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Can Swansea swim out of relegation waters without Paul Clement?

Saturday 23rd December 2017

Paul Clement has breasted the tape in the sack race as was already predicted. The Swansea City hierarchy was left with no other choice than to make the hard call given the position of the club on the league table. When a club finds itself at the bottom of the table at Christmas, it is usually a bad omen. History shows that most clubs do not make it out of the relegation zone when the roll is called up in May. So something drastic had to be done to avoid the dreaded drop.

When speaking on the club’s decision to relieve Clement of his duties, the club chairman Huw Jenkins stated that making a managerial change halfway in the season “was the last thing we wanted to do”. He went ahead to state: “We felt we couldn’t leave it any longer and needed to make a change to give the best chance of an uplift.

We had three different managers last season and as a result, we all wanted to give Paul as much chance as possible to turn things around,” he continued.

Yes, quite understandably the club did give Clement “as much time as possible”, but could that turn out to be a mistake? Swansea City now finds itself in a position that makes it extremely difficult to beat the drop this season. Perhaps “as much time” became too much time.

That is not to say leading the Swans out of the relegation zone is impossible. Others have done it. Even Clement himself did it with the club last season. But the odds are stacked against the club this time around.

From what we’ve seen so far, the relegation fight will likely be a long and hard one this season. Crystal Palace started the season at the bottom of the table. After four games, it looked like the club was destined for the drop. But a timely change of manager has transformed the club’s fortunes. From struggle to get a single goal, the club has gone on to win back to back games, thrashing Leicester City 0-3 away from home recently to climb to 14th position on the table.

West Ham United found itself in similar conditions struggling to stay away from the drop zone. But making the hard call earlier on by sacking the manager, Slaven Bilic and replacing him with David Moyes has seen results change recently and the club moving out of the unwanted zone. Perhaps an even better example is Everton who also replaced their manager on time and the club under their new manager Sam Allardyce has been transformed. Only West Bromwich Albion is yet to experience the new manager effect. The team remains in the relegation zone despite the recent change of managers.

For Swansea City, it may be worse.

As every successful business person will tell you, time and timing are vital to success. Could Swansea have left it too late? Well, of course, it is also said: “better late than never”. The most important factors now maybe who takes over as the new manager and the reinforcements during the January transfer window.

If the club appoints a good fit and is able to make a few signings that can solidify the team in both defence and attack, the team could bounce back in the second half of the season.

It goes without saying that the club is facing an uphill task in its quest to maintain its Premier League status. After letting key players like Ashley Williams and Gylfi Sigurdsson go without adequate replacements, the chickens do come home to roost. But looking at the team’s fixture list for the remainder of the season shows it can make a comeback after strengthening in a couple of departments.

Apart from the tops six clubs, the team lost to Newcastle, Watford, West Ham, Leicester, Brighton, Burnley, and Stoke City while drawing against Southampton and Bournemouth. A better performance in the second half of the season by winning most of these matches while taking points off some of the top six clubs as well will secure safety. But it is easier said than done.

So the big question remains: can the Swans swim out of the relegation waters this season?

Emmanuel Odey

Emmanuel is a freelance journalist who lives and breathes the round leather game. He is a contributor on several platforms. You can follow him on Twitter for more.

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