Enjoying a good start to the season can provide Premier League teams with the confidence and belief that they can fulfil their objectives, and enjoy a successful campaign. Swansea and Southampton have started where they left off from last season with excellent, eye-catching performances that have seen both clubs soar to the top of the table. It may be too early to suggest that either will be able to sustain their early season form and challenge for a Champions League spot, but they meet in Week 5 at the Liberty Stadium in one of the stand-out fixtures. Positioned third and fourth respectively in the league, it promises to be an intriguing game between two enterprising teams who play fast, free-flowing football. Punters may face a difficult task choosing a winner when analysing the latest Premier League odds, but Swansea’s excellent form on home soil makes them slight favourites at 2.45
Garry Monk’s stock continues to rise in the world of football management as August’s Manager of the Month has transformed Swansea into a stable Premier League club. The 35-year old has carried on the good work of former manager Michael Laudrup and stamped his own authority on the team, with excellent acquisitions during the summer transfer window illustrating his developing shrewdness in all areas. Monk has provided Swansea with supreme confidence to play football wherever possible and express themselves on the pitch, with the players responding with excellent performances. Three consecutive victories against Manchester United, Burnley and West Ham were the end result, although Swansea lost 4-2 in an highly enthralling game against Chelsea in Week 4 – a game in which both teams began with 100% records.
Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer have been in sparkling form this season, with the latter hitting the goal trail early with three goals in four games. Gylfi Sigurdsson looks a rejuvenated player following his return to Swansea after a brief spell at Tottenham, although Monk may look to Wilfried Bony to turn his endeavour and work rate upfront into goals. An untimely injury to Jordi Amat may hamper Swansea’s chances of recording their third straight clean sheet at the Liberty Stadium, with the young Spaniard looking assured alongside Ashley Williams at centre-back.
Being a victim of their own success threatened to derail Southampton who took the Premier League by storm last season under former manager Mauricio Pochettino, but Ronald Koeman deserves credit for rebuilding the team. Back-to-back victories against West Ham and Newcastle illustrated how the players have bought into Koeman’s philosophy, with the ethos of playing fast, free-flowing football remaining a prominent feature. Keeping hold of Morgan Schneiderlin could turn out to be Southampton’s best piece of business this summer, although Fraser Forster and Graziano Pelle already represent excellent value for money. The latter joins Schneiderlin as the club’s top scorer with three goals apiece as Koeman’s attacking mentality has paid dividends; seven goals in two games demonstrates that the Saints have found their shooting boots early despite the long-term absence of star striker Jay Rodriguez. Despite being slight underdogs at 2.90, Southampton have more than enough to cause Swansea problems and come away from Wales with all three points.