Every season in the Premier League, there always seems to be a surprise candidate from mid-table that descends into the relegation dogfight.
This season, Swansea City seem to be that club which could find themselves playing in the Championship next season if they’re unable to arrest their alarming slide down the table.
It’s all a far cry from twelve months ago.
Following on from last season’s Capital One Cup exploits and with Michael Laudrup still at the helm, few would have expected the Swans to have been anything other than mid-table in their third season back in the top flight.
Fast forward to the present and with the popular Danish manager surprisingly sacked, the club find themselves nervously looking over their shoulders in their current place of 14th.
Just four points separate Swansea from the drop zone.
Despite this drastic change in fortunes, the Swans have hardly been discussed as potential candidates for relegation in the national media.
Obviously, a couple of victories would catapult the club back into the mid-table spot that many expected them to occupy.
But as the form book shows, victories have been very few and far between for Swansea for a while now.
Laudrup found himself removed from the hot-seat in February after a run of only one win in ten.
Replaced by former player Garry Monk, the managerial change has failed to inspire the desired turnaround.
Aside from a 3-0 success over bitter rivals Cardiff City in his opening fixture, Monk has been unable to record any other triumphs to date.
With only six victories in their last thirty in all competitions, the Swans have slid into a relegation dogfight that they look unlikely to break clear of anytime soon.
Whilst it may have gone under the radar in the national media, the gravity of the situation has been recognised in South Wales.
Monk hopes that the recent demoralising defeat at home to struggling West Brom will serves as a “wake up call” to those of his players which don’t recognise the Swans’ current plight.
In a six-point encounter, Youssouf Mulumbu’s late winner dragged Swansea firmly into the relegation dogfight and handed Pepe Mel his first victory in charge of the Baggies.
Speaking after the defeat, captain Ashley Williams has warned his team-mates that “it’s not true that we’re too good to go down.”
As Newcastle United fans will attest to last season, the Europa League can expose the limitations of a modest Premier League squad.
TheSwan’s European exploits may have excited the fans but it has undoubtedly taken its toll on the club’s domestic form.
Money was spent in the summer to bolster the squad and the likes of Wilfried Bony and Jonjo Shelvey have certainly benefited the club’s cause this season.
But an accumulation of fatigue and injuries in the squad as a result of these extra fixtures has proven detrimental to the club’s league form.
Swansea’s spirited exit in Naples may actually prove to be a blessing in their battle to beat the drop.
In the eyes of many of their fans, the return of their talisman Michu will hopefully prompt a revival in the club’s fortunes.
In his debut season in the Premier League last year, the signing from Rayo Vallecano notched an incredible eighteen goals to prompt talk of a big-money move from South Wales.
However, the Spaniard has failed to replicate a similar impact this campaign.
Even before the ankle injury which has kept him out of action since mid-December, Michu had only mustered two strikes in the league.
Bearing this in mind and the fact that he is just returning from a lengthy absence, Monk was right to cool the burden of expectations on his returning Spaniard.
Any side in the Premier League would struggle to fill such a goalscoring void, let alone a small mid-table squad.
The fans must pray that the Michu of last season returns sooner rather than later.
Despite all of this, Swansea are by no means the favourites for relegation.
But the form book doesn’t lie. The club’s slide down the league table is alarming and has shown no sign of abating under Monk.
Unless something changes very soon, Swansea could well find their three year stint in the top flight ended come May.