The case for Swansea being a monster bet for top-four finish

Despite drawing at Chelsea and winning at home to Manchester United already through the opening four gameweeks of this Premier League season, Swansea are still not being considered as realistic challengers to finish in the top four.

This may be considered as fair enough by the majority, as the Swans headed into September in second spot 12 months ago after winning their opening three games, but could only finish eighth.

However, there are reasons to believe that Garry Monk’s team are far better equipped to make a longer-term fist of qualifying for the Champions League this time and 25/1 looks fair value that they end the campaign in the top four.

Swansea currently lie fourth after taking eight points through their first four matches and this position has proved a prudent place to be in recent seasons at the start of September.

In each of the last three campaigns the team to occupy this spot has gone on to finish in the top four. Manchester City did last season, Arsenal managed to in 2013/14 and the Citizens again in the season previous.

Meanwhile, even considering their tough start in terms of fixtures, Swansea are carrying a far greater goal threat this term.

Only Sunderland, West Brom and Aston Villa had fewer goal attempts than the Swans last season, with Wilfried Bony remaining their top league scorer on nine goals despite moving to Manchester City in the January transfer window.

This time Swansea sit fourth from the top, rather than bottom, in terms of attempts on goal and are trumped by only Arsenal, Man City and Southampton.

Bafetimbi Gomis has netted in all four of their Premier League outings, while Andre Ayew is already developing into a reliable partner in crime with goals in both of his appearances in the Liberty Stadium.

Jefferson Montero now seems settled and is terrorising full-backs and in the middle of midfield Monk looks to have the full deck of options.

Gylfi Sigurdsson possesses a goal threat with 13 chances already, Jonjo Shelvey is the probing passer and only Santi Cazorla has created more chances from midfield, Jack Cork is the top-flight’s top midfield interceptor and Ki Sung-Yueng is the box-to-box runner that is capable of scoring goals and disrupting play.

Meanwhile, at the back only Manuel Pellegrini’s league leaders have conceded fewer chances from inside their box.

The upcoming fixture list isn’t especially unkind to Swansea, with a run of games in the pipeline against the likes of Everton, Southampton and Tottenham, who are others considered more likely than most to burst into the top four.

If the Swans emerge from this with a reasonable points tally, Champions League qualification won’t seem as unrealistic as many may think now.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.