Ahead of Sunday’s game between the Premier League’s two Europa League entrants, we caught up with Swansea City fan Kevin Elphick (webmaster of Vital Swansea) to get his thoughts before the match at White Hart Lane.
So, who are you and why are you a Swansea fan?
I’m Kevin, aged 26 and I’ve been a fan since the late 90’s when the Swans were unfortunately struggling in the lower divisions. After supporting Manchester United at a young age, my father took me to watch my local team and from then on there was only one team for me. I then started a SCFC website aged 14 before moving the site over to the Vital Network 4 years after starting it.
How has the start to the season been? Was the scoreline a bit flattering for Man United at the weekend?
It wasn’t a great start, losing 4-1 at home against the defending champions, but the scoreline did flatter Moyes’ men. It was never a 4-1 sort of game, and the stats back that up as we enjoyed more possession and created more chances. Our defence let us down and there was a big difference in the quality of finishing. Van Persie stole the show and proved again what a world class footballer he is.
Laudrup got his shopping done early in the transfer window, are you pleased with his purchases? In particular, does Wilfried Bony look like he’s worth the money?
He would have done it even earlier if the media didn’t make such a big song and dance about a little dispute involving his agent and then transforming that into a story that he wanted to leave. His signings have been exactly what we need. A new, proven striker was a priority as Michu needed support as he’s clearly best as an attacking midfielder, not left stranded up front by himself fighting for scraps. There’s a lot of pressure on Bony to deliver due to his £12m fee, smashing our existing record. He looks to have the credentials to repay that with goals. His attitude looks spot on, he’ll score goals and he’ll also hold up the play and bring his team-mates into the game. He’s a targetman and he could well up to free up others players to score, which is what happened in the recent 5-1 win in the Europa League.
Along with Bony, he’s kept de Guzman on loan, signed Shelvey who has impressed a lot in midfield with his range of passing, Pozuelo – an attacking midfielder and Amat to add strength in depth in defence. You also can’t forget about Canas, a defensive midfielder who was man of the match against United. Laudrup still needs another striker as he has no forward options from the bench.
And have any obvious Michu like bargains been done that will catch people by surprise?
Pozuelo could be a bargain (less than a million pounds) waiting to surprise people in the Premier League. He’s made 2 sub appearances in the Europa League and scored in both games with 2 excellent finishes.
Talking of the silky-skilled Spaniard, have the rumours of Arsenal’s interest in him and Williams unsettled them at all?
It doesn’t appear so really. Ashley Williams and Michu are professional enough to get on with their jobs and both did good jobs in the midweek game against Petrolul. The rumours are still just rumours and the club have again said that they’ve received no interest from Arsenal.
Beating Swansea is now seen as a good scalp, how will the team react to other sides shutting up shop more against them do you think?
It’s to be expected now. The opposition know a lot more about how we play and what’s best to beat us. Catching us on the counter whilst remaining disciplined in defence is one of the most popular ways, but not every time has the quality for it to work. Many of our fans thought we’d be predictable in our second season under Brendan Rodgers, but Laudrup came in and altered the tactics. The wingers were more central, and passes were slightly longer and more direct, and then there was Michu that took everyone by surprise. Thankfully, Laudrup adjusts his team more than his predecessor ever did, particularly for away games when his midfield is more defensive.
Do the Swans still play the possession style so beloved by Rodgers or are things a bit more direct at all these days?
It’s still an attractive passing style where keeping the ball is the main objective, but it’s arguably more direct and effective under Laudrup. Passes were often very shot under Rodgers, where as Laudrup prefers his players to play longer passes, often beyond the first man to get the ball into the final third quicker.
Spurs have not been quiet in the transfer market either as no doubt yo’ve spotted. Any view on our transfer activity? too many changes or a good time to spend money and go gung-ho for the top four?
It’s been ambitious and I’m sure Spurs fans have been delighted to see you spend a bit, to boost hopes of a top 4 finish. It needs to be done to keep up with the likes of United, City and Chelsea will be stronger with Mourinho’s return. Hopefully (after you face us!), you can compete at the top and make it a tighter title race.
Who, if anyone, do you see as the danger man in the Spurs side?
What’s great about Spurs is there’s not just 1 player you can cause problems. I know it was mainly Bale last season but you still had others who could deliver if he was missing, which he will be this year most likely. You’ve signed some good players like Paulinho and Soldado, you also have the pacey Lennon who’s always difficult to defend against for a full back, as well as Chadli who the Swans wanted, and former loanee Sigurdsson, so plenty for us to try and deal with on the weekend.
And finally, a score prediction please.
We’re never much good at White Hart Lane and unfortunately for us, even with Bale out, I think you’ll be too much for us again. The Swans might get a goal but I think you’ll go on to win 2 or 3-1.
Have something to tell us about this article?