It’s not always possible to get a full picture of the coming season based on a few friendlies, and it is important not to overegg the importance of this time of year. But what have we learned from Swansea’s preseason fixtures so far?
Article by Nathan Lewis
High-pressing and Possession
With smaller than usual crowds coming out to watch these warm up matches, it was possible to hear the shouts and instructions of Steve Cooper and his fellow coaches. The soundtrack to Swansea’s defensive phases was the repeated chant of “press, press, press” coming from the sideline.
And this constant desire to hassle the opposition and force a mistake has borne fruit, with goals against Yeovil and Exeter coming directly from Swansea’s forwards chasing hard out of possession. With fitness only likely to improve in the coming weeks it will be interesting to see how effective this approach is against Championship level defences, or against Atalanta this Saturday.
Names on the Team Sheet
Pre-season is often a time for heavy rotation and allocating minutes to squad players and youth prospects, ensuring fitness is at its highest across the board. Steve Cooper however, appears to be focussing on drilling his players that are most likely to feature regularly through the season, allowing them to form partnerships and develop relationships.
From Cooper’s team selection, it appears clear that three of Swansea’s back four is settled, excluding a late move away for Mike Van de Hoorn. The Dutch defender has started each UK friendly so far alongside Joe Rodon, while Jake Bidwell has been a constant presence at left-back.
At the base of midfield, it seems to be a case of who sits alongside Matt Grimes, while barring any transfers Oli McBurnie is clearly the first-choice striker and Celina the number-ten-elect.
Don’t go expecting a big money transfer
It almost doesn’t need explaining, but it is clear that Swansea will continue to look for free transfers and loans for additions. The financial mismanagement by the previous board has left the club hamstrung and relying on Steve Cooper’s network of contacts.
Jake Bidwell seems to have fit in with the group, and has shown himself to be a solid, if unspectacular, addition at left-back. If and when additions are made to the squad, Swansea will hope that they follow suit and contribute hugely to the team over the coming season.