Tag Archives: Michu

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 18

Chelsea-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting eighteenth gameweek in the Premier League. Chelsea and Liverpool provide not one, two or three but four players each, while there is one each from Manchester City, Manchester United and Reading.

Adam Federici (Reading)

Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan was one of the top performers of the week as he was virtually playing alone against Chelsea, but on a matter of principle I just couldn’t select a keeper who conceded eight goals in a match and so I went with Federici. The Reading goalie frustrated the Premier League champions Manchester City for 90 minutes and was very unlucky to concede a stoppage time goal in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

Manchester City have yet to hit top gear but they still remain very much in the hunt to retain their Premier League title. It is fair to say that not everyone at City is pulling their weight at the moment but it would be harsh if its said the same about Pablo Zabaleta. The right-back has been in terrific form and if it wasn’t for his persistence – and cross for Gareth Barry’s winning goal – City would not have eked out Saturday’s late win.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

The Serbian was given one of the toughest jobs of the weekend – mark the inform Christian Benteke. He and Gary Cahill combined well to nullify the Belgian’s threat very effectively, recording a clean sheet in the 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa on Sunday. He even managed to increase his goal tally for the season with a poacher’s goal after Cahill’s shot was palmed his way.

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

To be honest, Saturday’s action Premier League action fell dull until the late kick-off between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield. The goal which brought the weekend to life was just superb from defender Martin Skrtel. A nice touch to control the ball before unleashing an unstoppable volley past Mark Schwarzer to open the floodgates for the Reds on their way to a 4-0 win over the Cottagers.

Patrice Evra (Manchester United)

Its been a funny season for Manchester United at the back. Their defenders are leaking goals but at the same time scoring at the other end of the pitch. Evra is a perfect example of this during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Swansea. The Frenchman did superbly well to score with a header from a Robin van Persie corner but then was caught out of position as Michu equalised for the Swans.

David Luiz (Chelsea)

Chelsea may have scored eight against Aston Villa, but none was better than David Luiz’s freekick. It was very similar to how Didier Drogba used to hit them for the Blues. It was not only the Brazilian’s goal which earns him a place in the Team of the Week. Played just in front of the back-four, Luiz looked right at home in the Obi Mikel role and the African must surely be a worried man now.

Ramires (Chelsea)

The Brazilian did not even start the game but yet he makes our Team of the Week. The midfielder, who is not known for his goal scoring, came on in the second half for Frank Lampard in Chelsea’s thrashing of Aston Villa on Sunday, and ended the match as one of the star performers and became the only player to score more than once in that match. He scored the Blues’s fifth and eighth goal of the night.

Stewart Downing (Liverpool)

Downing makes the Premier League Team for the first time ever. Perhaps this is what the Mayans were referring to? Back in his regular role of a winger, the former Aston Villa wide man put in an excellent performance in Liverpool’s easy win on Saturday. He set Steven Gerrard for the hosts’ second goal of the night and scored one himself in the second half. His first assist and goal in the Premier League since joining the Reds last season.

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Competition in midfield is tough this week given Chelsea’s hammering of Aston Villa but there was no chance of leaving Steven Gerrard out. The Liverpool skipper has been in patchy form this season as he adjusts to Brendan Rodgers’ style of play. However, we saw the Gerrard of the old as the Liverpool legend provided two assists for his teammates, but also got his own name on the score sheet too.

Eden Hazard (Cheslea)

After a blistering start to life in the Premier League, Eden Hazard has positively cooled off. Any worries should be abated now, though, as the Belgian wizard ran riot on The Blues’ left flank against Aston Villa. His holding midfield duo controlled the game and were able to find him regularly, so he had ample opportunities to shine. He also got himself on score sheet by scoring his side’s seventh goal of the night.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

Suarez was back to his best on Saturday. The Uruguayan bagged the final goal of four against Fulham and it was a perfect reward for his efforts all game long. Even though the goal came very late and technically unimportant at the stage of a comprehensive rout, it was important for Liverpool’s only injury free senior striker to get back among the goals after failing to score for more than a month.

