Opposition view: Swansea City

By Ric Turner, Sun 29 December 2013 12:03

Opposition view: Swansea CitySteven from the Swansea Oh Swansea fanzine gives us the lowdown on our New Year's Day opponents

What are your expectations for this season?

As ever the first priority is 40 points to stay in the league but if that's all we achieve then I would be a bit disappointed given how well we've done in our first two seasons at this level. Given the fact that we've been in Europe then I don't expect to finish as high as previous campaigns but realistically I thought we'd finish about 13th this time around. In terms of Europe I thought we had a good chance of getting to the last 32 which we've achieved and it all depended on the draw from there. We were paired with Napoli a couple of weeks back so it's unlikely to think we'll progress from that tie but you never know.

Are you happy with the manager?

On the whole of course he's done a good job, top half finish and won us our first ever major trophy last term and we're going along steadily again this year. He has frustrated at times this season though I must be honest. He has rotated the team far too often for my liking which has caused inconsistency and we have yet to hit our best form. I understand it's because we've had a lot of extra games but after we've played you we should be back to one game a week until mid February so I'm hoping we will revert back to a settled side.

Who are your key players?

There's a few. Ashley Williams is key at centre half, he's our best defender and our leader. Leon Britton may not get the headlines of others but he's always one of the first names I look for on the team sheet, he just does the simple things so well, you may not always notice him but when he's not there he's a big loss, although his understudy Jose Canas has performed admirably when called upon. The other one is Michu, he's our main goal getter but fortunately for you he's injured and won't be able to play on New Year's Day.

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

I was originally but I'm not sure if any of them have really had the impact we were hoping for yet. Wilfried Bony was the big signing at £12 million but he hasn't been great yet but I do believe he will come good eventually. His understudy Alvaro Vazquez isn't an option though, he's useless and thank God he's only on loan!. Canas has done well as I alluded to earlier and Alejandro Pozuelo has looked good in patches but Michael Laudrup needs to play him behind a striker, not out side where he has little or no impact. Jordi Amat has looked reasonable at centre half whilst Jonjo Shelvey is capable of being brilliant or awful - you really don't know what you're going to get with him but he's still young and I think he'll improve the more he plays.

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

Not really I don't think. Ben Davies came through last year but he was the first one since Joe Allen made his debut in 2007. It's an area of the club that's been weak for a while but we are looking to address it.

Your Achilles heel?

Set pieces at both ends. We rarely score from them and often concede. It's been the case for God knows how long and part of it is to do with our lack of height. Our other big problem is if we concede the first goal as we've only won once under Laudrup after going behind. Needless to say if you score first on Wednesday I'd snap your hand off for a point!

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

Haha! Where do I start? I'd have to go for Sergio Aguero, I've been a big fan since his Athletico Madrid days and he's been outstanding for City since he joined. Our top scorer in the league this season is own goals so I'm sure his presence would rectify that stat pretty quickly. Yaya Toure would be a close second.

What is your perception of City as a club?

If I'm honest I'm not really a fan of clubs with owners who pump vast sums of money into their club. I always think football should be run in a way that you can only spend what you earn but you're not the only one's who do it. I do like the majority of City fans though, there tends to be a better atmosphere at your place than a lot of other Premier League grounds and I always remember the high gates you got when you dropped into what is now League 1 in the late nineties so I am pleased for those supporters who stuck by the club during those days who must now be loving the progress you've made in the past few seasons.

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

Hard to call the side as there will be changes again no doubt. I'll go with Tremmel, Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies, Britton, De Guzman, Pozuelo, Hernandez, Bony, Routledge.

As for the score I'll say 1-1. We've done well against you at our place and given that you've had a few defeats on the road I think we have a chance of getting something