Paulo Sousa: What to expect

Despite reaching their highest league position since 1983 Swansea fans had very little to cheer about last season, literally. Paulo Sousa’s side scored just 21 league goals at the Liberty Stadium last term meaning your average Swansea season ticket holder paid approximately £17.86 for each home goal.

Infuriatingly, Swansea fans could have covered the cost of their season ticket by backing boredom. Last season the Swans featured in a yawn inducing 10 goalless draws. Savvy punters, by placing £10 on every Swansea match failing to trouble the scoreboard, could have waked away with a profit of £390 come May.

Is this what we have to look forward to?

The case for the defence is that Sousa had very little in terms of attacking talent. Swansea were definitely left with a Jason Scotland sized hole at the heart of attack, and his replacements never looked like filling the gap. Darren Pratley, a midfielder, was the club’s top scorer with seven league goals.

Further, it wasn’t as if Leicester set the scoring charts alight last season. Away from home the two sides shared almost identical records. The Foxes took two extra points and scored two more than Swansea, Sousa’s side conceded two fewer.

What Swansea needed but never got was that little extra killer instinct. Leicester won 14 games by a single goal and drew 13 matches; Swansea won 11 matches by the odd goal and drew 18. The gap between the two teams come the end of the season was seven points. Put simply, four more Swansea goals in the regular season could have seen Leicester playing Forest in the play-offs and Sousa’s side making the short trip to Cardiff.

Financial restraints certainly made it difficult for Sousa to improve his squad’s toothless attack. Indeed in the transfer market it’s hard to make too many concrete judgements about Sousa’s capabilities. The only transfer fee he paid was to Southampton to make Nathan Dyer’s loan move a permanent one. I’m sure there are few Swansea fans who would disagree with the wisdom of that decision, but given that his predecessor had brought Dyer to the club in the first place we can hardly praise the Portuguese boss for Craig Shakespearian scouting.

In the loan market Shefki Kuqi’s goals brought vital wins at Crystal Palace, Watford and Derby, but he didn’t exactly set the Championship alight. Craig Beattie managed 3 goals in a dozen starts and a further 11 substitute appearances. But these are the chances you take with the loan market, sometimes they take off spectacularly (Mark Davis, Jack Hobbs, Martyn Waghorn) and sometimes they don’t (Ryan McGivern, Astrit Ajdarevic).

What we can expect is possession football and lots of it. Swansea had the majority of possession in 32 (70%) of their league matches last season. By contrast Leicester managed this in only 18 (39%) of their Championship games.

So in summary, Foxes fans will see more of the ball, but possibly less of it in the net and would probably do well to hedge bets on a few goalless draws. Let’s get that promotion bandwagon rolling.

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