So what is is our best starting XI?
Monday, 31st Dec 2018 20:03 by Jamie Thomas
There has been plenty of debate on whether Potter's constant tinkering has hindered the team or kept key players fit. My opinion is that it has been fully justified at times and very much frustrating at others. Leading to some fans claiming Potter is still unsure of the best starting 11. I'm of the impression he reacts to teams and their style rather than putting his brand on display.
We started the season with a very limited squad and a manager with little to no experience, let alone in the English devisions. This was down to ferocious cuts in first team squad numbers. There was no doubt in my mind we needed to get rid of egos and high wages from the Premier League and replace them with hardworking and honest young talent. The squad is bare bones but it contains a good mix of young talent and experienced heads.
I think I speak for most fans when I say finishing above the drop zone would be an achievement before the season started. Unfortunately, our extremely talented homegrown players hit the ground running and some new signings made an immediate impact. This got fans dreaming big of an instant return to the Premier League. We've recently come back to earth with a big bang and fans renewed hope in the team has lead to a lot of criticism of Potter and the squad.
Onto the pressing matter, my opinion of our "best starting 11". I'll do my 1-11 and give a brief reasoning for my choices. I prefer to see us play 4-3-3, the formation that created so many memories the last time round under Rodgers.
GK - Erwin Mulder
Tough choice for the number 1 joursey. Both players have given good accounts of themselves but have also made some clangers. Early on Nordfeldt's distribution put him on top for me even though his shotstopping abilities left a lot to be admired. On the other hand, watching Mulder try to dictate play by passing from the back was painful and also cost us points. The most recent games have seen Mulder make game saving stops and pass with confidence and ease from the back.
RB - Connor Roberts
Although Naughton has done well at RB when he has played, rarely putting a foot wrong. Connor Roberts has shown key elements of a modern fullback, being able to defend but also very useful in attacking situations. I'm not overly fussed on him on the wing personally. He has contributed with goals and has made key defensive interventions throughout the sesson.
CB - Joe Rodon
Joe Rodon came in to the side as a highly rated youngster, highly rated but a relative unknown. His grit and determination in defence and confidence on the ball made him a fan favourite from the start. He has recently lost form and started to look a lot like Mawson, trying to be too clever on the ball usually costing goals. I'd like to see him back in the side and back at his best sooner rather than later. Carter-Vickers has not really put a foot wrong but Rodon suits our style a lot more. Rumours circulating about Carter-Vickers' loan being cut short due to lack of gametime is probably behind his recent inclusion in the starting line-up but Rodon should be back before too long.
CB - Mike van der Hoorn
Van der Hoorn didn't really make an impact in the Premier League until our final season. A hard tackling centre back who reads the game very well. His occasional bursts forward always get us on the front foot and his diagonal balls to the wingers always seem to find the right players. Overall a very accomplished player in the Championship.
LB - Matt Grimes
Don't really want to play Grimes at LB, much prefer him in the middle. However, after years in exile at the club he has arguably been our best if not certainly our most consistent player this season. Fans say he's League One quality but I disagree wholeheartedly. He is accomplished in all aspects of the Championship game. He gets stuck in, quality first touch and always seems to get us moving forward with his passing in midfield. When he's played left back he has looked confident and has done well to get the Swans in the right areas. I do like Olsson but we haven't had the best out of him for a long time. Also injured at the moment.
CM - Fulton
Another player who's career looked dead and buried at Swansea City but has very much found his feet this season. Struggled with a few injuries but puts 110% in every second he plays and has shown some real quality. Seems to enjoy the dirty work that has to be done to get the team on top in the game. Again, a player fans wanted gone but I'd like to think he's won them around with his performances under Potter.
CM - Fer
This one will definitely divide opinion. First of all, I do not agree with him having the captain's armband. I feel it should be given to someone more vocal on the pitch. However, being a senior player I understand why he has it. We know what Fer is capable of, on his day there's no stopping him. His aeriel presence as well as his hold up play is something we have very rarely seen in a midfielder at the Liberty. He knows how to make the hard challenges and fights for every ball. His passing and finishing makes him a potentially deadly midfielder in this division. We haven't seen the best of Fer this season, another player struggling with injury. He's looked lacklustre and disenchanted recently, lack of urgency and quality has frustrated fans and rightly so. It would be Grimes playing here if I didn't put him left back.
CAM - Celina
An instant hit with the Jack Army, Celina has shown why he was a part of Man City's team for 6 years. Spending two seasons out on loan and making plenty of appearances in both spells - most recently at fellow Championship club Ipswich Town. He looks below average when played out wide, he's not interested in playing out there. When he plays through the middle his confidence on the ball and passing is something to behold. Needs better link up play with McBurnie and sometimes he goes missing in games but a raw talent that will come in time.
RW - McKay
I'd rather see Dyer and Routledge sold. A new chapter at the club means getting rid of the old guard. Wouldn't mind Narsingh in the side but rumours about clauses in the contract mean he isn't taking part in games. McKay has shown in glimpses what he is capable of on the ball but we haven't seen anywhere near enough quality. Knows how to score a screamer and has the ability to take players on. Once again we haven't seen much of McKay but going forward I would like to see more of him.
LW - James
The little wizard has been outstanding so far this season. Terrorising defenders and getting us on the front foot in games, he's been a breathe of fresh air at times. Another young, raw talent that needs to be coached into being a brilliant servant for the club. He gets himself in all of the right areas but his crossing and shooting has let him down on many an occasion this season. If we can keep him fit and get consistent performances out of him he will make a very big impact this season. To me, Montero is an impact sub. His footballing ability has improved this season but it's still not good enough to start week in week out. A very one dimensional player who struggles unless fullbacks allow him onto his left foot.
ST - McBurnie
The most unorthodox player I've ever seen play for the Swans. His low socks, tiny shin pads, high shorts and skinny frame mean he's the most unlikely player but he's my hero. I adore the bloke so my opinion may be slightly biased. The most determined and passionate player we have at the moment. His unorthodox demeanour means he divides fans' opinion more than most. I think his hold up play and his distribution goes unnoticed by most fans. When he's in the game he's untouchable. We need someone to link up with him like Gylfi/Bony in the good old days. On the subject of Bony, I also adore him. I'm not too impressed with his wages and the fact he's spent most of his time injured this time around. I love him but for the future of the club he has got to go to make funds for other transfers. Reports of £100K a week sickens me. Not sure if he had a relegation clause but I highly doubt it.
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