What a start for Swansea. Michael Laudrup starts his tenure in style and makes an emphatic statement about things to come in the post-Rodgers era.
In the year 410 CE, when Alaric the Goth sacked Rome, and the last two legions departed from Britain to defend the heart of the crumbling empire, many on the island, especially the Romanized Britons, must’ve hoped desperately that one day they would see the eagle standards bounding along the horizon once again, for without the sword-backed protection of their Roman overclass, the wild humans on the fringes (the Picts, Saxons, and Celtic tribes) would’ve surely caused much anxiety. Life after Mother Rome could’ve gone in any (terrifying) direction. But as it always does, life went on. “It is not the end of the world,” the Britons might have said in comfort, “we can pick up where the legions left off, we can get on with things—we’ll be fine.”
Not to be too dramatic, but this same feeling of dread seemed to surround Swansea this summer, with wild speculation and acute anxiety dominating many of the conversations that about what life would be like in the deep dark woods of the second season without the protection of Mother Rome, in this case Rodgers’ staff and key players, who departed much like the Roman legions, without fanfare, trumpets, or the recoiling of red carpets. And sure enough, with the season now underway, life seems to be moving along just fine at Swansea. (Whew.)
Sure, this is only one game, and the first match of the season at that. But if Swansea’s 5-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road yesterday is any augury of things to come, then Swans fans everywhere can take a collective sigh of relief knowing that life after Brendan Rodgers is going to be okay (say it again, all together this time: things are going to be okay). Michael Laudrup couldn’t have asked for a better start to his league tenure, securing the first opening-day win for the Swans in their last seven attempts.
And perhaps an even better sign for Swansea City is that Laudrup’s signings didn’t take long to impress—or get on the score sheet. Michu, the 26-year-old midfielder who was signed for £2m from Rayo Vallecano in the summer, notched a goal in each half, the first being a fantastic strike from just outside the area, which he dinked off the lower right post and into the back of the net. His second was perhaps even better: a beautifully curled one-touch chip into the upper left corner. The goals put Swansea up 2-0 and they were in the driver’s seat from then on, with old favorites Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair adding three more to the tally.
These kinds of wins are hard to come by in the Premier League, and so to start with such a confidence booster is surely just what the doctor ordered for Laudrup as he embarks on this maiden voyage, of sorts. With concerns over the shell-shock of Brendan Rodgers’ unceremonious departure, the talk of “second season syndrome,” and just the sheer madness that is the usual pre-season speculation, an opening-day thrashing of a usually decent side away from Liberty is a result that Laudrup could have probably only dreamed of.
Now the task becomes building on this momentum and getting a solid start out of the gate in the first few weeks. A little cushion will come in handy as the season grinds on and opponents gel, get fitter, and hone more tactics to combat one’s system.
But for today, we’ll celebrate. Let’s leave thinking about the next match, and all the matches to come, for tomorrow.