A remarkable turnaround in form has seen Russell Martin’s Swansea City side record four wins in a row for the first time in what seems forever (it’s actually three years) – but it’s the qualities on display that have made it more phwoarr than merely four…
Our early season frailties had the alarm bells ringing for many, and the knives out from some as the Swans showed a soft side and a catastrophic ability to self destruct at the last minute.
The meek surrender at home to a limited Luton side left many in the Swans.Com stands fearing the worst and with little to no resources to bolster the squad it looked like a long, hard winter ahead.
Fast forward a few weeks and everything looks and feels very different; Martin’s side are playing with an energy and a vibrancy that was present in fleeting spells last season, but they are also digging in and showing the fighting spirit needed to be successful.
The comeback away win at West Brom totally encapsulated that new found resilience and whilst we are still prone to the odd period of self inflicted problems, on the whole we are looking a much tougher nut for opponents to crack.
And Martin deserves a bucketload of praise for the upturn in form.
I did exactly that for an article in the just published SOS fanzine, singing the manager’s praises with the help of local superstar Bonnie Tyler:-
I’ve been critical of Martin at times, most of my criticism borne of frustration that he wouldn’t learn lessons. However, over the last six games there have been subtle changes that suggest that he is now learning – and we look so much better for it.
The biggest change has been Benda for Fisher in goal, but allied to that has been the switch to a more pragmatic approach at the back. The gut clenching, stomach churning, hair tearing, calamitous short goal kick routine has finally been thrown on to a tyre fire where it belongs, and Benda appears to have more license to ‘play what he sees’ when clearing his lines.
The introduction of Oli Cooper too has been instrumental in our improvement, his tireless energy and subtle skills in the 10 role giving us a creative edge AND an extra defender from the front – a job that previous incumbents Paterson and Ntcham sem unwilling to do.
And Martin gets points for bringing Jay Fulton in from the cold – the defensive midfielder got his chance due to Joe Allen’s injury and boy has he made the most of it! The Scot is suddenly flourishing in a Martin team and he’s played an integral part in delivering five wins out of six.
There’s a shoutout to Ryan Manning too who is in the form of his life at the moment, taking the pressure off Martin by suddenly looking like the type of wingback that’s needed to make the manager’s style of play function effectively. Throw in the rapidly improving Matty Sorinola on the other side and we suddenly have the ‘go forward’ that was sadly lacking at the start of the season.
Fair play to Russ, he’s somehow turned our form and our performances on their heads and taken us from relegation zone lurkers to play off spot holders. And he’s done it in some style too.