TOTW GW 18

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Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 17

Benteke-Totw

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting seventeenth gameweek in the Premier League. Aston Villa, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur provide two players each, while there is one each from Arsenal, Manchester City, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City.

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)

The French international is making the most of his chances to show Andre Villas-Boas what he can do after putting in a commanding display in goal in Spurs’ 1-0 win over Swansea on Sunday. Lloris kept a clean and made some brave clearances with the highlight being when he came off the line to punch away a dangerous cross and deny Michu a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa)

Not too many full-backs have made Liverpool’s rising star Raheem Sterling look terrible this season, but Lowton certainly achieved the feat on Saturday. Sterling looked completely out of ideas as the Reds slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Anfield and the former Sheffield United man can take great comfort in knowing it was his positioning and reading of the game which made the pacey winger so ineffective.

Ashley Williams (Swansea City)

The Swans may have been on the end of a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane but Williams gave everything for the Welsh side, proving a rock solid presence at the back. A brave performance from the centre-half saw him make several key clearances and blocks as Spurs were denied a way through up until their late breakthrough from a set-piece.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

Though he has played most of this season at left-back, the Belgian international earned a rare start in the centre of defence at the weekend, and his manager was rewarded for this decision, with Tottenham looking solid for the most part at the back. As a bonus, Vertonghen also popped up to score the winner, as he elegantly volleyed home Kyle Walker’s free-kick.

Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

Toure was the star when City played at St. James’ Park last season and he was the star again on the weekend as he ran the show in the middle of the park for City as they defeated Newcastle 3-1. The Ivorian’s pinpoint pass set up Sergio Aguero perfectly for the opener, while he added a goal of his own late on to put the seal on both City’s win and an impressive individual display.

Ashley Young (Manchester United)

Following their dramatic derby win, the Red Devils were in the mood against Sunderland on Saturday. Central to Saturday’s 3-1 win was former Aston Villa winger Ashley Young who had a hand in two of the three goals United scored that day. His best was obviously the assist for Robin van Persie’s opener, but he was definitely a handful all afternoon for the Black Cats’ defence.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

The Gunners hit back at their critics after their embarrassing League Cup defeat to Bradford in the midweek, with an assured 5-2 victory over Reading which was inspired by Cazorla’s hat-trick. The little Spaniard has been impressive all season and he did early damage in the first half when he scored two goals in as many minutes then followed up his heroics on the hour mark to seal his first triple in an Arsenal shirt.

Adel Taarabt (Queens Park Rangers)

QPR manager Harry Redknapp handed Taarabt a more advanced role against Fulham at the Loftus Road on Saturday and it worked a treat. Played just in behind the striker, the Moroccan international excelled and hit the Cottagers for two goals as the R’s emerged from the contest as 2-1 winners – their first win of the season after 17 attempts.

Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City)

Pilkington put in another stand-out performance for the Canaries against Wigan as he and fellow forward Wes Hoolahan continue to shine for the in-form club. A brilliantly-taken goal was the crowning moment of the Englishman’s afternoon, while his cross also set up Hoolahan for the second of the 2-1 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

12 goals in your first 17 Premier League games for a new club seems like a reasonable return doesn’t it? Even if you do have a £24 million price tag on your head. In United’s victory over Sunderland the Dutchman was instrumental, capitalising on John O’Shea’s mistake to score the opening goal. And in an ominous sign for Premier League defences everywhere, he again linked up with Wayne Rooney to secure a third.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)

Benteke has been one of the signings of the season and was influential to Villa’s surprise win at Liverpool, producing a star turn for the Midlanders as he netted a double, dealing a blow to Darren Bent’s hopes of ending his stint on the bench. The Belgian also provided the assist for Andreas Weimann’s strike with an audacious backheel.

