Jan Molby

Clever Swansea can finish above Arsenal

Jan Molby

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Looking back at the weekend's action and for me the two biggest takeaways came in the same game at the Emirates - Swansea are looking great at the moment but you have to have real concerns about Arsenal.

At Swansea, Michael Laudrup has slowly changed the way that they play. He's brought some new players into the team and they are starting to make a real impact.

Pablo Hernandez looks a great player, Michu is grabbing all the headlines with his goals, and the South Korean Ki Sung-Yeung that they brought in from Celtic looks like an excellent addition in midfield.

It may seem somewhat surprising that a club like Swansea managed to sign all these quality players for very reasonable prices, but they have just avoided the trap that some clubs fall into when they are in a wealthy league. When there is so much money floating around you can get lazy with your scouting but this is clearly not the case at Swansea.

I believe that for the first time in about 10 to 15 years, there is a market out there for clubs who have little or no money - there are bargains to be had because so many clubs in lesser economies are struggling and Michael has taken full advantage of that at Swansea.

Michael's stature within the game also helps him attract decent names. His managerial CV might be somewhat mixed but I certainly think Swansea took into account his great playing career when they made the appointment.

He's come in with new ideas, but you also need to impress. Football management is a ruthless business, and he has delivered the goods with his signings who all seem to have hit the ground running. With all these new faces at the club the whole Laudrup package seems to be measuring up perfectly for Swansea. A legendary player has signed excellent players and is playing great football - everything just seems to be right.

I also think that the Premier League is so inconsistent at the moment that it provides a great opportunity for a non-traditional powerhouse to really establish themselves as one of the better teams in the division.

Swansea were a good side last year too but what they seem to have added in this campaign is the ability to win away from home because they are so clever on the counter-attack.

Michael has converted Michu from a midfielder to a striker and that's another move that seems to have worked for him. Michael has never really been concerned about having a target man or a traditional number nine, he's quite happy with that fluid system where everybody can move around and the reason it is working is because he has bright players - they know they can pick a pass out when they hit teams on the break and they are just a very, very clever side.

Taking all this into account, I feel Swansea have enough quality to potentially finish in the top eight.

But then on the other hand you have Arsenal.  Some people were getting fooled by them at the start of the season with the way they played and defended but if you have average players it is going to result in average performances and that is where Arsenal are at the moment.

It is very difficult to predict what will happen with them for the rest of the season but you do get the feeling that they're approaching a make or break moment.

When you have a squad that appears to be lacking real leaders you go under or you come back.

For me though, at the moment, there is no real reason to think that Arsenal can finish above Swansea and I really think that's how desperate things have gotten at Arsenal.  I just don't think they are that good at the moment.

It really is not unthinkable that Swansea could finish above them because you look at Arsenal and they just don't fill you with confidence.

At the start of the season you would have hung your hat on some players - the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta for example - but they seem to have been affected by the slump as much as anyone. They don't seem to be able to lift the team or drag anyone up to a higher level.

Now you are looking at Jack Wilshere to lift things or Theo Walcott, but Jack's a young player and Theo is still inconsistent, so it is a big, big job that Arsene Wenger has on his hands from now until the end of the season.

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