Monday, 16 January 2012

Rodgers’ Welsh Dragons Breathe Fire into the League

As Swansea beat Arsenal at their own game on Sunday, their exhilarating performance finally has the rest of the league standing up and taking notice.

After their opening weekend thrashing at the hands of Manchester City, not many would have had the Swans in the top half of the league, just over half way through the season.

Brendan Rodgers
The man who has worked beneath one of the best, in Jose Mourinho, refused point black to change his philosophy. Many before him have played great football Hull City and most recently Blackpool, but both sides ultimately failed in their goal of survival and growth in the top flight.

What has impressed me most is their solid defensive unit, and to their credit, their record has been immense. To date nine clean sheets is nothing short of remarkable. The signing of the season for me if Michel Vorm, an outstanding acquisition from Dutch outfit Utrecht for only £1.5 million leaving a number of clubs wondering how they missed out on him.

The captain, Ashley Williams looks like a player at ease at this level and the loan signing of Steven Caulker from Tottenham has proven to be yet another masterstroke from Rodgers and his backroom staff. Former Wrexham man Neil Taylor has emerged as one of brightest talents in Welsh football, in fact they did very well to hold of strong interest from Newcastle in the summer.

Joe Allen has been at the heart of all that is good from the Swans going forward. Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer have been the best pair of wingers the league has seen in a number of seasons. And then there is Wayne Routledge who finally found the net in their first away win of the campaign at Aston Villa.

Goals have been hard to come by at times this season but they did not panic and kept the faith with former Watford man Danny Graham who has come good and netted his seventh goal of the season to cap of a wonderful team display on Sunday.

Swansea have proved that playing as a team does get you success and sticking to your principles does pay off. It would have been easy for Rodgers to listen to the experts and stop ‘playing football’ because nothing was expected of his side.

With seventeen games left to play they are only fourteen points from the promise land of the forty points mark. Indeed they have been on runs where results have not quite gone and the best example being their home game against QPR where they were second best for the majority, but their solidity and ethos ensured they would have a share of the points.

Danny Graham
They have also turned games at key points such as they did against Fulham when Vorm denied Clint Dempsey from the spot and Graham netted a wonderful goal to secure all three points.  

Tactically Rodgers and Norwich City’s Paul Lambert, are miles ahead of the likes of Ian Holloway and the now departed Neil Warnock. They are a new breed of manager who are fantastic for the game, they want their teams to play football and are not afraid to stick with what they think is best for their sides.

Going forward Rodgers has the platform at Swansea to establish them in the top flight, and what a credit they have been to the whole of Wales, a worthy edition to the league and long may it continue. 

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