Podcast: MLS Cup reaction, Ashley Cole to NYCFC & Swansea’s troubles discussed

In the latest MLSGB podcast, Zack Walford talks to Louis East and Jamie Ives about Sunday’s MLS Cup Final as Portland Timbers lifted a first ever championship.

The team also discuss recent reports linking Ashley Cole to New York City FC and the Premier League.

And we finish with Swansea City and Garry Monk’s struggles with the team in recent weeks.

Remember to send us your thoughts on Twitter: @MLSGB_

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur

Competition: Premier League – Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Liberty Stadium – Sunday, October 4 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Swansea 8/5 – Draw 23/10 – Tottenham 17/10

Match Preview

Swansea City welcome the in-form Tottenham Hotspur to Liberty Stadium on Sunday afternoon for a Premier League clash between two sides that like to play an entertaining brand of football.

The Swans come into the game off the back of a miserable trip to Southampton which saw them comfortably brushed aside as they lost 3-1, leaving them eleventh in the table.

Garry Monk’s side are now without a win in their last three (D1, L2) and their four-game unbeaten streak at the start of the season now seems a distant memory after a winless September.

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But Swansea know they will come good again at some point and they’re yet to lose on home soil so far this season with two wins and a draw, so they’ll be looking to draw upon their impressive form at the Liberty.

Swansea’s Premier League record: P7 – W2 – D3 – L2

Spurs arrive in Wales just three days after a testing Europa League encounter away at French side Monaco, where they picked up a valuable 1-1 draw.

Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping that his side don’t suffer a hangover from their midweek fixture and will be calling on his players to pick up from where they left off in the Premier League after thrashing Manchester City 4-1 last weekend.

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That impressive result lifted Tottenham up to sixth in the table and also extended their unbeaten run to six games, including three consecutive victories – they haven’t lost in the league since the opening day.

Tottenham’s Premier League record: P7 – W3 – D3 – L1

Tottenham have won the last seven meetings between the two sides, with the most recent a 3-2 victory at White Hart Lane back in March – this is also a fixture that has never ended in a goalless draw.

Team News

Swansea boss Garry Monk has a full squad to choose from coming into this game but may re-shuffle the pack slightly after a recent run of disappointing results.

Tottenham will be without Son Heung-min after he sustained a foot injury in the win against Manchester City. Danny Rose is also doubtful after he injured his hand against Monaco. Nabil Bentaleb, Mousa Dembele and Ryan Mason could return to action.

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Key Points

Swansea City’s last five: D/W/L/D/L

Tottenham Hotspur’s last five: D/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Spurs have dominated this fixture as Swansea have never beaten them in a Premier League game in 8 attempts (D1, L7).

Key Player: Bafetimbi Gomis – The Frenchman has been one of the few bright sparks for Swansea this season and he’s currently the fourth top goalscorer in the league with four goals to his name. The Welsh side will need him to be firing on all cylinders to get something out of the game.

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Score Prediction

Swansea City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur – The odds are stacked against Swansea winning against Tottenham for the first time ever in the Premier League. However, they may be able to capitalise on the fact that Spurs had European commitments in the week, so a draw seems a likely outcome.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Swansea City

Premier League Final Position: 8th

Review

The 2014/15 campaign was one to remember for Swansea fans as Garry Monk led the side to a record points tally and best ever Premier League finish in his first full season in charge. The Swans lost Wilfried Bony in January and were tipped for failure by many but defied the odds by ending the season with 14 more points than the previous campaign. They were consistent throughout and have lots to be positive about heading into the new season.

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Podcast Review

Best Moment

The opening day victory at Old Trafford set the tone for a fine campaign and saw the Swans beat Manchester United in Louis Van Gaal’s first Premier League game. They managed to complete a fine double over the Red Devils, winning 2-1 in both games.

Worst Moment

Losing 5-0 at home to Chelsea was a major disappointment for the Swans. The Blues were eventual champions but losing 5-0 on home soil is never acceptable and that was a result Swansea will not want to look back on when remembering the season.

Player of the Year

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Jonjo Shelvey – The midfielder ended the season with three goals and five assists. He pulls the strings from midfield and is an integral part of the squad in helping the defensive play transition into attacking promise.

