No overnight sensation at Swansea City, but the positives are very encouraging
Sunday, 12th Sep 2021 15:24 by Keith Haynes
Having now watched the full game yesterday against Hull City I still feel we as a club have much work to do before things start to tick this season. It has to be accepted first though that this may well not be yet another season of potential promotion.
If there is anyone who having watched the swans performances this season and hasn’t yet been disappointed they must be very easy to please. The Hull City draw was a definite step up in tactics and implementation of the Russell Martin ethos. That’s fine. What we saw yesterday was the best league performance of the season so far, beyond doubt. We also saw a commitment from the swans players far above what we witnessed at Preston two weeks ago. Two excellent positives. I would add to that the level of total incompetence Keith Stroud, the referee brought to the game, added to the fans frustration. The two nailed on penalties, the disgraceful decision making when an advantage should have been played was at best incompetent, at worst another example of that bias we all talk about in football, Be that conscious or not.
Russell Martin and his team are not friends of mine, nor do I owe them or they owe me anything. They are very well paid to manage and direct football matters on the pitch. Any appointment, especially one as brave as this one at our club needs serious patience. Ive said already if we lose six on the trot, so be it, I’m pretty certain there’s fans of the swans out there who would be in total meltdown should that happen, but they will be the ones who expect everything as we have been served up in the last fifteen years, and are not used to this new era Swansea have invested in. They have neither the patience nor inclination to see the swans as we saw them yesterday, and see vast improvement.
The personnel in midfield is definitely now better than we had last season, in Ntcham and Downes, two solid permanent transfers we have most certainly bought wisely. With a sound defence being built, and these extra benefits to Martin’s selection we have the initial foundations of something very positive. There may not be too many in agreement but this alone will reap dividends as the new era progresses. Another positive will be the clean sheet, the Stoke City home game exposed a weak swans defence, on this occasion the attacking tactics meant the defence had more chance to get forwards and this alleviated pressure at the back.
Olivier Ntcham had an extremely positive and encouraging debut against Hull City
As Russell Martin stated post match on his new signings “They we’re brilliant, I thought Olivier was fantastic. He probably played a bit more than we had planned," said Martin. When he gets fitter, stronger and sharper, he’s going to be a really exciting player. I thought he was really good today. Rhys Williams settled in brilliantly, he played like he had been here for a long time. I thought Flynn Downes was great, we really missed him. For him to play the way he did so early on after joining, then for him to be out for a while. I thought he was outstanding today. It was also good for Michael to get some minutes on the pitch, and that will do him good as we build him up."
Flynn Downes showed some real class touches on his return to the side
I can’t disagree, it must be very reassuring for him to see his game plan coming to life within a side he has only been with for six weeks. The technical changes within his starting eleven, meaning they have to adapt to more than a simple plan A are working. It’s going to take time folks, and more than six weeks. I can’t see this clicking for at least another ten games, and even then it will be full of areas to further improve. That’s the beauty of a Russell Martin side, the improvements are continuous, they don’t reach a conclusion and that’s why, for me at least he needs all the time in the world to get this right. Remember, this side is in complete transition. Where the swans finish up in May, as long as it’s outside of the bottom three is a success, then the manager and his team can seriously challenge with a style of football that I have no doubt will further excite the swans faithful.
Photographs Swansea City A.F.C.
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