Opposition view: Swansea City

By Ric Turner, Sat 30 November 2013 16:40

Opposition view: Swansea CityJules from swansfc.com gives us the lowdown on Sunday's vistors to The Etihad

What are your expectations for this season?

For me and many other Swansea fans it is still Premier League survival. However, during the Summer there was a real buzz around the Liberty Stadium as the Swans continued to strength the squad, kept hold of players such as Michu and Ashley Williams and of course we broke our transfer record on Wilfried Bony who had been prolific in Holland. However, that optimism has slowly faded as the results have been mixed. Yes the fixture schedule has been a little hectic but I don't believe many fans are suggesting that this indifference in form is caused by the Europa League competition. 17th or above in the Premier League this season would be sufficient!

Are you happy with the manager?

Personally no! I really don't believe there is a harmony throughout the squad with rumours of a split between the players i.e. Spanish and non-Spanish. There have also been questions surrounding his training methods and tactics during his tenure as the Swansea Manager. I believe the team has struggled since winning the Capital One Cup in February and the form as been mixed since then. Maybe the odd win and good result is masking underlying issues. Who knows, but like former Manager Paulo Sousa, stories may break in the media when he leaves which I expect will be next Summer.

Who are your key players?

Michu is the player on everyone's lips. Currently injured, it is clear to see we are missing his attacking midfield prowess and goals. Whether he stays at the club past next Summer remains to be seen although I believe he is very happy at the club. Pablo Hernandez, who I believe Man City were looking at several years ago is a player with a lot of promise. He returned from injury this week and he really needs a good long run in the first team to demonstrate his potential. Finally both Chico and Ashley Williams have formed a great partnership in the centre of defence and certainly helped the Swans to over achieve last season. Whether either or both players will stay after this season remains to be seen

Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?

Yes although you always want more. For me Laudrup's best signings during the Summer transfer window were Amat (Defender) and Pozuelo (Midfielder). Both have shown a lot of promise and if the Swans can hold on to them we may have some stars in the making. However, January will be a key time for the club. The Chairman has already stated he won't be breaking the transfer record again anytime soon, but with Bony injured for at least a month, I suspect the Swans will target a striker in January, probably a loan move.

Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?

As I metioned above Jordi Amat and Pozuelo have the potential to become very good players. Amat is a current Spanish Under 21 International. Closer to home we signed Rory Donnelly when Brendan Rodgers was the manager and he has proved to be a very potent striker for the Under 21s. Also Daniel Alfei another youngster is someone who is well thought of in the Swansea and Wales set up.

Your Achilles heel?

Width, or lack of it. Laudrup, like Mourinho has gone for a very European flavour to the game plan this season which means the two 'wingers' are now much deeper and play alot narrow. On some occasions like a central midfield player. The Swans benefited from fluid football, passing the ball wide and stretching the opposition defence which would create opportunities for the central midfielder and striker. This is not the case this season, and the Swans are getting caught a lot more in possession in the centre of the park.

If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?

Silva or Negredo. Silva's style of play and passing ability would fit very comfortably with the Swansea passing game plan. Negredo has a great presence on the pitch and his positioning in the box together with his striking ability would solve Swansea's need to score more goals.

What is your perception of City as a club?

A club with great history, great support and some unbelievable players. But as an outsider looking in, more recent success has been bought and I guess a nagging doubt for other (jealous) supporters is what if the owners were to become 'bored' and withdraw their financial support? However, I am aware of the long term project the owners are looking to achieve with the Academy and in the community, and I really hope makes a difference. It would be great to see Man City have an academy regularly producing International players.

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

Vorm, Tiendialli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Canas, De Guzman, Dyer, Routledge, Shelvey, Vazquez

Score 1-1 (although with Man City's recent form at the Etihad, anything could happen!)