By February 27, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Siu’s View: Swansea City Glory, EPL Round 27 Recap, Bale Tribute, and Beckham Debut


Swansea City celebrates with the trophy after winning the Capital One Cup-Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images

In my weekly column on SWOL, I take a look back at the weekend’s English Premier League and domestic cup action and the talking points that it throws up, as well as any significant news related to English football at large.

Follow me @theredarmchair for regular updates throughout the week.

Swansea’s Rise to Europe

If you haven’t heard, Swansea City are Capital One Cup (or League Cup) winners. If you haven’t heard, their financial prudence, fan ownership and appealing playing philosophy of the club are attracting plaudits all over England (and soon Europe, too). And if you haven’t heard, just ten years ago they were on the brink of exiting the Football League.

If it all sounds too good to be true, it really isn’t. You’ve probably heard me wax lyrical over their achievements and progress in the top flight, and by now you probably know that I’ve become a Swans fan, too.

Their League Cup triumph is both a deserved reward and testament to the way the club is run. We all know about the bargain signings. We know about the astute appointment of Michael Laudrup. Now, we will find out how they will fare in the Europa League next season, in what would be just their third season as Wales’ only representative in the Premier League. This story isn’t over, yet.

EPL Round 27 Recap: 12-Point United, Dominant City, Last-Gasp Norwich, Losing Reading

We are now 11 games from the end of the Premier League season, and Manchester United maintain a 12-point lead at the top of the tree courtesy of a clean 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers. Both goals were remarkable in their own way: Ryan Giggs scored in his 999th senior appearance, continuing the Giggs legend that has graced English football for over 20 years; and Rafael da Silva hit a scrumptious effort from the edge of the box. United fans will be disheartened by Robin van Persie’s injury, but maintaining their gap on will be their key focus from the game.

If Manchester City are close to surrendering their league title, they don’t look it. True, it was a listless performance on Chelsea’s part, but Roberto Mancini’s side kept their cool and finished with a dominant victory. More specifically, Yaya Toure kept his cool as he took the ball outside the area and shimmied past two Chelsea defenders with a drop of the shoulder. His curled finish was just as impressive as Carlos Tevez’s effort from the edge of the box, and indeed it was the Argentinean who made the difference off the bench. Chelsea, on the other hand, are now sucked into a fight for the top four.

We’ve seen some great never-say-die moments from Everton in recent years, but at Carrow Road they had a taste of their own medicine as they succumbed to a last-gasp defeat to Norwich City. Substitute Kei Kamara, just like Tevez, made all the difference. The on-loan striker first showed up with a powerful header after evading the attention of Marouane Fellaini. And, he provided a close-range tap-in for Grant Holt to seal all three points right at the death. Another setback for the Champions League-chasing Merseysiders.

If a drop from the Champions League means Europa League action, then a step down from the Premier League means Championship involvement next season, and that is the predicament facing Reading. Wigan Athletic turned in an impressive performance with two well-taken goals from Arouna Kone. But, after an impressive January when super-sub Adam Le Fondre and manager Brian McDermott completed a historic Player/Manager of the Month double, they remain mired at the bottom of the table after a clichéd relegation six-pointer. The Royals now have 11 games to drag themselves back up to safety.

Gareth Bale: Best Player in England?

It’s been a brilliant few weeks for Gareth Bale, who has turned in performance after world-class performance for Tottenham Hotspur recently. So, when Spurs needed a moment of inspiration at Upton Park, it was no surprise that Bale was the one who provided the difference with a magical strike against West Ham United. The goal brought his recent tally to eight goals in six games, and 19 for the season across all competitions.

So now, with the likes of Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez hitting new heights this season, the question must be asked: Is Gareth Bale the best player in England? On current form, he may well be.

Beckham-Watch: PSG Debut vs. Marseille

What would a roundup of English football be if it didn’t include an update on English football’s poster boy, Mr. David Beckham? After a much-hyped and high-profile January switch to French Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, Beckham finally made his debut this weekend against Olympique Marseille, coming on in the second half and playing central midfield. For a player who hasn’t taken to the field in some time, Beckham showed signs that he could still offer a bit to Carlo Ancelotti’s team in the last few months of the season. Indeed, it was his sprayed pass that led to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal, PSG’s
second of the night. The Beckham legend continues.

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