Swansea Preview

willywonka

‘The English language is the wall that divides us, and ‘fuck’ is my chisel’

– Tommy Tiernan, 2008

Right then, Swansea City away. It’s going to be a short one as there’s Christmas stuff to do and this isn’t being written on the man’s dime. You know how it is.

First and foremost this one will be interesting simply because of the similarity in approaches both sides have in terms of their possession obsession. In fact, they both hog the ball so much that the coin toss could actually prove crucial.

‘Don’t sweat it, we’ll get it back at half time. Be patient, like they are abroad.’

Despite cutting a dash in the Europa League, the Swans haven’t been as impressive in the league as they were last season, with people already speculating that To Live And Die In LA-looking manager Michael Laudrup might fancy moving on already, with the job at Tottenham looking like it could be a snug fit. Being, well, Michael fucking Laudrup would certainly carry more weight with the massive mob of gum-chewing, big-headphone wearing snides at White Hart Lane than looking like a prefect and telling everyone that you used to carry the laptop for Jose Mourinho.

Broken-hearted-English-holidaymaker-consoler-in-chief Michu has been a bigger disappointment to Fantasy League smartarses than even Christian Benteke, and a look at some statistics that we can’t be bothered doing would tell us whether he has actually been injured loads or he has, to use a ludicrous term, ‘been found out’.

An even bigger let-down has been the rather ironically named Wilfred Bony. This big unit looks more like a 1990s heavyweight boxer than a 21st century football player. You know, the sort from a ‘troubled background’ with shorts pulled up to his neck who you still see on Mike Tyson knockout compilations staggering around with what the legendary boxing writer Bert Sugar called ‘bad spacker legs’ as Richard Steele or Mills Lane tries to intervene and stop his head getting punched out of his arse.

That’s exactly what Wilfred Bony looks like.

Obviously the most obvious connection between Swansea and Everton at the moment is Roberto Martinez who still gets credit for everything good that happens at the Liberty Stadium despite leaving the club in 2009.

It’s ace, he’s like the Foxy Bingo fox, striding through the streets of football spreading tiki-taka tremendousness everywhere he goes. And for that reason, the follow up to ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ should be this.

‘Hey, is it just me, or has this Chang actually started to taste a lot better this season?’

‘You know, funny you should say that…’

Feliz Navidad, to Toffees, Toffettes and various non-Evertonian heathens everywhere.

Swansea City And That

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Before the start of this season few people would have had this game down as an ‘eagerly anticipated clash’ but the way the ‘campaign’ – terrible word but it saves us saying season again – has unfolded for both clubs, this ‘encounter’ – same again – has an intriguing look about it.

The match at the Liberty Stadium encapsulated Everton’s season so far and, to a certain extent, this most unpredictable of Premier League seasons – we actually used it twice there but possibly got away with it. Everton absolutely murdered the home side for long stretches and eventually ran out 3-1 winners but that only tells part of the story: as well as squandering a ton of chances to make the scoreline even more emphatic they were caught on the break repeatedly and just before half-time Swansea might have actually levelled the scores and changed the outcome completely.

Michael Laudrup’s team are mustard on the break and they will certainly look to soak up Everton pressure on Saturday and then spring counter-attacks when the opportunity arises. The onus is on the Blues then to pin them back and keep them chasing the ball to the point where they start to get dispirited and doubt themselves when the time comes to try and commit men forward.

Their midweek win at Stamford Bridge showed just what they are all about and underlined once again how cool their star man Michu is when presented with a sight of goal. Both goals on Wednesday night were very similar, with Michu and then Danny Graham pouncing – yeah, that’s right, pouncing – on Branislav Ivanovich errors. When you are long-haired and slightly Christy-looking like Michu your finish gets noticed by everyone whereas if you are Graham and resemble one of the lads off the stacker trucks in the Wernham Hogg warehouse you barely get a mention. Such is life.

That result against Chelsea will have certainly given Swansea a boost then in terms of confidence but Goodison Park is one of the last places they would want to visit only three days later.

It will be Marouane Fellaini’s first home game back following his three match ban and if the newspapers are to be believed it could well be one of his last. Many of them are of the opinion that there’s a release clause in his contract somewhere north of £22 million and that Chelsea are prepared to activate it. That fee is the equivalent of 11 Michu’s – the Spaniard is has become a standard unit of measurement now, the transfer fee equivalent of London buses, full-sized football pitches and areas the size of Rafa’s shadow.

We’ve been through this whole Fellaini to leave thing countless times now so there’s really no point sweating it. It is worth pointing out though what a snidey development these provisions in contracts are though. Essentially, when you negotiate a new deal you insist that if you actually justify your pay rise then not only do you have the right to move elsewhere unopposed, but there should be a limit on how much money the club can make on the deal –therefore maximising the amount you can leverage in terms of a signing fee. That said, no one forces the clubs to agree to these terms in the first place so they only have themselves to blame when players and agents exploit them.

Wigan’s James McCarthy is said to be the player David Moyes sees as a replacement for Fellaini, even though their styles are not really alike. The young Republic of Ireland midfield rarely scores but he does look a good player though – big, quick and all action, sort of like a Jack Rodwell who doesn’t mind getting his kit muddy.