Yesterday was a good day. Not quite stealing the words of Captain Sir Tom Moore but close to them as Andre Ayew scored once and Jamal Lowe twice as the Swans recorded a first win in five to strengthen their grip on a play off place which is starting to look much more comfortable again all of a sudden.
The last four games prior to Millwall have been painful to watch, the eight or so that preceded it were equally as painful. A couple of disputed penalties going in the opposite direction decision wise and we could easily have started yesterday’s game outside the top six.
We all know that the chances of top two has now passed us by (although the calculators will still tell you that is not the case) so the chance remains now for us to come through the lottery that is the play offs and take the third promotion spot via that route.
On yesterday’s showing we are capable of that. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Brentford put five past a side that had drawn with Norwich and beaten us in their last two and Bournemouth scored four at the Vitality again as they continued their current excellent form. And, of course, Barnsley win more than they don’t these days so, if we can hit that form, then it could be a closely contested play offs that right now (on the last game certainly) would be very difficult to call.
I enjoyed the game yesterday and for a period – certainly directly after Millwall hit the post at the start of the second half – I thought we looked as good as we have done for several months. The play was fluent, the chances were being created and we looked, once again, like a football team. Lowe’s two goals were as excellently taken as they were welcome and the 3-0 scoreline did not flatter us although it could have been different had that chance not hit the post. Maybe for a change the luck of the ball was with us and we certainly made the most of it.
The key question that we need to know though is which one is the real Swansea City. Is it the one that has looked so toothless in recent games. The one that struggles to put together a succession of passes and creates very little. Or the one that passes the ball around, creates movement and not only creates chances but finishes them with style.
If it is the latter then Premier League football could well beckon us at the end of the season but if it is the former then the play offs will probably be achieved but it will be a relatively quick process for us to sit back and then watch the final two battle it out in the final.
The simplicity of the situation is we are 40 games into a 46 game season and we have 72 points on the board. That is more than we managed last season so already we have improved. We are 4th in the table, a point behind 3rd place. We are not 4th because we are lucky or average. We are 4th right now because over those 40 games we have been the 4th best team in the league. It is often said the league table doesn’t lie. In the early stages of a season it can give false impressions but right now it is a fair reflection of the season to date.
There are six games left to play and it could change of course but we should take comfort from the fact we are 4th. Our remaining games are not easy but the next two are against the bottom two in the division so we should be aiming for maximum returns. Get a win from just one of them and we can start planning for an extended season. Get them from two and we can probably start thinking of a top four place that does give home advantage in the second leg of the ties.
The title of this article though was would the real Swansea City please stand up with the follow up question naturally being which one is the real Swansea City and, for me, it is the one that is closer to the one we saw yesterday than the one we saw in the preceding four games. How much closer remains to be seen but yesterday we should have turned a corner, Steve Cooper and his side need to build on that now and give us more of the same Tuesday night.
There is plenty left to play for, keep on believing until there is no hope?