Biggest Win

Swansea City 3-0 West Bromwich Albion (August 30, 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Swansea City 0-5 Chelsea (January 17, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

It was an excellent season but there is always room for improvement and Garry Monk will want to lead his side into a European place next season. Failing to win away at sides in and around them cost them this season and picking up wins in those games will help them to pick up even more points next time around.

Swansea City target claims he is ready for Premier League move

FC Twente striker Luc Castaignos has stated his intentions to leave the club this summer, with cash-strapped Twente ready to let their star leave on the cheap.

The former Inter Milan striker was subject to a £6.5 million bid last summer from Swansea but the club eventually pulled out, according to the Mirror.

Castaignos has managed ten goals this season in 29 appearances for Twente and is reported to be a target for Swansea once again.

After losing Wilfried Bony in January to Manchester City, the Swans are short up front and Castaignos could fill the void left by the Ivorian and to offer backup to French striker Bafetimbi Gomis.

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Speaking to the Dutch media, Castaignos stated: “I want to go abroad, preferably to a nice top performer in England or Germany so I can get used to the competition.

“I know enough about myself to know I am not ready for the real top yet.”

With Twente ready to sell it may be possible for Swansea to get their man on the cheap, with a transfer fee potentially falling under the £6.5 million fee that was accepted last year.

Is Luc Castaignos the man to replace Wilfried Bony at Swansea City?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Swansea vs Manchester City

Competition: Premier League – Swansea City vs. Manchester City

Venue: Liberty Stadium – Sunday, May 17th – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Swansea 18/5 – Draw 3/1 – Man City 7/10

Match Preview

Swansea welcome Manchester City to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday afternoon in what is an important game for the home side this late on in the season.

Garry Monk’s men have already amassed their best ever points tally and are on track for a best ever Premier League finish but the chance to qualify for the Europa League is still within reach.

Last Monday’s brilliant 1-0 win at Arsenal moved the Swans to just two points of Spurs in sixth and with two games to go, the players know they have the chance to make it into Europe.

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Manchester City will be a tough test but Swansea have now won three on the bounce and have already beaten Arsenal and Manchester United at home this term.

City come into the game on a winning streak of four and last weekend’s 6-0 drubbing of QPR sent a message out to the rest of the league to remind people the club mean business.

They will be desperately disappointed to have missed out on the title but the response to a rough spell through March and April will have delighted Manuel Pellegrini.

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City have won their last three meetings with Swansea and will be confident of stretching that run to four on Sunday.

But the Citizens have only won of their three trips to the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League era, with last season’s 3-2 win the first in Swansea since 1984.

Team News

Swansea have a number of injury concerns as Tom Carroll, Kyle Naughton, Wayne Routledge, Jordi Amat and Nelson Oliveira all look set to miss out. Bafetimbi Gomis came off the bench to score the winner at Arsenal last week and could come into the side in what is likely to be the only change for Garry Monk’s side.

Manchester City only have one injury worry to deal with as Samir Nasri is out with a groin problem. Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure both started on the bench last week but could return to the starting lineup here, with Lampard and Mangala possibly making way. Aleksandar Kolarov is likely to be preferred to Gael Clichy at left-back.

Key Points

Swansea’s last five: D/L/W/W/W

Manchester City’s last five: L/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: There have been 11 goals in the last three meetings between these sides so this could be an entertaining one.

Key Player: Sergio Aguero – The Argentinian striker has been in scintillating form of late and will look to add to his tally of 25 for the season as the Golden Boots looks to be his.

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Score Prediction

Swansea City 2-2 Manchester City – Expecting an open game with plenty of chances but the shares may be spoiled. City are favourites but the Swans know they have more to play for and will be buzzing after that win at Arsenal.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs Swansea

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Swansea City

Venue: King Power Stadium – Saturday, April 18th – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – Swansea 5/2

Match Preview

It’s crunch time for Leicester City’s season as they play host this weekend to a Swansea side looking for their best ever Premier League finish.

Nigel Pearson’s Leicester have bridged the gap between fellow relegation strugglers recently with back-to-back wins and will be hoping to make it three on the bounce as they look to pull of a great escape.