TOTW GW 17

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 16

Rooney-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting sixteen gameweek in the Premier League. Manchester United are the only side to provide three players, while there is one each from Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, Liverpool, Norwich City, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic.

David De Gea (Manchester United)

The Spaniard has had his share of critics during his time in England, but on Sunday during the Manchester derby he showed everyone he has matured into a goalkeeper capable of handling the big occasion. With Anders Lindegaard’s wife going into labour, United had no choice but to play the former Atletico Madrid man and he didn’t let anyone down. He put in a commanding display and was prepared to step off his line to embrace the physical challenge of contesting the high balls.

Glen Johnson (Liverpool)

Back at his former club West Ham, the right-back made a blistering start to the game with an outstanding strike into the top corner from 25 yards out. He did not celebrate his goal but was the visitors most threatening player and was a constant problem to the home defence at Upton Park, while keeping Matt Jarvis quiet for much of the game.

Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)

Ferdinand’s derby day may have taken a turn for the worse as he celebrated Robin van Persie’s late winner, but the experienced centre-half put in another steady shift for the Red Devils. During the periods when United’s midfied controlled the game, the veteran could concentrate on seeing off Sergio Aguero and did so effectively. He was established and reliable at the back, and also made an important block in the second half.

Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City)

The Cameroon international has doubled his career goals tally in the space of just four games, with the Norwich defender in the form of his life. He had found the back of the net just three times in over 150 appearances prior to 24th November, and there weeks on and he now has six goals to his name. The latest of those arrived on Saturday when he towered over Ben Davies to head home his side second of the game and held the line well as the Canaries won a seven goal thriller in South Wales.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Belgium international has been very impressive for Spurs this season as a left-back and on Sunday against Everton he was his side’s best player. He may have been without his partner on the left-flank – Gareth Bale but he contributed a lot to the game. He was a key reason for Spurs’ much improve performance in the second half and in one dominating spell he fired three shots at goal in 20 minutes.

Damien Duff (Fulham)

Facing former employers tends to bring the best out of certain individuals and Duff looked like a man on a mission during Fulham’s clash against Newcastle on Monday, and was also instrumental in helping the Cottages to a 2-1 win. The Irishman used his skill and experience to torment Davide Santon & Fabricio Coloccinni and also had a hand in both Fulham’s goal, laying on the first for Steve Sidwell and crossing for Hugo Rodallega to nod home the winner.

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Mikel Arteta will go down on the score sheet as the hero in Arsenal’s win over West Brom on Saturday because of his two goals (both from the spot), but the real star of the match for the Gunners was Jack Wilshere. The Englishman’s influence on the match was there for everyone to see with his passing, vision, defending and all-round determination to win the game for the Londoners.

James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic)

Wigan made it sure that Queens Park Rangers’ miserable start to the season continued on Saturday, with the London outfit still waiting for their first win 16 games into the season. Harry Redknapp took his side to the DW Stadium in search of a win, but a deadly double from McCarthy meant that he had to settle for just a point.  McCarthy was a real driving force in midfield and showed his true class with his two goals.

Fernando Torres (Chelsea)

On Saturday, the Spanish striker was finally looking like he was enjoying himself on the football field and goals obviously helped to lift the mood of the misfiring forward as he helped himself to two during Chelsea win at Sunderland. His movement caused the Black Cats defence problems all afternoon and manager Rafael Benitez will be hoping there is plenty more to come from his number nine.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Rooney enjoyed one his best days on Sunday, with his efforts pivotal to Manchester United’s 3-2 derby success at arch-rivals City. His first-half double, which came against the run of play, saw him move into 150 Premier League goals – youngest ever to do so. He found the right positions and also became the highest ever goalscorer in the Manchester derbies as a result.

Michu (Swansea City)

He may well have been on the losing side to an in-form Norwich, but the classy Spaniard was brilliant, again, in getting a second successive brace. He wasn’t at his best in the first half but orchestrated the Swansea comeback in the second period and took both his goals clinically. He double strike on Saturday, took him to the top of the goalscoring charts in the league.

