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Paul Clement in Troubled Waters as his Swans Sink

There are few more precarious places to be for managers than the foot of the table. Patience is not a virtue afforded to them and, in some should instances, it is quite rare for a manager to even remain in a job whilst plummeting to these unenviable depths. Such is the knee-jerk trend that, at the first sign of dark clouds in a managers reign, their respective Chairmen pull the trigger without finding out if they were capable of turning proceedings around. In Paul Clement's case, he is now on borrowed time at Swansea, with the Swans having sunk to the last place on the table.

Recent Form

Clement's men have only been able to notch up 9 points in their 15 games so far. Their recent form has been so poor that even Crystal Palace, who lost their first 7 league games on the bounce, have been able to climb one point above them. Out of the last 36 points on offer, they have only taken 5 and have recorded only a solitary victory in their last 12 games. To make matters worse, they are joint-bottom of the league in terms of goals scored, with a meagre 8, and only Crystal Palace have scored as few. The difference is the Eagles are on a four-game unbeaten run when and have begun trending in the right way whilst the Swans are falling off the pace at an alarming rate.

The risk of falling even further behind over the festive season is great with Swansea having to play Man City, Liverpool, and Tottenham over the course of their next 7 games. The perils of being last on Christmas Day are very real and will indicate a huge scrap is on the cards for the second half of the season. Festive cheer is not always a given in South West Wales as the Swans have found themselves in a similar position over Christmas before.

Swansea Manics

"2016-05-28_Manics-Swansea21" (CC BY 2.0) by Ungry Young Man

 

Not Always the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for The Swans

During the 2015/2016 season, Swansea found themselves in 18th position on Christmas Day but managed to fight back and finish 12th at the end of the season. Last season, they were stranded at the foot of the table on the 25th of December but fought bravely to record a 15th place finish. Relegation is hardly a certainty for Swansea if they are lingering at the wrong end of the table over the holiday period; worryingly though, for Paul Clement, it is time Huw Jenkins acts in a bid to save the club from a return to the Championship.

The managerial roundabout can be a vicious circle and Clement, after being appointed a week after Christmas last year, may now fall victim to the slump Swansea go through leading up to December, after being the man charged with righting the ship. The stakes are high in the Premier League and it is a highly profitable place to be when you're in the top flight. History indicates there is only so much time a manager is afforded in situations like these.

Clubs Above Swansea have Acted

The three teams directly above Swansea have all already sacked their managers this season as they explore every avenue in the quest to remain in England's top flight. It will have definitely crossed chairman Huw Jenkins' mind to roll the dice and let a new face take Swansea forward but, for now, he is steadfast in his faith in Clement. It is either that or he has yet to reach a deal for a new man to come in and take over at the Liberty Stadium. The question needed to be asked is whether Paul Clement has any tricks left up his sleeve?

Circumstances out of Clement's Control

Clement lost a few influential players over the summer and has battled to replace them. He is currently not getting the best out of his squad but he is adamant they still back him and so too the owners. If Clement does get the dreaded sack, then he can justifiably feel a bit let down as some of his players are woefully out of form. When Renato Sanchez arrived on loan from Bayern Munich, there was a feeling that Clement had pulled off a major coup by raiding his former team of one of the brightest youngest stars in the game.

The hype was justified as Sanchez has a huge future in the game. The 20-year-old playmaker has already represented Portugal 13 times and has a goal to his name. He was a shoo-in for a pick at next year's World Cup and is part of the reason Portugal are backed at 18/1 on Oddschecker's latest World Cup betting odds to win the event by Ladbrokes. Sadly for Clement, he hasn't shown any of that promise or potential and is struggling to impose himself on the English game. This season at the Liberty may cost him a place in Russia next year if his time in Wales doesn't improve. The number of casualties due to Swansea's poor form is growing.

The Rumour Mill and Swansea Abandoning their Football Philosophy for Pulis

The rumour mill will always be in overdrive when a manager is under as much pressure as Paul Clement is but there are rumblings of recently sacked Tony Pulis being given the job. Pulis' immunity to relegation would make him the obvious choice during a desperate situation at the Liberty Stadium but at what cost to Swansea's identity?

Swansea have been greatly admired for their intention to play an attractive brand of football that consists of playing it out from the back. Their footballing principles and sticking to them have made them lots of friends in the Premier League and so far has kept them in the league. Turning to Tony Pulis would symbolise the end of the swift passing game the Swansea faithful have become accustomed to.

It must also be said that the crowd at the Liberty have also become used to seeing their team lose so a pragmatic approach that results with more wins may have to be the compromise that is made to ensure Swansea once again escape the drop with a strong second half showing.

Impressive Stay in the Premier League in Danger

Swansea have enjoyed 7 years in the Premier League since coming up via the playoffs and have a best-recorded finish of 8th under Garry Monk during the 2014/2015 season. The Swans certainly haven't overstayed their welcome in the Premier League and have instead won over the neutrals by playing a quality brand of football. Having avoided the drop for so long has surprised many but it has been a refreshing sight as they have, in some scenarios, punched well above their weight.

Dyer and Gibbs

"Nathan Dyer & Kieran Gibbs" (CC BY 2.0) by Ronnie Macdonald

Preserving their status in the top flight is what everyone in Swansea will want to see happen. There are only so many times you can flirt with danger only to escape its clutches and the consequences by pulling off a great escape. The Swans are making a habit of getting embroiled in a relegation scrap rather than a fight for a Europa spot place or even the safety of a mid-table finish.

Change is Needed

Whether it be the manager or approach, the unthinkable in the form of relegation will happen if change is not implemented at the club. It certainly isn't all Paul Clement's fault and holding him responsible for Swansea's problems is unwise and short-sighted.

It won't be easy going from here on in until May and Swansea will need the rub of the green if they are to keep their Premier League status. With their lifelines being used up, it's sink or swim for Clement and the Swans.

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