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LEIGHTON JAMES: The writing's on the wall for Cardiff City, but Swansea City will survive

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: March 06, 2014

Leighton has seen an improvement in the way the Swans warm up for games.

Leighton has seen an improvement in the way the Swans warm up for games.

Comments (6)

THEY are not dead and buried yet.

But for my money, Cardiff City and Fulham are heading for the Championship.

That leaves only one of the three relegation places up for grabs — if that is the right way of putting it — and I don't see Swansea City filling it come May 11.

They are still down there in the battle right now, and mathematically they will be in it for a while yet.

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But I think Swansea have got their confidence back, and there is momentum at the Liberty now too.

This may sound strange to people who have not played the game, but I can see that things have changed when the players are warming up.

All of a sudden, the zip and the spark is back.

Six weeks ago, it looked as though the players were going through the motions.

Garry Monk has brought intensity and brightness, and I think the impact he has had will carry Swansea through until the end of the season.

Neither Cardiff nor Fulham have any momentum, and it's going to be incredibly difficult for them to find it now.

I see Crystal Palace staying up.

Then I look at Sunderland and wonder about them. They have games in hand, but do you really want games in hand at this stage of the season?

The pressure to win them is huge.

On current form, however, I would say the last relegation place is between Norwich City and West Brom, who Swansea play next.

That is another big game, and Albion will come here in shaky form.

Swansea have to capitalise on that, particularly after the break they are currently enjoying.

The draw with Palace last weekend showed that everyone needed a breather.

Things have been very positive since Garry took over, but Swansea ran out of steam against Palace.

The players looked mentally tired as well as physically worn out — but to be fair, they didn't half dig in during a difficult second half.

A couple of months ago, Swansea would have ended up losing that game.

But they kept on scrapping right to the end and I thought Ben Davies, in particular, was magnificent in the closing stages.

His attitude, the way he battled after moving into central defence, was wonderful.

It was almost like he became a man last weekend.

Palace had struggled in the first half, but they really put Swansea under pressure when they reverted to Tony Pulis-type after the break.

I call it alehouse football — the sort of thing you would see on the parks — when teams try to get it from back to front as quickly as possible.

I am not knocking the approach. It can be effective, as we saw last Sunday.

Swansea were hanging on in the last 20 minutes, which was the result of their fatigue and Palace's change of tactics.

It is understandable that the Swansea lads were flagging.

It has been a very tough spell with one game after another, and it will be great for everyone to get a rest.

Swansea should be in much better shape by the time West Brom arrive — although the Baggies might have noticed a chink in the armour.

Not for the first time, Swansea struggled to cope when Palace pressed them high up the field and launched the ball forward at every opportunity.

West Brom, and a few others, must have noticed as much.

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6 comments

  • EDW11108273  |  March 07 2014, 3:10PM

    how do you know when lj is talking **** , his lips move

    |   5
  • yankytaff  |  March 07 2014, 8:54AM

    We could argue forever over whether it was right to sack ML, if the squad are now playing better etc and there will always be a lot of differing opinions, truth is if we stay in the PL it will become a moot point anyway. If we do stay up I'm more concerned about the attitude to transfers HJ and the board have, whatever your views on Laudrup there's no denying he had a eye for a bargain when it came to buying/loaning players and the pull to get them, where would we be without Pablo, Michu, Chico, JDG and the rest of ML's signings. I can't say I've been that impressed with Emnes he's done ok but I think the midfielders we already had are better, I'm wondering why we loaned N'Gog he's not had a glimpse of the pitch. There was an article in the mail about a month ago showing how much each PL team had spent over the past 3 seasons looking at what was spent on players against what clubs had made. Swansea were the lowest spenders, it averaged out to £3 million per season over the past 3 seasons, 3 million that is a season is not a lot for a PL club. We are going to lose some of out players though I don't think there'll be the mass exodus some are predicting, but Bony, Davies maybe Michu and Vorm could well be on the move over the next season or 2. Who will we get to replace them, 1 things for sure no matter who the manager is we won't get the quality needed to maintain PL status if HJ and the board continue to push the shopping cart up and down the aisle of the championship league.

    |   5
  • CroJack  |  March 07 2014, 5:01AM

    "I can see that things have changed when the players are warming up." Leighton, are you serious? "Six weeks ago, it looked as though the players were going through the motions." Six weeks ago we beat Fulham, Birmingham and Manchester United at Old Traford. We also played a very good game against Manchester City. Here is what BBC reporter said about our performance: "But the Welsh side, who have still only managed two home league wins all season, will be buoyed by the quality and level of performance in a pulsating and open encounter played in the teeming rain at the Liberty Stadium. But despite falling behind to Fernandinho's brilliant, controlled low shot following a half-cleared corner, and losing Pablo Hernandez to injury, Swansea refused to buckle against their free-scoring, in-form opponents. A pulsating first half ended with Swansea well on top and threatening to over-run their hosts, but it was the visitors who showed first." So, Leighton, it is not true when you say that "the players were going through the motions." You say that in the second half against Crystal Palace " the players looked mentally tired as well as physically worn out". I thought double training sessions and passion would solved that problem. This is not the first time this season that Swansea had "a very tough spell with one game after another", but this is the first time we had, apart from Michu, a fully fit squad. Just have a look: 16., 19., 22., 25., 28. September, 3., 6., 24., 27. October, 3., 7., 10. November. And this one I call a tough spell: 1., 4., 9., 12., 15., 22., 26., 28. December with following games on 1., 5., and 11. January. So, our players were not tired and injured in December and January, and losing or drawing games was you-know-who's fault, but now when they draw against Palace at the Liberty it's not you-know-who's fault, they are just tired. Sick logic. "A couple of months ago, Swansea would have ended up losing that game." Bull****.

    |   10
  • Vildmis  |  March 07 2014, 12:13AM
    |   2
  • Vildmis  |  March 06 2014, 10:39PM

    LJ, "A couple of months ago, Swansea would have ended up losing that game" you write. Well, I've just checked up on it and Swansea have not in the intire season, had a lead that ended up with a loss.. And away it was WBA 0-2 Swansea , Norwich 1-1 Swansea (crystal p 0-2 Swansea) but go ahead and keep on insisting this your momentum, only it's a stolen one (;

    |   7
  • CroJack  |  March 06 2014, 5:00PM

    There are 30 points to play for. Many thought West Ham were heading for the Championship and suddenly they won four games in a row. West Brom game is crucial for us, if we lose or draw it we'll be in a difficult situation because we have two following away games against Everton and Arsenal. Arsenal game is scheduled to be played in midweek which means we have only a couple of days rest before we play our bogey team Norwich.

    |   4

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