TOTW GW 16

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 15

Rooney-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting fifteenth gameweek in the Premier League. Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur provide two players each, while there is one each from Aston Villa, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Norwich City, Reading and West Ham United.

Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)

The American had plenty to do as Villa secured a 1-1 draw against QPR in Harry Redknapp’s first home game as R’s manager. The goalkeeper pulled off a string of fine saves and caught the eye with a stunning block to deny Jame Mackie, while he also made important stops on the lively Shaun Wright-Phillips and managed to tip Clint Hill’s powerful header over the crossbar.

Angel Rangel (Swansea City)

One of the weekend’s big shocks came at Emirates Stadium as Swansea claimed a surprise 2-0 win over the Gunners and the Spaniard was the key to their success. The right-back was constant threat to Arsenal’s back four as he went forward to provide attacking support, while he was also a rock at the back as the Welsh side kept a clean sheet.

Daniel Agger (Liverpool)

The Reds got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win at home over Southampton and Agger played an important role in it. He put in a solid performance at the back as Liverpool kept a clean sheet and also unleashed a wonderful header before the break, which eventually turned out to be the winner.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Belgian has been Spurs’ star man this season and he was once again impressive in the 3-0 win at Fulham. He put in a solid shift at the back while also showing his ability getting forward, providing a useful link with Tottenham’s attack.

Hal Robson-Kane (Reading)

The Royals produced a battling display but ended on the wrong side of a seven-goal thriller at home to Manchester United, and Robson-Kanu was their star man in the first half as he provided plenty of threat on the right wing. The Welshman troubled Patrice Evra for most of the first half after opening the scoring early on with a great volley.

Mohamed Diame (West Ham United)

With the Hammers trailing by a goal against Chelsea at half-time, Diame came off the bench at start of the second half to inspire a memorable comeback win. The former Wigan man was exactly the sort of player the Blues missed in the second half, as he injected urgency into his side’s play, running riot in midfield and capping his performance with a late goal that put West Ham ahead.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

The Belgian may have conceded the penalty that allowed Carlos Tevez to equalise for Manchester City against Everton on Saturday, but other than that the he was at his best all afternoon. The skipper scored the opening goal and was very influential as he ran the show in the midfield.

Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City)

The Canaries produced a dominant first-half display as they defeat Sunderland 2-1 and the Englishman put in an admirable shift as a part of an impressive Norwich midfield. He also scored a 37-minute goal with sublime finish, which turned out to be the winner for the hosts.

Michu (Swansea City)

Another star performer in Swansea’s shocking win against Arsenal on Saturday was the Spaniard forward, who has been a revelation in Wales since his £2 million arrivial in the summer. Michu scored two late goals and left the Emirates faithful stunned.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

United kept three points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table after edging their dramatic clash at Reading, with Rooney standing out as the Red Devils’ top performer. The England striker grabbed two goals – one from the spot – while also setting up Robin van Persie’s winner with a brilliant back heel.

Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)

Jermain Defoe has been at his best under Andre Villas-Boas and again on Saturday the former West Ham man scored twice in the 3-0 win at Fulham. The striker was in deadly form as he scored two well-taken goals with just two real chances and the punished the poor Fulham defence.

TOTW GW 15

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 14

Hernandez-Routledge-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting fourteenth gameweek in the Premier League. Everton and Swansea City provide two players each, while there is one each from Aston Villa, Manchester City, Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City, Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur.

Simon Mignolet (Sunderland)

The Belgium shot-stopper put in a positive display – which showed he had recovered from error against West Brom at the weekend – to earn himself and his team a much needed clean-sheet. He was not regularly tested by the QPR forwards, but was more than ready when called upon and made total of six saves during the game on Tuesday.

Rafael (Manchester United)

Being a Manchester United fan, I am loving to see the progress the young Brazilian has made this season. He has come of age and was once again at his best, as he was alert to the early threat of Matt Jarvis, making a number of key interceptions. Going forward, he put in a couple of dangerous crosses and was a threat to deal with for the West Ham defence.

