Possession obsession to seal out-of-sorts Swansea’s relegation

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It wasn’t so long ago that rumours surrounding Michael Laudrup’s future at Swansea looked certain to end before the season was through.

That chatter hasn’t died down in the subsequent weeks and the Dane was the hot favourite to be the next manager to leave before betting was suspended in the market.

The uncertainty over the manager’s job security makes the 10/1 on the Liberty Stadium side to be relegated a fantastic bet, but that’s not the sole reason.

After two seasons of a possession-based footballing style, it seems that the rest of the English top flight has worked out how to conquer the Swans.

That was very apparent in the recent 2-0 defeat to West Ham, where Laudrup’s charges had an extra man for over half an hour yet failed to register a single shot on target in that time.

Normally playing against 10 men would be a situation Swansea would revel in, with the ability to pass a side to death an even more achievable feat thanks to the numerical advantage. Yet the Hammers, who haven’t been the most frightening sides of late, were easily able to hold on to their supremacy.

That’s a real worry for the south Wales club, especially as they seem incapable of utilising their obvious skill in keeping the ball to creating clear chances.

The Swans still retain the most possession in the Premier League at 59.9 percent, however they take over half of their shots from outside the area.

It’s a polar opposite problem to what fellow pass-masters Arsenal suffered from a few seasons ago, where they became obsessed with getting as close to the goal as possible before attempting a shot.

While going nowhere with the ball, Swansea have ground to halt results wise too, picking up just six in the last 30 available.

So unless they can find a way out of their sideways-passing problems, their love affair with the Premier League could be coming to an end.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.