Despite many pundits using the infamous phrase ‘second-season syndrome’, and despite losing manager Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool, Swansea have had an excellent season. Top half of the league coupled with a win in the Capital One Cup, Michael Laudrup has maintained the upward progress at the Welsh club, with the help of key players Michu, Ashley Williams, and Jonathan de Guzman.
Few will disagree when I say that the standout performer has been Michu, a summer acquisition from Celta Vigo for just £2m, who has netted 21 goals in all competitions this term. The highlight (for me at least) was his two late solo goals away at the Emirates in a 2-0 win which he took beautifully, and he demonstrated his prowess in the air with a delightful header at home to Tottenham.
Welsh central defender Williams has been a stalwart for the Swans this season, virtually ever-present and displaying passion and heart on the pitch every single time. He showed his true ability at the Liberty Stadium against Manchester United, thwarting the Red Devils’ attacks, although he did nearly kill Robin Van Persie! He is the definition of the phrase ‘fan favourite’.
Creative midfielder Jonathan De Guzman has been a revelation in Wales since he joined on a season-long loan from Spanish side Villarreal. He has patrolled and controlled the Swansea midfield all year and has scored an impressive 8 goals in all competitions. Linking up with Leon Britton and Michu competently, he has had a good first season in English football.
So, despite being tipped for an unceremonious crashing, the honeymoon period has continued for Swansea. New manager Laudrup has had a great first season in English football – with a trophy to boot – and he has been greatly helped by star performers Michu, Williams and De Guzman.