A new dawning at Swansea City AFC as one manager, Brendan Rodgers, rides off into the Scouse sunset and a Great Dane, Michael Laudrup, slobbers his way in to the managerial hot seat of the Swans.
Welcome Michael Laudrup to Swansea City and the Barclays Premier League. The Danish legend arrives with a tough act to follow in the continued upward curve of the football club. The style and ethos that has become known as "The Swansea Way or "Swansalona" has seen the club develop year on year since Brian Flynn was manager in 2002. With each coming and going of a manager they have in turn added their own small part in what has become the attractive passing brand of football the club are becoming renowned for.
Roberto Martinez brought an attractive passing style that was very easy on the eye if a little lightweight; Paulo Sousa continued this trend but bringing his vast experience of Italian footballl almost strangled any form of creativity out of the club, yet resulting in an extremely well drilled and hard to beat team. Brendan Rodgers found himself in the right place at the right time; a team that can defend resolutely and with the correct additions could play the most sublime football. This brings us to today and the arrival of Laudrup, one of the most gifted footballers of all time. He was heralded by team mates as the best they ever played with, known for his technique, close quarter dribbling and creativity - some of the attributes that were on display at Loftus Road yesterday in the Swans 5-0 demolition of QPR.
Fluid, direct and ruthless - everything that the Swans lacked last season. It would appear that Laudrup saw this particular game as winnable; there was no playing the percentages, trying to overly control the game - it was a case of sticking goals on QPR, then sticking some more past them when they had to come and try to salvage a result. This is a vast change to last season where Rodgers was almost hell bent on the control of the football and perhaps in turn affording the opposition too much respect (if you have the football then the opposition can't hurt you).
It's refreshing playing to our wingers’ strengths; Routledge, Dyer and Sinclair are all lightning quick with very tricky feet and on yesterday’s display it seems that Laudrup is channeling his attacking guile
Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer just went forwards. Every break it was the same, get the ball and run at a ragged opposition. The Swansea City of last season would see every counter attack being killed by the player being instructed to turn back to retain possession and allowing the opposition to regroup and reshape with the outcome being the ball in the hands of Vorm. It's refreshing playing to our wingers’ strengths; Routledge, Dyer and Sinclair are all lightning quick with very tricky feet and on yesterday’s display it seems that Laudrup is channeling his attacking guile, flair and creativity through them, urging and encouraging them to get forward into the final third and cause problems there.
While Rodgers would deem to control a game through possession, Laudrup is going down the route of controlling a game through goals, no doubt that the style of play will differ on the strength of the opposition however, last season Swansea had Plan A and that was that, something that Liverpool fans will learn under Rodgers. Laudrup knows that the Swans team have the quality to control a game through ball retention but on yesterdays showing he is also fully aware that if you take the shackles off the players then they are well capable of picking teams off at will.
The variety of passing that was on display yesterday is a departure from a Rodgers Swansea; the team looked totally comfortable with Michel Vorm knocking the ball long to Danny Graham (who excelled in the lone target man role, pulling balls out of the air, whilst at Watford) and the team then playing more in the QPR half as opposed to the slow (some might say boring) build up from the back that Rodgers swears by. Both centre backs for Swansea still had a lot of touches and passes but there was a lot more impetus to their passing with a definite instruction to be direct and to play the game further up the field.
Swansea City might have sacrificed some possession and territory and the much fabled passing statistics might be under threat but with 5 away goals to their name already this season and an away win in August as opposed to January the future does look bright.
The passing style was more varied and less predictable, thus being harder to defend; evidence being Kemy Agustien's wonderful assist for Nathan Dyer's second goal, a pass of which was hard to come by under the Rodgers era. The wingers played tighter to the middle of the pitch aiding the languid talent that is Michu and not leaving Danny Graham so exposed up top on his own, and yet as an attacking four they were all encouraged to get at the QPR backline.
Swansea City might have sacrificed some possession and territory and the much fabled passing statistics might be under threat but with 5 away goals to their name already this season and an away win in August as opposed to January the future does look bright. For a team that is so used to "looking after the ball" formerly coached by a man who sadly had a career cut short through injury, they also looked pretty good with using the ball when it was only on loan to them.
The club enters a new era with one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots implementing his own style to an already well oiled football team.
"If Carlsberg did football managers...."
Other stories you might like...
Click here for more stories in Football and Sport
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook