Swansea City loans & transfer business a success ?
Thursday, 16th Nov 2023 08:00 by Andrew Winfield
Our best butty is back, yes, the old pirate of Penzance reviews where the Swans are and where they could be. As the majority of football fans endure a weekend without their club sides in action we welcome back Andrew Winfield.
The current international break is the last for this calendar year. Having now played 16 out of 46 games, it’s an opportunity to reflect on where the Swans are so far, what they may go on to achieve, and what they may need to do this.
Fans acknowledged that introducing a new manager and 13 new players during the close season required time for everyone and everything to gel. Most agree that this is beginning to happen, and the statistics support this. The first six games to the defeat against Cardiff in mid-September had 13 goals against and 7 for.
The second block of ten games – four matches more than the first - had us conceding less and scoring more (10 goals against and 16 for). These games included Leicester, Sunderland, and Ipswich and produced 18 points from a possible 30 – not promotion form, but a significant improvement.
There are some obvious factors at play. Defensively, we are much stronger. Michael Duff, Martyn Margetson, and the coaching team have worked on this area, making it more difficult to score against us. The injuries to Josh Key, Ben Cabango, and Nathan Wood could have been crushing losses for our defence, but those who’ve stepped in as cover have been excellent. Our defence’s strength and quality in depth will be crucial over a long championship season.
Five loan players
The players say a lot about their togetherness to keep them going during challenging periods. Good morale is essential in any team sport and suggests the players know and support each other and understand the style of play that Duff is working to build. It’s already clear that the interplay has improved with more quick passing and give and go from players. And, crucially, there is evident competition for places while those not selected support their teammates.
On the downside, we still lack the pace to break open teams quickly. From a few appearances, Josh Gingelly offered a lot of trickery and pace that we don’t have much of. His injury was a great personal shame in effectively writing off a season in a short enough professional career and is a significant loss for the team. Our attacking set-up scores goals, but not enough to threaten the top end of the table. Although it’s undoubtedly a positive that we are scoring from all over the team - thirteen players have hit the back of the net so far.
What doesn’t work well is Jerry Yates as a lone striker. As willing as he is, he isn’t getting the service he needs. Liam Cullen is not at his most effective at right wing. I’d like him to play a little deeper and closer to Yates. With only a few glimpses of Mykola Kukharevych, many are waiting to see what he can offer once he recovers from injury. He looks skilful and aggressive and may be a good foil for Yates to play off.
At this point, I’d expect the SA1 thinking on what’s needed in the transfer window to be firming up. We need a skilful, pacey right winger and possibly another creative advanced midfielder to provide variety and cover for Jamie Paterson.
From the promotion contenders we’ve seen so far, Leicester and Ipswich are in a strong position for automatic places. I think Ipswich is the best team we’ve played this season. As for the Swans ? Getting into the playoffs looks like a tough ask at the moment. I’d settle for another decent transfer window to keep building the quality of the squad and for Duff to develop his style of play that shows progression and improvement. But you never know, another good run, and who knows what might be possible.
One key issue to come back to later will be how the club will fill the gap left by the loanees at the end of the season. It will be a big hole to fill.
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Photographs licensed from Reuters
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