Why this season is actually going to plan...
Despite grinding out a good win against Villa on Saturday, it’s been a pretty underwhelming season for Swansea City so far.
But it’s what should have been expected.
Why? In the last few years the Swans have surpassed all expectations, smashed records and built up a global following. It’s been incredible.
But, as I mentioned in my last article, there had to be a season of levelling out - where records would stop being broken and perhaps the club would take a step backwards.
And, after the previous five seasons, the current season was always likely to be that one.
First, let’s look back at the last five years:
2010/11 - Promotion to Premier League was secured through a dramatic Championship play-off final. Could it get any better for the Swans? Oh yes…
2011/12 - The club finished in 11th place in the Premier League, beating many of the league’s giants for the first time and winning endless praise for their style of football.
2012/13 - Under Michael Laudrup, with Michu slamming in the goals, the club recorded their highest Premier League finish (9th) and an exciting League Cup victory to boot.
2013/14 - Swansea finished the season in a respectable 12th place. But the highlight was featuring in their first European competition since 1991. Their Europa League run saw them grab a huge win against Valencia, get into the knock-out stages, and then seriously threaten Napoli over two legs.
2014/15 - Garry Monk’s first full season in charge was one of broken records (the good kind). The Swans finished in 8th place - their highest ever position - with a record 56 points, having done the double over both Man United and Arsenal.
…so 2015/16 had ‘underwhelming’ written all over it.
And it’s living up to it. We’ve already had the all-out panic after failing to register a win in six games, and we’ve also had the premature calls for Monk’s sacking.
I’m actually not fully sure what the plan for Swansea is - or should be - this season. Obviously it should always be ‘aim for the top’, but the more realistic target should probably be a mid-table finish, with a good FA Cup run thrown in.
Mid table should never be the ultimate aim, but after the start we’ve had it would probably satisfy most fans.
Then, following this season of levelling out, we will be ready to go again next year. Aim to break more records, win the FA Cup, win a place in Europe, win a European trophy, aim for the top four (…obviously not all in one season).
This is the big picture. But - for now - the season is pretty much going to plan.