Thursday, 31 July 2014

Ash claims Bony is "better than ever"

Swansea skipper made comment in public plea for Wilf to commit to another season in SA1


You have to love this. Just in case Wilfried Bony was unaware how importantly he's viewed in Swansea, our club captain has given a nice interview where the players' feelings on the matter have been made perfectly clear - they want him here:
"It is very important he stays because he is a very good player, he has come back very focused, the best we have seen him. He is sharp in training and it would be a big boost to keep him. It would be bigger than getting a new signing - when you bring a new person in you are not sure how it is going to go. I don't make any decisions at the club, but as players we want him to stay and we have told him that.

"We have lost players every summer, that is the nature of it football and you have to move on when things happen. I don't know what will happen but we want him to stay and he knows we feel that way. He is very popular here.

"He looks sharp and he is so hungry, he wants to score every day and win every game. I am sure that will serve him well. Ash Williams

Bony better than ever? Scary stuff for opposition defences. I get the distinct impression that The Monk may have asked Ash to speak to the press about Wilf, in order to make a bit of a power-play for Wilf to stay. It does now look fairly likely he'll be here come the start of the season, but anything we can do to enhance that possibility is time well spent, in my book.

Ash went on to talk about Bafetimbi Gomis, and how he's settling into the squad:

"It is massive thing for Bafi - we are all pleased for him and it must be great for him to see the back of the net move. He has come in and done well. He is a nice guy and he has learnt English to a good level really quickly. He did not speak any English when he joined and he cost me a fortune on my internet bill translating everything in America, but he is working hard, there is more to be done which he knows and he is doing specific work to get up to speed.

"He is not the same as Wilf, but I am not sure we'll see anything like Bony again, he is such a phenomenal athlete. Bafi has come in and you can see his quality. I have not come up against him much but he is physical too, he has a good first touch, he can roll you and his finishing has been very good. If you give him half a yard he scores.

"He needs to get a bit sharper and get up to speed with the English game. I was speaking to Bony and he says it is a bit different, which is fair, but he has time before the first game to get to the level

"If they can get firing together it is something we can really look forward to. Opposing defenders will definitely pick up some bumps and bruises. If you look at the team sheet before a game and they are on it you will not be looking forward to it." Ash Williams

Hard to disagree with that really - if we can get both our powerhouse strikers firing we'll be a serious, serious force to reckon with. It's also more confirmation that we're looking to play with two strikers at times this season, and I await with eagerness the first lineup of the season. Do we dare go with two strikers at Old Trafford? Monk changed it up bravely at the Emirates by debuting the diamond midfield - I wouldn't bet against him doing it again, especially with Van Gaal seemingly set to play three at the back.

Until then we've got a few more friendlies to get out of the way, and I'm sure we'll see a bit more coming and coming in the near future in terms of the makeup of the squad. Everyone can be agreed on one thing though - we want Wilf in SA1.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Why Swansea City will finish eighth this season

Are the Swans set to be the best of the rest in 2014/15?

The Swansea Way's London correspondent Andrew McGlashan returns to explain why, in his opinion, the Swans could be in line for a very fine season indeed

It’s been a fairly lively summer so far down at SA1 with the club saying goodbye to some big players, welcoming back an old fan favourite, signing some exciting new talent (including new floodlights) and keeping hold of our influential captain. I think it is reasonable to say Garry Monk and the Board must be given at least an A- grade for their summer activity thus far, and I am presuming that the remaining “to do list” would currently look something like this:
  1. Sign up Ki to a new contract
  2. Get De Guzman back in a Swans shirt
  3. Bring in another full back
  4. Do whatever it takes to stop that beast of an Ivorian from leaving!
Should all of the above be ticked off the list, I for one would be a very happy Jack come August 16th when we rock up to the gates of Old Trafford. This then leads me to ask the question, how good can Swansea be this season? Well I’m going to stick my neck out and say we are going to have a belter.

Last year we managed to finish in 12th swapping managers half way through the season. With just the league and domestic cups to focus on, together with a manager who would give his life for this club, can the Swans top the previous three seasons so far in the Premier League?

Well let’s start by looking at the top of the table. Any realistic football fan would say that the top seven in the Premier League picks itself. Although the order of these top seven can’t be predicted, it is fair to say that last year’s top seven will be the same again. So that leaves the “best of the rest” from the remaining 13 teams. 

Southampton, Newcastle, Stoke and Palace all finished above us last term, but I don't think any of these teams have strengthened like we have. The unprecedented mass exodus at Southampton, the likes of which have only been seen when David Moyes tried to join in the United lads’ big night out, means that I can’t see them finishing above us. Newcastle had an absolutely dreadful end to the season last year and although they do have some class in their squad, all is not well up North with Pardew and Ashley at the helm. Looking at our current squads, I think finishing ahead of the Geordie’s is very do-able. 

Palace had an incredible finish to the end of last season and Tony Pulis worked his magic once again. However, Palace only scored 33 goals last year, compared to our 54, and we have added firepower by signing Siggy and Gomis. Palace are yet to do the same and will struggle again for goals so, for this reason, I see Palace finishing below us. And Stoke? Well I must say I don’t have much time for Stoke, especially after their last minute penalty last year. I’m convinced we’ll finish ahead of those rugby lads.

Looking at the teams who finished below us, I cannot see that West Ham, Sunderland, Villa, Hull or WBA have strengthened enough to make me feel that we cannot finish above them. In fact, I would expect all of these teams to be in and around the relegation zone again as only 4 points separated them last year.

Finally, we come to the newly promoted teams. No disrespect to Burnley or Leicester but I just cannot see them finishing above us. I like their managers but they will do well just to finish 17th. QPR I think will stay up but again I can’t see them finishing in the top 10. I can see ‘Arry leading them to a 15th place finish or so.

Now admittedly you may not be convinced by my whistle-stop tour of the teams in and around us and
to be honest I don’t blame you! However, I will leave you with this final point. Every one of the bottom 12 teams last year had a negative goal difference, the best being Newcastle at -7. Except us. Our goal difference was zero and suggests we were unlucky to only finish on 42 points - Southampton finished with a goal difference of +8 but they are very unlikely to repeat that again given their summer antics.

In light of the added firepower and creativity we’ve added this summer, I think the Swans finishing eighth and taking the "best of the rest" crown is a more than fair argument to make. Bring on 16th August!

Thanks to Andrew for this latest piece - you can follow him on Twitter @AJMcGlashan

VIDEO: New signing Jeff scoring an incredible hat-trick in Liga MX Final!

...and he still ends up on the losing side

This video was brought to my attention by a mate, and it's changed my opinion on Jeff somewhat. I had him down as a stick-to-the-line winger , but it appears there's more to him than that. A lot more.

This video is from the Liga MX Final - check out Jeff's goals! He scores first, and all three of his his former teams' goals, as his side Morelia go down 4-3 to Toluca. Some game!

If he plays like that for the Swans, I'm sure there'll be plenty of "Jeff" shirts flying out of the club shop in no time at all. Bienvenido Jeff! Bueno suerte!