Welsh club Swansea City have one big piece of silverware in their sights for the season, when they take on League Two side Bradford in the final of the League Cup in February 2013. The Swans knocked out Liverpool and Chelsea along the way to Wembley, for what is their first ever major final in English football. After impressing so many people on their first season in the English Premier League in 2011/12, with then manager Brendan Rodgers’ superb passing and movement style giving rise to the label of the Welsh Brazil, even when Rodgers departed for Liverpool, Swansea have still maintained their football ethic. As good as their 11th place finish in the 2011/12 Premier League table was, they could be in for bigger things if they continue their fine form to the end of the season.
The run to the final of the League Cup has justified the style that Swansea have. But even though they are known for their passing flair, there has been a grittier resilience about them in the top flight. It may have taken new manager Michael Laudrup a month or two to get to grips with things, but he has added the enhancement of defensive strength to the squad. After 26 matches played in the Premier League, Swansea could well be eyeing up a place in Europe. Victory in the final of the League Cup would guarantee a place in the 2013/14 Europa League anyway, but with the Swans firmly cementing their place as a top ten side in the top flight this season, a top six finish many not be out of the question. Although they are one of the outside shots in the market, it does mean that they are value.
With the big guns of Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal likely to occupy the top five spots, it leaves Swansea in a four-horse race with Everton, West Brom and Liverpool in an attempt to grab that sixth spot. Only the top five get in Europe of course, unless one of the top five also win domestic or European silverware. The form of Swansea over the season suggests that they could be there or thereabouts at the end of the season in the top six. It would be a massive step forward for them if that was achieved and bookies are split on their chances, ranging from 25/1 in to as short as 10/1. One of the stars for Swansea City this season has been Spanish striker Michu.
The bargain purchase has set the Premier League alight this season with his clinical finishing. While Michu would have the power of Man United’s Robin van persie and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez to battle against in the race to finish as Premier League top scorer, after twenty six matches played on the season, Michu was sitting third behind only the two aforementioned strikers. A hattrick in a match would put him well in the hunt and it would shake things up immensely in the market. Despite all his efforts this season, the Swansea man will still be a long shot over the remaining dozen games or so of the season, as he tries to break the dominance of Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez. But the success of Swansea this season has been on his shoulders all season and he has delivered.