By Archie and Rick
Change is the only constant in Liberty Park – or so it seems. Two of last year’s star
performers, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Steven Caulker have moved to Spurs, their talismanic
manager Brendan Rodgers has shifted base to Merseyside, and now Joe Allen looks
increasingly probable to join him there. Michael Laudrup has taken over the reins, and
has brought in replacements for the players who have left as well. Chico, Michu and de
Guzman have all joined the Jacks in recent times, and Laudrup might also bring in another
midfielder if and when Joe Allen moves on. Swansea had outperformed even their own
expectations last season, finishing 11th in their debut season in the Premier League, the
highest position of the promoted clubs.
The new manager, Laudrup, is also in the Rodgers mould, preferring to play a 4-2-3-1
with short passes and possession based football, but the question persists – will he be as
successful in the hot seat as Rodgers was? Only time will tell, but at the moment, all we
can do is analyse, predict and speculate – on that note, let us proceed to the analysis of
Swansea’s fantasy prospects.
Swansea have a decent start to the Premier League season, with none of the first six
fixtures coming against the top teams. However, a team under a new manager is always
a completely unknown prospect, and as such, even though the fixtures look ripe for
investment, fantasy managers would be wary of placing too many bets on Swansea
Swansea’s main strength last season came from their back line, where numerous bargain
basement defenders delivered excellent value, with a particularly strong home record.
A few away thrashings boosted Swansea’s goal conceded total to 49, however they still
racked up 14 clean sheets, the 4th highest in the league, helped of course by Michel
Vorm’s league-highest 143 saves.
Let’s look at the prospects this time around:
Michel Vorm was an undisputed first choice last season, playing in 37 of their 38 games,
missing one due to illness, and was a true fantasy revelation, racking up the clean sheets,
save points and penalty saves from a starting point of 4.0 that made him a must have and
saw his price rocket.
A rotating pair of Vorm and Newcastle’s Tim Krul would’ve set you back only £8.5m of
your budget at the start of last season, in light of their heroics last time out though, this
year they cost £11m between them, the same price as Joe Hart and a 4.0 benchwarmer.
Budget acquisitions then, they are not. Despite the £5.5m price tag then, Vorm has
still picked up 17.4% ownership, 3rd highest for goalkeepers. With the doubts already
mentioned that come with a new manager, however, I feel Vorm is best steered clear of
from the start of the season.
Swansea’s reserve keeper, Gerhard Tremmel, is priced at only 4.0, and could be a decent
budget option, should anything happen to Vorm, but for now he’s best ignored.
Moving forward then, we can see that Vorm is indeed the most costly of Swansea’s
back 5, with the four likely first choice defenders all coming in at 5.0; Taylor, Chico,
Williams, Rangel. If choosing one of these for your squads to take advantage of the kind
opening fixture list, you will then be looking at attacking threat and bonus point potential
to differentiate them, rather than the obvious cheap prices of Taylor and Caulker at 4.0 we
had last season.
Looking for at the stats we see that Rangel was the more attacking full back, and Williams
the more attacking centre back. Of these two Rangel spent more time in the opposition
half, created more chances and took more shots, while Williams had more time in the
penalty area, and took his shots from closer range. Williams’ game, however, is more
suited to the EA Sports bonus points system, getting in the thick of the action and making
Chico is currently an unknown quantity, but looks likely to start alongside Williams. Garry
Monk (4.5) played quite a few times at centre back last season while Steven Caulker was
injured and could conceivably get some gametime, he is a possible cheap link to keep an
eye on should he get a run of starts ahead of Chico.
Onto the Swansea midfield:
Brendan Rodgers played strictly 4-3-3 in his time in charge, with one failed experiment in
3-4-3 vs Wolves resulting in conceding 4 goals. It remains to be seen how Laudrup will line
up in the league, but a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 is most likely, with Graham the lone striker, and
the rest of the slots filled by players classed as midfielders in the FPL game.
The central three slots last season were primarily filled by Leon Britton, Joe Allen and Gylfi
Sigurdsson in the second half of last season, with the latter playing further forward. With
the departure of Sigurdsson to Spurs, via Hoffenheim, and the likely imminent departure of
Joe Allen their exists a void to be filled by new signings.
With Britton (4.5) remaining the metronome at the back of this Swansea side, and his
record of no goals or assists last season, we see that while nailed on for 2 or 3 points each
week he is not the answer if you’re looking for attacking Swans coverage.
Should Allen depart, I would expect to see De Guzman (6.0) filling in his deeper role, with
fellow new signing Michu (6.5) taking Sigurdsson’s role further forward, if Allen stays, there
could well be rotation between Allen, De Guzman and Britton occurring. With a mooted
loan deal for Shelvey on the cards, should Allen go to Liverpool, he could provide further
competition, but seems unlikely to be first choice.
We all know how well Sigurdsson performed last season, and it remains to be seen
whether Michu can replicate that, but he does have previous, scoring 15 goals for newly
promoted Vallecano last season, the highest scoring midfielder in the La Liga. Should he
be successful he could be a real bargain, even at £6.5m.
The inverted wingers last season were usually Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer, who look
set to continue there. In preseason, chances have been given to previous fringe players
like Routledge and Dobbie, who will be trying to stake a claim to a place in the first XI.
Nevertheless I think that Sinclair (7.0) and Dyer (5.5) will continue as first choice after their
encouraging preseason showings as well as their hauls from last season.
Sinclair will also benefit from spot kicks, to add to his appeal, and is probably slightly more
nailed on than Dyer, however Dyer could offer excellent value as the cheapest attacking
Moving on to the forwards, there is really only one player to look for; a haul of 138 points
from Danny Graham points to good things this season, and with his opening fixtures is set
for heavy investment as a cheap 3rd striker. His 12 goals last season meant he was top
scorer for the Swans, and he is definitely a decent alternative to Petric, Lambert et al.
Luke Moore and Leroy Lita are the other Swans striking options, both at £4.5m, but will
see mainly substitute appearances and don’t look good prospects for investment.
It’s worth keeping an eye on the transfer situation, as if Swansea sign another forward
Graham’s gametime could dip, but for now he looks a great prospect.
So, onto my conclusions, what are the real prospects?
Michel Vorm is a little pricey, and should be passed up in favour of one of the defenders in
front of him. Rangel or Williams is your best bet for defensive coverage.
For attacking players Graham, Michu, Dyer and Sinclair seem the ones to go for, available
at a range of prices to suit your budget, with Dyer a potentially explosive cheap option,
with Graham seemingly the safest.
Michu and De Guzman are somewhat unknown prospects and I’d advise caution before
jumping on board there, but personally might take the plunge on Michu anyway.
It remains to be seen whether Swansea will repeat the feats of last year, but they’ll be
giving it a good go and I’m sure there will be a few gems worth having in the Swansea
lineup this year too.