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Premier League preview: Swansea v Sunderland

30 August 2012 12:56

Brendan Rodgers' departure has not seen the dawn of collapse as many expected at Swansea with the club thriving near the top of the table.

Last season's Premier League newcomers impressed under Rodgers with their attractive brand of football but have shown the same attacking flair under his replacement Michael Laudrup.

The Welsh side are riding high ahead of Saturday's clash with Sunderland having disposed of QPR 5-0 with a finishing clinic, before a comfortable 3-0 victory over promoted West Ham at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

The club have recruited exceptionally well with defender Chico (Genoa) and midfielder Michu (Rayo Vallecano) joining for less than five million pounds combined, while Joe Allen departed to Liverpool for the handsome fee of 15 million pounds.

Winger Scott Sinclair was not in the squad for Swansea's opening two wins with rumours suggesting he is set to join Manchester City, but even with his imminent move and the capture of record-signing Ki Sung-Yueng from Celtic, the club has collected significant funds.

Michu leads the league with three goals already and could prove the bargain buy of the season at two-and-a-half million euros.

The hard-working midfielder's early season form may have come as a surprise to Premier League regulars, but his 15 goals for cash-strapped Rayo Vallecano in La Liga last season before they were forced to offload him, displayed his undoubted quality.

And Sinclair's absence has given the superb Wayne Routledge a chance to prove himself on the right of a front three.

The winger, who was little more than a bit-part player under Rodgers last term, is now thriving under Laudrup.

"Wayne has everything for this position. He has a good pass, he is quick, he has good vision, he turns fast with the ball," Laudrup said.

"In my way of seeing football, if the wide players remain wide they close down the full-backs.

"If they are there, there is no space for them, no room, and you also have fewer players in the centre of the pitch to move the ball around, so the wide players are very important for us."

Sung-Yeung was not eligible for the West Ham match but the South Korea international is likely to start against Sunderland with Martin O'Neill's side set to unleash two new signings of their own in Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson.

Fletcher joined from relegated Wolverhampton and Johnson from Manchester City in a double deal worth over 20 million pounds, with the pair certain to boost Sunderland's attack.

The former Wolves front man was denied the chance to make a swift debut when Sunderland's fixture with Reading was called off due to poor rain on Saturday, but both 25-year-olds are likely to line up at the Liberty Stadium in what looms as an intriguing clash.

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Monday 21 April

Sunday 20 April

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Saturday 19 April

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
16 33 -11 33
17 35 -28 32
18 35 -34 30
19 35 -42 30
20 34 -24 29

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