Ryan Nelsen (Queens Park Rangers)

QPR will need some strong characters in the dressing room and on the pitch to get them out of this tricky hole at the foot of the table, and the New Zealand international is one of those. Having signed him while at Tottenham in February, Harry Redknapp knows Nelsen has those qualities and the defender was rock solid in the heart of the defence  in their clean-sheet at Sunderland on Tuesday.

Matija Nastasic (Manchester City)

Many eyebrows were raised when Roberto Mancini decided to break up the successful partnership of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott at heart of the City defence. But the doubts have given way to nods of approval as the young Serbian once again impressed alongside the skipper and was solid at the back in the City’s 2-0 win at Wigan on Wednesday.

Leighton Baines (Everton)

The Everton left-back has been in the form of his life this season as he put in another superb display in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal at Goodison Park. The marauding full-back provided a constant outlet for his side on left and linked up with Steven Pienaar to devastating effects at times which caused the Gunners some trouble at the back.

Pablo Hernandez (Swansea City)

Pablo Hernandez has made his name as a right-winger for Valencia in the La Liga, but in Swansea’s impressive win over high-flying West Brom on Wednesday, the Spaniard did much of his best work on the left flank. Hernandez was a class apart during a first half performance that saw the Swans go 3-0 up within 40 minutes and he was involved in all the three goals.

Wayne Routledge (Swansea City)

Another player who has been impressive alongside Michu and Pablo Hernandez for the Swans this season has to be Wayne Routledge. The former Newcastle man was at his very best in the win over West Brom. He scored twice with two superb finishes and the midfielder popped up virtually in every attacking position as he caused havoc to the Baggies defence.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

The big Belgian returned from suspension and played a huge part in his side’s 1-1 draw at home on Wednesday. Fellaini epitomised all that was good about hard-working Everton, but also brought a significant amount of quality too. His curling effort in the first half brought the Toffees back on level terms after Theo Walcott had given Arsenal an early lead.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

It takes something special to make it in the Team Of The Week after scoring such an own goal and that’s exactly what the Welshman did in the 2-1 win over Liverpool at White Hart Lane. Bale’s driving run and delicious delivery led to Aaron Lennon’s opener within ten minutes before he doubled the lead with a brilliant free-kick.

Cameron Jerome (Stoke City)

We have seen many super-subs this season and Jerome was the latest of the lot. He came on in the 68th minute against Newcastle and completely turned the game on it’s head. The former Birmingham man used his pace to trouble the full-backs and delivered a perfect cross for Jonathan Walters to equalise. Then the forward repaid the faith shown in him by Tony Pulis as he won the game with a late strike.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)

The Belgium striker has been keeping Darren Bent out of the team with his superb performances and on Tuesday night against Reading, he again showed why he deserves to start ahead of the England international. Benteke saw a superb chance denied by Adam Federici in the first half and was superb as a target-man throughout the game before scoring the late winner.

TOTW GW 14

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 1

Have a look who made our Team of the Week from the a thrilling opening round of Premier League matches. Five debutants are included in the team as Cuellar, Cazorla, Michu, Hazard and Petric all impress.

David De Gea (Manchester United)
The young Spanish shot-stopper produced some stunning saves to keep his side in the game during the first half – especially from a Leighton Baines freekick – but couldn’t do nothing about Fellaini header.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
The Serbian is not a regular goal scorer for the Blues, but he scored the opener against Wigan and the finished off the scoring against Reading in the midweek. Defensively he was very good, showing good awareness to clear danger and also making well time tackles to stop the opposition getting in on goal.

Phil Jagielka (Everton)
The Englishman put in a performance of real quality. He was brilliant throughout the game and showed brilliant anticipation against an unpredictable and strong United forward line. At the same time he was dominant in the air and also made a couple of brilliant last-dich tackles.

