just-above-average motley crew of Spanish players who lighten up the Premier League every weekend. Playing the in vogue 4-2-3-1 this team would a force to be reckoned with come every other June/July. Continue reading →
In the wake of Swansea’s glorious League Cup triumph, The False Nine editor James Dutton explores the state of the Welsh game…
As the dust settles on Swansea’s emphatic Capital One Cup victory over the unlikely opposition of Bradford City, Blue Square Conference leaders Wrexham are due to travel to Wembley next month for the FA Trophy Final. Cardiff City sit eight points clear at the summit of the Championship with a game in hand, whilst Newport County sit just two points behind their North Walian countrymen, also with a game in hand.
Swansea’s meteoric rise from the basement of the Football League pyramid in 2004 to the heady heights of the Premier League, and now League Cup winners just nine years later, is an astounding tale. Next year the Swans will be playing European football; a chance for Welsh football to showcase its burgeoning ascension on the continent. Continue reading →
The False Nine talks to Maxi Rodriguez from the excellent Futbol Intellectabout his highlights from 2012…
The wonderful thing about soccer (football) and sport in general, is that despite the decades of history, and the way in which every event is somehow linked to a larger contextual background, is that there are still moments which are so unexpected and unique that you don’t quite know how to respond to them, other than with a sort of mindless jubilation. Continue reading →