Swans front four rediscover scoring touch

Posted by Max Hicks

Michu celebrates giving Swansea the lead against QPRGettyImagesMichu celebrates giving Swansea the lead against QPR

The re-match of the Swans opening game of the season was another five goal thriller, although one of the goals went Queens Park Rangers' way this time. Swansea put in a committed attacking performance to win 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium as Michael Laudrup fielded perhaps Swansea's most potent starting line-up.

Last November, a West Bromwich Albion side enjoying their best ever start to a Premier League campaign were given an unexpected kick in the particulars by a fluid, ruthless Swansea City performance. The Swans won that game 3-1, largely due to the chemistry of their front four that day: Nathan Dyer, Pablo Hernandez, Wayne Routledge and Michu.

Although the line-up was both experimental (it featured three wingers, with Pablo in the hole instead of out wide) and made necessary by injuries, it was certainly effective. That Swansea performance still ranks as the side's best of their Premier League career, but a dearth of cover options out wide has meant Michael Laudrup has been reluctant to field that combination of players since.

After scoring in just one of the past four matches, the Swans attack couldn't have looked less like finding the net if they'd have fielded four Emile Heskeys up front. With new winger Roland Lamah, signed during last month's transfer window, sitting on the bench, and no new striker to allow Michu to withdraw back into the hole, Laudrup decided to let the four horsemen of the soccerpocalypse ride once again: Dyer, Pablo and Routledge playing behind Michu.

The result? Michu breaks a six game drought with a brace, whilst Pablo and full-back Angel Rangel add to QPR's misery in the Swans best attacking performance in weeks. Sure, it was a game against the bottom club, but QPR's defence had been improving recently. There is definitely some powerful chemistry at work amongst that combination of Swansea players, and the addition of cover-option Lamah suggests this is a line-up Laudrup can lean on a little more now.

I had expected to see Lamah come off the bench in relief of one winger or the other for the last 25 or 30 minutes, but instead, Laudrup chose to introduce midfielder Kemy Agustien in place of Routledge, who had taken a knock. Pablo slid over into Routledge's left wing position, Jonathan de Guzman pushed forward into the hole to replace Pablo, and Agustien slotted into de Guzman's space in deep midfield. It was an appropriately defensive substitution in the circumstances, but it demonstrated how much flexibility and versatility this Swansea side has.

Laudrup spoke of assembling a small and versatile squad upon his arrival in Wales; he has done just that. I admit I had my concerns after Laudrup had been unable to find a new striker last month after allowing Danny Graham to leave. On the evidence of Saturday's performance, that state of affairs was just another step in the evolution of this club. I fully expect Laudrup to re-tool the frontline in the summer, after Itay Shechter's loan and Luke Moore's contract have expired, but in the meantime, it seems the Swans won't need to worry about goals after all.

Final thoughts :

Positives : More net than a fishwife's laundry basket. Watching the four horsemen run riot.

Negatives : A few worrying injuries: Routledge, Chico and Michu all left the field with knocks.

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