Fourteen league games unbeaten at the Liberty – 34 points from a possible 42 – was a great end to last season and a superb start to this one. Throw in four cup wins and the narrowest of defeats to the almost invincible Man City and you have a run that any side would be proud of.
But all that has changed in recent weeks with defeats to Nottingham Forest and Stoke sandwiched either side of a draw against Reading and the Swans form at the Liberty has become stuttering again.
Ask the manager of any side in any division and they will talk about making their ground a fortress and that will be as true for the Swans as anyone. This week will therefore become a pivotal week for the club with home fixtures against both Brentford and Cardiff – on paper- looking like games that we should win even if you take away the unpredictability of a derby fixture on Sunday.
What makes the recent home results more frustrating is that against both Reading and Stoke we took the lead inside the opening minutes which should allow for the team to relax but it seems to have the opposite effect where we become more static, lazy in passing the ball and sitting back more instead of pressing home the advantage.
The frustrations then come when we look at the fact that we are unbeaten away from home in six games this season but have been beaten twice at the Liberty in the same number of appearances. Even remaining unbeaten would see us sitting at the top of the table and that is something that you would imagine is not lost on Steve Cooper and certainly something he will be looking to address ahead of the two home games this week.
The one thing we have to see more of at the Liberty is the side moving forward with urgency and pace rather than the static attacks we seem to see. We know that sides are likely to come here and sit behind the ball and moving the ball around without that pace will make it very difficult for us to break them down. As the game then progresses – as the last three games have shown – the opposition will become more confident and grow in the belief that they can steal at least a point from what they will view as one of their trickiest trips of the season.
We proved over the back end of last season what we can achieve at the Liberty and that has to start again now – there are six home league games between now and Christmas, we should be looking to come out of those unbeaten with at least 12 points on the board particularly as there are some tricky looking away trips in between them.
Fortress Liberty must return and that will start with us becoming more brave and building on any excellent starts but believing from the outset that we will win the game. We know we can do it