And Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

Thursday, 28 February 2008, 22:41
3 mins read

Before I go on let me just remind you of something that I think is important

  • Swansea City are currently 1st in their division with 70 points – more points than any other team in the football league
  • Their nearest challengers lie 12 points behind them, the team in third place is a further 2 points behind them
  • Swansea City are unbeaten in 17 league games – just two short of equalling a club record
  • Swansea City have not been beaten away from home in the league since September 22.
  • Of the 17 games unbeaten, Swansea City have won fourteen of them
  • Only four sides have beaten Swansea City in the league this season
  • Swansea City have scored more goals than any other team in league one.
  • Swansea City have the best goal difference by some margin in the division

So that kills the myth that the Swans are a bad side.   Although in fairness that was not something that former player Leighton James actually accused them of but you would be entitled to wonder what is going on when he claims he has a “big concern”  So what is that concern?   Well, to start with we lost to Havant and Waterlooville in the FA Cup.   And then we lost to MK Dons in the Paint Pot Trophy – on penalties having beaten the league two leaders on their own patch.   Both those cup defeats were disappointing in the fact that it denied supporters a day at Anfield and Wembley and granted it also cost the club the financial rewards that trips like that bring.   But they were just cup games.   Leighton says “Swansea are not the most physically dominant side and seem to find it hard to cope when teams get amongst them”   Which of course is a fair comment when you consider the footballing feasts that we have witnessed from our opposition all season.  You know the Brazil-esque passing, the neat one touch football displayed by such cultured footballing sides as Bournemouth, Crewe and Port Vale.

Leighton goes on to highlight a league defeat at Leeds where we were out-muscled but he fails to make any mention of the fact that we beat Leeds at the Liberty in December.   We have also been involved in physical battles against other sides this season – surely even Leighton can realise that we are one of the few sides in the division to play football – and most definitely it is a minority, the majority like to play physical.  And the majority of sides also come to the Liberty to try and put us off our game.   Ten sides in a row have tried – ten sides in a row have failed.

So why did we lose the cup games that are such a big concern to the former Welsh international?   We lost to Havant because they scored more goals than us.   Sarcasm aside we lost to them because we failed miserably to put away enough of the umpteen chances that we had at the Liberty.  We had more chances than them at their place.   We conceded a couple of soft goals and hit the woodwork too many times.   Were we out muscled?   Probably at times yes.  Should we have won?  Yes we should – we just didn’t take chances when it mattered.   And the same could be argued for the MK Dons game.  Three blatant one on one chances in the first 45 minutes could have killed the game off – we missed out there.   Possibly over the two legs we may have ended as second best and maybe deservedly so but they are League Two leaders for a reason and sometimes in the cup the lower ranked team wins.   Remember Sheffield United last year?   Look what happened to them.

The problem as I see it is that Leighton has nothing to say so he may as well be controversial.   He says we don’t score enough from free kicks and corners.   Potentially he is right but how many teams have scored more goals than us this season?   We only have two or three players that can head a ball he adds, Darren Pratley was poor before Christmas he tells us.   He continues to say that we need to be strong but then adds that strength isn’t as important as you climb the league ladders.   Maybe slightly contradictory there don’t you think Leighton?

I really don’t see the need to pick holes when this season has been absolutely superb and people are enjoying the football after years of dross being served up at times.  What do we get in next week’s column, Andy Robinson grows his stubble at all the wrong angles, Alan Tate should search for a new hairdresser, Dennis Lawrence is just too tall.

Leighton, we’re top of the league, sit back, enjoy it and think just why Roberto Martinez is taking us to somewhere we haven’t been for 25 years and you are writing in a local newspaper.   And that’s from someone who enjoyed watching you play.

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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