Carlos Cuellar (Sunderland)
The Spaniard settled in well in the heart of the Sunderland defence straightaway and kept Lukas Podolski at bay for the whole game with the help of his stylish brand of defending.

Liam Ridgewell (West Brom)
The former Birmingham City and Aston Villa man put in an impressive display against the Reds. Gave Downing a hard time by showing him onto his weaker right foot and encouraging him to cross. Assisted in his team’s third goal by setting up for Romelu Lukaku.

Nathan Dyer (Swansea)
The Englishman put in a great performance against a weak QPR defence by bagging a brace for himself. First one being a cool finish after being put through one-on-one by Routledge and then an a great piece of technique to bring down Agustien’s floated pass before slotting home his second.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)
The Belgium international played just behind the striker and made his physical presence felt by winning almost everything in the air and showing great feet to bamboozle United’s defence. Scored the winner with a towering header.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)
The Spanish international, who traveled from Puerto Rico, was the only spark for the Gunners in their opening game. The former Malaga man constantly got himself into probbing positions and also had couple of efforts on target but couldn’t break the deadlock.

Michu (Swansea)
The Spaniard signed for just £2m in the summer from Rayo Vallecano made a dream debut for the Swans. It looks like he can carry his form of last season into the new season and in a new league. His first goal may have been because of a goalkeeping error, his second was a stunner. Unlucky not to get his hat-trick, but certainly would be more than please with his display.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
The Belgium whizard has settled into life in the Premier League with ease by putting two consecutive Man of the Match displays. The former Lille man has five assist – including two penalties – to his name in two matches and has been a constant threat to the opposition with his pace and trickery. Surely a star in the making if he can do this on a regular basis.

Mladen Petric (Fulham)
The Croatian international made a very good impression in his first 45 minutes in the Premier League for his new club, by gabbing a brace. Scored a debut goal as his header did cross the line before it was cleared and scored the second with a screamer from 30 yards. Also set up the fourth goal for Kacaniklic with his last touch of the game.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Swansea City

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Swansea City’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Michael Laudrup.
Captain: Ashley Williams.
Stadium: Liberty Stadium (20,532).
Last season: 11th.
Leading scorer (PL): Danny Graham (12).
Odds: Title 2500-1. Relegation 15-8.

In: Chicho (£2.2m, Genoa), Jonathan de Guzman (Loan, Villarreal), Michu (£2.2m, Rayo), Itay Shechter (Loan, Kaiserslautern).

Out: Joe Allen (£16.7m, Liverpool), Ferrie Bodde (Released), José Moreira (Released), Casey Thomas (Released).

Kits

Key Man – Danny Graham
Following Gylfi Sigurdsson’s departure, the goal scoring burden now solely rests heavily on the shoulders of Danny Graham. The former Watford forward ended the last season as the club’s top goal scorer with 12 Premier League strikes and he will be keen to keep firing in more goals this season at the head of Laudrup’s frontline.

Opening Fixtures
18-Aug – QPR (A)
26-Aug – West Ham (H)
01-Sep – Sunderland (H)
15-Sep – Aston Villa (A)
22-Sep – Everton (H)
29-Sep – Stoke (A)

Probable Formation (4-3-3): Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Chico, Taylor; Britton, de Guzman, Michu; Dyer, Graham, Sinclair.

Verdict: After last season’s superb displays under Brendan Rodgers, Michael Laudrup will have his work cut out to emulate those achievements in his first season in English football, which will be a huge test. Losing midfield pass-master Joe Allen will be harmful too – and Scott Sinclair looks likely to follow the Welshman after rejecting to sign a new contract. Laudrup has made some smart signings by bringing in Chico, Michu and Jonthan de Guzman but can Laudrup keep the Swans’ passing style of football going is a question that needs to be answered. It’s going to be a very tough season for the Swans, but I think they have enough quality in their squad to stay up and clear of a relegation scrap.

Prediction: 16th.