When the guillotine fell on Paul Clement at Swansea just five days before Christmas, it was after nine losses in 11 games. It was indeed a bleak state of affairs at the Liberty Stadium as the Swans found themselves adrift, sinking and practically relegated with almost the entire winter still to come. Through the harsh Arctic blasts and swirling snow, stepped forward an unlikely hero, Carlos Carvalhal.
Carvalhal’s warm, humorous and possibly even unconventional approach has lit up the light at the end of the tunnel for the Swans and given hope to all at the football club that there is still hope and reason to fight until the end. Clement left Swansea with their hopes of Premier League survival hanging by a thread with the club rooted to the foot of the table and four points from safety.
In the 42 days Carvalhal has been the manager, there has been a stunning revival that has included Swansea winning five times in ten games, only losing once and more importantly, and against all odds, they have been able to drag themselves out of the dreaded relegation places. Astonishingly, Swansea are now only at odds of 5/4 to avoid the drop after being all but dead in the water.
With every unlikely result that Swansea delivers the confidence on the South Coast of Wales surges. Under the charismatic and likeable Carvalhal, Swansea are now at 22/1 to finish in the top half. An outcome that would have been scoffed at by football fans before the introduction of the master Portuguese tactician but after beating Liverpool and Arsenal in his first eight games in charge, there is reason to believe the Swans will keep climbing.
“How’s Carlos Carvalhal got a Premier League job!?”
Swansea 1-0 Liverpool
Swansea 3-1 Arsenal
Out of the bottom 3. pic.twitter.com/1XYPZG9tct
— The Football Pools (@footballpools) January 30, 2018
Of all the clubs lingering around the plug hole, Swansea are the ones that have found a momentum and seem to be pulling away from the suction of the Championship. Punters backing Carvalhal’s revolution can access a Betfair free bet of up to £100 when placing five £10 bets. Only seven points separate Swansea from tenth position and there are still 12 games to go. With the belief back at the Liberty Stadium, there is every chance Swansea will experience an almighty change in fortunes during the back end of the Premier League.
Part of Carvalhal’s appeal is his wonderful analogies and refreshing responses to age-old questions. When Carvalhal was asked about the transfer budget at the start of January, he famously said: “We have money for sardines and I’m thinking lobster, I will look to the lobsters and sea bass, but if not we must buy sardines, but sometimes the sardines can win games.”
Carlos Carvalhal on whether he expects Mahrez to play for Leicester against Swansea on Saturday: “I have a house & do not know what my neighbours do. I look after my family & my dogs. I say hello to them & wave but that’s it. It’s not my problem”
The KING of analogies! ?? pic.twitter.com/RzsqW7Y8LW
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) February 1, 2018
With very limited ingredients, Carvalhal is producing a dish worthy of Michelin star status. It appears that somehow the Portuguese manager has found the recipe for success and is breathing life back into a club that expected its seven-year Premier League stay to almost certainly come to an end. If Carvalhal does indeed keep Swansea up it will go down as one of the more flamboyant great escapes to have taken place.