Sunday, 15 January 2012

Total Football: In Praise of Swansea City

After years of prevaricating, I finally made the jump last week and ordered Sky TV.

I arrived back from the darts at the Lakeside last Monday just in time for the Sky engineer's arrival for the installation.

So today I sat down to watch my first ever live Premiership match from the comfort of my own sofa. I could've watched Newcastle Vs QPR of course but no, there was live Masters Snooker on the BBC and a Ronnie O'Sullivan Vs Ding Junhui sizzler at that and anyway, what better first live match could I watch than Swansea City Vs Arsenal?

Total Football
Those first 90 minutes were an absolute joy to watch and validated my decision to buy Sky TV in one fail swoop.

Swansea City out-passed Arsenal! They played the Gunners at their own game and came out deserved winners. They had 55% of the possession, made over 100 more passes than the Londoners and had a higher pass completion rate!

That, in anyone's mind, is phenomenal. The fact that they did so having gone a goal down in the opening 10 minutes, makes it an even worthier effort.

As I blogged here back in April, I was at Wembley when the Swans won their place in the Premiership. It was a joyous day. But looking ahead, there was no doubt that a tough year lay ahead. Since then, the Swans have lit up the Premier League with the same sparkling brand of football that has brought them up through the league pyramid in recent years. They've been praised by senior commentators in the game and by the likes of old-hands such as Harry Redknapp who have extolled their many virtues.

Brendan Rodgers deserves much credit for instilling into his squad the continued confidence to play the attractive brand of football that has won them so many admirers. It has meant as we head into the second half of the season that they sit happily in the top half of the table. There's still work to do but that 'magic' 40 points mark which is usually seen as the level required to stave off relegation is quickly drawing-in.

On today's performance, Swansea City should be preparing for a second season in the top flight. It would be a sad day for football if that didn't turn out to be the case.

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