They are currently three points off of safety and the battle should go down to the wire as Leicester can produce results with five of their last seven at home, starting with Swansea on Saturday.

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It is important that Leicester take something from this game as they have the worst home record in the Premier League this year. That will need to improve if they are to avoid the drop.

Leicester City’s home record in the Premier League: P14 – W3 – D5 – L6

Swansea could be without striker Bafetimbi Gomis on Saturday as the striker left the Everton match early following a hamstring injury last week, and his absence will be a blow to the Swans.

With not much to play for, and only a slight chance of European football, Swansea are arguably playing for pride now, with a best ever Premier League finish on the cards should they finish 8th.

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They equalled their record points tally in the Premier League with a draw at Everton last week and know another point will set a new record.

Swansea’s away record in the Premier League: P15 – W5 – D3 – L7

Garry Monk has done a stellar job up to now, and it’s not in his nature to set up a team that won’t attack so we’re hoping for an open game that should thrill.

Team News

Leicester City have no injury or suspension concerns for this week so Nigel Pearson has a full squad to pick from. However, we are expecting the same XI to play from last weekend’s win at West Brom, with David Nugent playing the number ten role.

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Swansea City will be without Kyle Naughton and Tom Carroll, who remain long-term absentees. Jefferson Montero, Nelson Oliveira and Bafetimbi Gomis are all doubts but Montero and Oliveira will be pushing for a start. Neil Taylor is out serving a suspension.

Key Points

Leicester’s last five in the Premier League: L/D/L/W/W

Swansea’s last five in the Premier League: L/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: The home team has won this fixture in the last seven meetings between the two sides in all competitions.

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Key Player: David Nugent – With an eye for goal and a knack for being in the right place at the right time, Nugent could be the difference in this one.

Score Prediction

Leicester City 2-2 Swansea City – We’re hoping this will be an open game with plenty of goals. Leicester need to try and pick up all three points but a score draw looks the most likely result against a solid Swansea side looking to set a record points tally in the Premier League.

Stats: Swansea better than Manchester City since they sold Wilfried Bony

Swansea City have accumulated more points in the Premier League than reigning champions Manchester City since they sold them star striker Wilfried Bony.

Man City signed Bony in the January transfer window for a fee of around £25 million in the hope that the Ivorian would help fire them to another Premier League title but Manuel Pellegrini‘s side have only won four out of 11 games since his arrival (D2, L5).

Those four wins and two draws have earned City 14 points, while Swansea have won five, drawn two and lost four of their 11 games since Bony left giving them a total of 17 points in that time.

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Bony has only appeared in five league games for Man City, scoring just once so far in a 3-0 win against West Brom and his old club Swansea have fared better than his new club.

The man who has taken over from Bony’s mantle at Swansea is Bafetimbi Gomis – the Frenchman has notched four goals in nine games since Bony left.

The stats show that Swansea have also had a better win percentage and points-per-game ratio since Bony headed to Manchester proving that their is definitely life in the Welsh side following his exit.

Swansea stats before and after Bony

Garry Monk will certainly be delighted with how his team have coped since suffering the blow of losing such an integral part of their squad and Swansea equalled their best ever points tally in the Premier League with a 1-1 draw against Everton at the weekend.

The Swans are currently in eight position on 47 points and one more to that tally would see them officially mark their best ever season in the club’s history in terms of points accumulated – a remarkable effort for a team plying their trade in League Two just ten years ago.

Should Wilfried Bony have left Swansea City?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Swansea vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Swansea City vs Liverpool

Venue: The Liberty Stadium – Monday, March 16 – 20:00 GMT (16:00 ET)

Match Odds: Swansea 3/1 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 10/11

Match Preview

Swansea City battle Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium on Monday night, looking to leapfrog Stoke and be on course for their best ever finish in the Premier League whereas Liverpool head to Wales in search of three more points to carry on their rich vein of form as the race for the top four heats up.

Brendan Rodgers returns to the club with which he won promotion to the Premier League but he left after one season in the top flight to take over the hot seat at Anfield, where he has done excellently so far.

Garry Monk’s men have performed well this season and have already completed a double over Manchester United and also beat Arsenal at home. They have struggled since losing Wilfried Bony in January and the powerful Ivorian has left a huge hole in the striking position since leaving for Manchester City.

