Following promotion to the Premier League via the Playoff Final, there are many reasons why Swansea City stand in good stead. They have a talented manager in Brendan Rodgers who can tap into his Chelsea contacts to bring quality players to the Liberty Stadium. They have geography on their side, with the trip to South Wales not to be taken lightly. They play like a continental team, keeping the ball with ease and frustrating opponents. But above all else, and why Swansea are arguably the best equipped of all the promoted sides, is that they have something that every team fears; pace.
The importance of pace cannot be underestimated. In Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer in particular, Swansea have pace to burn on the wings and this is important both offensively and defensively. The value of pace and quick feet was in evidence at Wembley last Bank Holiday Monday, as it earned the Swans two penalties and their other two goals both came from surging runs down the right wing. But pace also helps teams out defensively, as the likes of Dyer can help take pressure off the defence by running the ball out and keeping it for a period of time, often drawing a foul and allowing the defence to regroup.
Last season Sinclair proved he was worth every penny of the one million pounds that Swansea shelled out for him, and as long as his fitness hasn’t suffered too much, he’ll be one to watch at the U21 European Championships. While Dyer might not have weighed in with such a high number of goals, the fact that he was voted the Swansea Player of the Year ahead of Sinclair says everything about his importance to the team. With not a dissimilar amount of pace to a certain namesake in his peak, Kieron Dyer, Nathan will be tormenting plenty of left backs in the Premier League next season.
So, while Swansea enjoy healthy levels of possession every time they take to the pitch, although this will be lessened against tougher opposition, it is arguably on the break when they are at their most dangerous, as this is when they can use their greatest asset. As long as Sinclair can cope with the step up and Swansea make Fabio Borini’s move permanent or conversely purchase someone else to net a few goals, the Swans should have enough to beat the drop. Their defence might not be the strongest on paper, but when you keep the ball as long as they do, Ashley Williams and co don’t have to do as much work as you think they might have to.
Swansea are 11/8 to avoid relegation from the Premier League this season. So, why don’t you take a leaf out of Brendan Rodgers’ team and race down the bookies to place that bet?