Following a terrible time in the League last season that saw the South Wales club scrapping through the relegation to survive at the last moment, manager Paul Clement would hope his men have passed the storm of inconsistency and loss of confidence, as they kick-off their campaign against Southampton on Saturday.
Former Arsenal goalie Lukasz Fabianski will start under the bar once again. The Polish international has been one of Swansea’s best player although their calamitous defence last term hardly gave him any window to perform.
The Swans conceded a whopping 70 goals last season and survived the relegation quite miraculously. Clement wouldn’t want a slow start this time at any cost and would hope the back line keeps their pre- season form intact. The back four are expected to be Martin Olsson, Alfie Mawson, Federico Fernandez and Kyle Naughton.
Swansea did well to hold on to the young English centre half, Mawson, from the preying eyes of Tottenham Hotspur this summer and the 23-year-old is expected to have a breakthrough this season after he showed his potential occasionally last time.
Cement does have some options in his midfield and we expect him to have a tough time selecting the three players. With the arrival of Roque Mesa from La Liga side UD Las Palmas, we expect Dutch international Leroy Fer to take the bench.
With the experienced skipper Leon Britton as the holding midfielder, Clement is expected to play Tom Carroll and Mesa in the attacking midfield. Swansea City could score only 45 goals last season, which was one of the main reasons for their debacle. The inclusion of Mesa is sure to make fans excited.
Defensive midfielder Sung-Yong Ki remains out for a long term following his knee injury, which leaves Clement with very little options in the midfield that would provide a cushion to his central defence when on counters.
The three-man attack isn’t expected to change either. Although Swansea have brought in the talented Tammy Abraham from Chelsea on loan, we expect the manager to start with the experienced Fernando Llorente. The Spaniard had played a key role in Swansea’s late revival last season and with Gylfi Sigurdsson behind him, Clement can hope for magic yet again.
The Icelandic international has been heavily linked with a move away from the Liberty Stadium this summer, but the manager hopes it doesn’t hamper his temperament ahead of the game. He is likely to start alongside Jordan Ayew.