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Liverpool are in a great mood and are blitzing opponents away left right and centre. The Reds are coming off a disappointing 0-0 draw in the FA Cup to Blackburn Rovers, but that shouldn’t be a concern as Liverpool have scored in 11 of their last 13 games. Plus, Brendan Rodgers has not lost to Swansea City as Liverpool manager.

The reverse fixture saw Liverpool crush Swansea 4-1 at Anfield with five different goalscorers, including an own goal from former Liverpool man Jonjo Shelvey.

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There have been 24 goals between the sides in the last five meetings in all competitions so this should be another entertaining affair.

Team News

Swansea are almost at full strength with French forward Bafetimbi Gomis expected to be back after collapsing at White Hart Lane in the loss to Spurs last time out. Kyle Bartley will miss out through injury.

Liverpool could welcome back Martin Skrtel, while Joe Allen, who has recently struggled with hip and thigh issues, and skipper Steven Gerrard could also return to the squad. But Jordan Ibe continues to be sidelined with a knee ligament injury while Lucas Leiva and Jose Enrique will definitely miss out.

Key Points

Swansea City’s last five in the Premier League: D/L/W/W/D

Liverpool’s last five in the Premier League: D/W/W/W/W

Key stat: Since Swansea City’s promotion to the Premier League, Liverpool have failed to win at the Liberty Stadium (P3 D2 L1).

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Key Player: Simon Mignolet – The Liverpool goalkeeper has been in absolutely fantastic form since he was dropped and he has got back to his best between the sticks. He’ll need another solid performance away from home in this one.

Score Prediction

Swansea 1-3 Liverpool – Liverpool will cruise to victory ahead of next week’s game against Manchester United. Swansea City don’t have much to play for and will remain in 9th place by suffering their fourth loss at home in the Premier League this season.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Swansea City

Competition: Premier League

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, February 1 – 16:00

Match Odds: Southampton 4/7 – Draw 14/5 – Swansea City 11/2

Southampton take on Swansea City in the final game of the weekend on Sunday afternoon and the Saints will be looking to seal all three points to remain in third place in the Premier League.

Ronald Koeman’s side have picked back up following a mid-season slump through December and have not lost in their last six league games, winning five of those.

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They have beaten Everton, Arsenal and Manchester United in that time while also holding leaders Chelsea at home and they fully deserve to be as high as they currently are in the league table.

Southampton’s home record in the Premier League: Played 11 – Won 7 – Drawn 2 – Lost 2

Swansea have found themselves in a poor run of form and have not won a league game since Boxing Day. They were thumped 5-0 at home by Chelsea in their last Premier League match and were then knocked out of the FA Cup by Blackburn 3-1 last Saturday.

They ended that FA Cup game with nine men as Kyle Bartley and Gylfi Sigurdsson were both sent off and they will be without both of those players for the trip to Southampton. Sigurdsson’s absence will be particularly important.

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Garry Monk’s side have yet to replace Wilfried Bony since his move to Manchester City was confirmed earlier this month and the Swans have only scored three times in their last four league games, conceding 11 in that time.

Swansea’s away record in the Premier League: Played 10 – Won 2 – Drawn 3 – Lost 5

The reverse fixture this season saw Southampton win 1-0 at Swansea in a game that the Swans deserved to get a least a point from, but it is unlikely to be as closely contested this time around.

Southampton have never lost to the Swans in the Premier League in five previous meetings and have only conceded one goal against the Welsh outfit in that time.

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The Saints did lose at home to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last weekend but they should be too strong for a Swansea side that doesn’t look to be heading in the right direction.

Southampton’s last five in the Premier League: W/D/W/W/W

Swansea’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/D/D/L

Key Stat: Southampton have not lost at home to Swansea in over 60 years, since a 4-1 loss in 1953 when the two sides met in Division Two.

Key Player: Eljero Elia – The Dutch winger scored both goals in Southampton’s 2-1 win at Newcastle in their last league game and comes into the game in fine form. Swansea need to be wary.

Southampton vs. Swansea Prediction: Southampton 2 – 0 Swansea – The Saints to remain third in the Premier League with a comfortable victory.