Many of you will remember my post a week or so back, where I said Paul Clement should be aiming higher than simply avoiding relegation (I think I even said something about the top ten…)
Well, forget it. I didn’t take into account that this is Swansea City we’re talking about, and we’re still enduring our worst Premier League season to date
The fact is, we are right back in the relegation scrap after consecutive losses away from home against Hull City and then Bournemouth on the weekend. There are two big problems with these losses (aside from the fact that we failed to pick up any points).
Firstly there was the style of the losses, which cast the Swans in a poor light – especially against Bournemouth. Defensively they were shaky (having a severe lack of full-backs on offer didn’t help), while the team failed to create anything going forward. Perhaps not as bad as how they played under Bob Bradley, but not much better.
The most concerning issue is the fact that we let fellow bottom-dwellers get three points on both occasions, and move up the table. Keeping the likes of Hull and – to a lesser extent – Bournemouth down is vital. A draw against these teams wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Giving them all three points was a big mistake.
Which is why the game against 19th-place Middlesbrough is being declared a must-win by most fans. Paul Clement has said that there’s no need to panic and everyone is in it together. But watch Hull find a bit of form and leapfrog us.
No, three points against Boro is pretty much necessary to keep this season alive. And yes, 17th is now the aim – anything above it will be a bonus.
Especially when you consider how tricky April is likely to be to pick up points – playing Spurs and Man United, with Watford and West Ham away, while Stoke are rarely a walkover.
Yes, points will have to be picked up in some of those games, but the situation will look a tad less dire if we get three against Boro.
Unfortunately there are a couple of weeks with no Premier League action now, as the World Cup qualifiers reach their climax. But on 2 April, Swansea have to do a job on Boro at the Liberty Stadium. Our Premier League future almost certainly depends on it.