English Premier League – Swansea City 2011 Preview
Becoming the first Welsh side to play in the Premiership, Swansea City joins the top flight having played in the old Football League First Division between 1981 and 1983, finishing sixth in their first season.
Now they will be fighting to prove that they are worthy of their spot in the top flight after a fairly successful season in the Championships last year. Once again they are playing in the company of greatness, but the question is: can they compete?
Odds to win the 2011-12 Premiership outright 5,000/1
The team, unfortunately, lost their top two players over the transfer season, including star goalkeeper Dorus de Vries. Vries was an instrumental part of their success last year only conceding 41 goals in 49 games, and never missed a game.
Another player that the club saw walk out the backdoor was striker Darren Pratley. Pratley was the team’s leader, and scored 12 goals in his 32 starts last season. It will be interesting to watch how the team tries to fill the void that Pratley left when he departed, because if they don’t find a leader for what is primarily a fairly young team, they could collapse before the season gets exciting.
Swansea is known for their great passing, and this year won’t be any different. There will be many that will say that they pass too much and never push the net, but this faired well for them last season earning them a spot in the Premiership, so I don’t see them backing away from it now.
One concern is the team’s net minding that looks to be in for a rough season.
The club failed to find an adequate replacement for de Vries, choosing to add Portuguese keeper Jose Moriera and Dutchman Michel Vorm, both of whom many consider mediocre replacements.
However, the side’s defense appears promising, but it is hard to gauge how they will fair against the some of the best strikers in the world.
Alan Tate leads the pack with Garry Monk and Ashley Williams filling out the trio. All three are promising and talented, but inexperienced, especially at this level.
The attacking squad is perhaps the most obvious hole on the roster. The group will depend greatly on forward Scott Sinclair to lead the way. Sinclair scored 22 goals and two assists in his 46 total games last year in the Championship League, and it wouldn’t be surprising if efforts to add to those numbers stalled in the Premier League. Nonetheless, he is expected to become the leader of the offense, and it will be interesting to see what happens.
This is a team I want to root for, but they aren’t likely to do any better than somewhere between the 15th and 17th spots. They have a lot of questions to answer up and down their roster, and their goalkeeping situation will likely hold them back all year.
Avoiding the drop at the end of the season would be a huge accomplishment for the Jacks.
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