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Swansea City remain in trouble, with only a 3-point cushion from the relegation zone, though they have been in great form lately and were impressive in their 4-1 win over a toothless West Ham recently. Here’s why they are likely to survive the drop:
While it’s true that the initial influence a new manager has can often wane at just the wrong moment, I feel what Carlos Carvalhal has brought to Swansea is different and his presence in the dugout now can only mean positive things in the short to medium term.
For a relegation candidate, he came in from the start with a bright, jokey, cheery exterior and I can only think that this rubbed off immediately on to a bunch of players who were either feeling sorry for themselves or were suffering a crisis of confidence.
He’s the type that would say to his players “it’s only a game of football, go and enjoy it” and his troops have certainly responded. I don’t see his influence lessening in the next set of games.
I hate casting aspersions (or do I?) but it seems that too often when something is going right at a club, the players all want to play. Their niggles are forgotten about and they are “fit to take part”. It’s a different story when the going gets tough though.
True, there is a perpetual argument about whether players cry off injured when their team is at the bottom or whether they are at the bottom because their players are injured but I know what pattern I see!
In Swansea’s case though, save for a couple of genuine on-field injuries to the likes of Leroy Fer, they have a squad of players who are putting their hands up, wanting to play, and that’s huge for a team in trouble.
With Southampton, West Brom and Everton to play in the meantime, the in-form Swans may have picked up crucial points before getting to the last two games of the season, but those last two look perfect for them at this point.
I firmly believe that by the time Swansea go to Bournemouth in early May, the Cherries will have played their way to safety and may not have quite the same desire as Carvalhal’s men. Furthermore, I think Stoke will already be down so if it comes to the last game of the season at the Liberty to get out of trouble, I’d back the Swans to do it.