Aug 10, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
Each day from now until the beginning of the Premier League season, we will preview two teams from England’s top flight. You can view them all here at PST Preview central. Don’t forget, the 2013-14 PL season begins on August 17th, and for the first-time ever you can watch every game live on NBC Sports.
Promoted to the Premier League as recently as two seasons ago, Swansea City have taken the middle of the league table by storm. Almost unheard of for newly promoted teams, Swansea have finished 11th and 9th in their first two seasons, and won the League Cup last season to mark their first major piece of silverware. Known for their recent raid of the Spanish Primera Division, Swansea were brought to the top flight by current Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, and despite the managerial change after just one season in the Premier League, the club has grown rapidly. They’ve managed to lure some quality transfer targets, and things appear to be on the rise for a club that was in the lowest tier of English soccer as recently as 2004.
Transfers in: GK Gregor Zabret (NK Domzale, Slovenia), D Jernade Meade (Arsenal, England), D Jordi Amat (Espanyol, Spain), M Jose Alberto Canas (Real Betis, Spain), M Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool, England), M Alejandro Pozuelo (Real Betis, Spain), F Wilfried Bony (Vitesse Arnhem, Netherlands)
Transfers out: D Kyle Bartley (Birmingham City, England), M Mark Gower (Charlton Athletic, England), M Kemy Agustien (Brighton Hove & Albion, England)
Key Player: Despite last season’s fantastic form by goalkeeper Michel Vorm, the main man at Liberty Stadium remains Spanish import Michu. Arriving from Spain’s Rayo Vallecano for just £2.5 million ($3.9 million) as a relative unknown, Michu blast onto the Premier League scene last year with 18 league goals to his name, and 23 throughout all competitions.
The success story of Michu made manager Michael Laudrup and chairman Huw Jenkins look like utter geniuses, and helped the Swans to their first major trophy in club history. In the League Cup final – a 5-0 drubbing of Bradford City – the 27-year-old bagged the assist on the opening goal and scored the second, cementing the trophy.
The big question this season is can he keep up the pace. One Premier League season usually provides enough of a sample size that it’s a good bet he will, but the time off has halted good runs of form in the past, so it’s on the attacking midfielder to prove he wasn’t a fluke. If Michu can continue bagging goals, it’s a good bet the Swans can make another great run in the league this season.
Manager: A former player at Real Madrid, Juventus, and Barcelona, Danish boss Michael Laudrup took over for the departed Brendan Rodgers last summer, and impressed the European soccer community mightily. So much, in fact, that he had to ward off interest from bigger clubs such as Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Everton, and Fenerbahce.
Laudrup has had a relatively rocky relationship with chairman Jenkins, but so far it hasn’t been turbulent enough to drive him away from the club, and he signed an extension until 2015 just last March.
A former attacking midfielder himself, the Dane’s use of a 4-2-3-1 is the main reason Michu has catapulted to such success, as the offense is centered mainly around the attacking mid rather than the striker up top. However the recent acquisition of reigning Eredivisie Player of the Year Wilfried Bony could see some of the weight lifted off the Spaniard’s shoulders.
Outlook: With Laudrup guiding the club to a 9th place finish last season, they were able to not only lure Bony to Liberty Stadium, but also secured another season of central midfielder Jonathan de Guzman, who developed a wonderful relationship with Michu in the middle. De Guzman assisted seven goals last year, five of which went for Michu scores. The Swans are in the Europa League this year thanks to their League Cup victory. If De Guzman, along with Michu and new acquisition Jonjo Shelvey, can continue to click, this season could see Swansea challenge for a top 7 spot and maybe even Europa League success.
Apr 26, 2015, 3:27 PM EDT(Edit)
Jose Mourinho was understandibly happy with his side’s defending, despite just the one point.
Apr 26, 2015, 2:54 PM EDT(Edit)
Everton maintained a solid shape all game and the Toffees boss was loving it.
Apr 26, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT(Edit)
Mourinho proves his again that his nous, Chelsea’s defensive core, can halt the Gunners.
Apr 26, 2015, 1:38 PM EDT(Edit)
Johansson fed Johannsson as AZ Alkmaar picked up a big win in their chase for a Europa League spot.
Apr 26, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT(Edit)
There were few good chances as Arsenal could not find a breakthrough and Chelsea opens up a 10-point table lead.
Apr 26, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT(Edit)
Despite playing 30 minutes after a dangerous clash, Oscar has been sent to the hospital.
Apr 26, 2015, 11:43 AM EDT(Edit)
Torino picked up its first win over Juventus in 20 years, but the fans kept it from being a truly happy day.
Apr 26, 2015, 10:29 AM EDT(Edit)
There is no featured striker on the field for Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho instead selecting six midfielders to interchange.
Apr 26, 2015, 10:20 AM EDT(Edit)
Manchester United had nothing to offer as Everton won its third straight against the Red Devils at Goodison Park.
Apr 26, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT(Edit)
The PFA have announced their team of the season. But should these 10 players have been involved?
Apr 26, 2015, 9:18 AM EDT(Edit)
The likely title winners took up over half of the team of the season, marking their domination.
Apr 26, 2015, 7:47 AM EDT(Edit)
Marouane Fellaini returns to his former club on a much higher note than last season’s visit.
Apr 26, 2015, 7:00 AM EDT(Edit)
Two big games are coming your way on Sunday. Here’s what to expect.
Apr 26, 2015, 12:44 AM EDT(Edit)
It was a bad night to be a goalkeeper. A really, really bad night.
Apr 25, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT(Edit)
MLS Game of the Year? Probably. It had a little bit of everything, including some amazing goals you HAVE to see.
Apr 25, 2015, 9:42 PM EDT(Edit)
Good luck stopping the Revs, now that they’ve got a head of steam behind them. Another Cup run looks likely.
Apr 25, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT(Edit)
Crew SC’s four-headed attacking monster completely shredded the Union’s defense. The Black and Gold are very for real.
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