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SWANS v WEST BROM: The big talking points

PUBLISHED

13:00 19th May 2017

. . . as Clement's men eye final flourish


Swansea City bring the curtain down on their sixth Premier League campaign when they host West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
Having already guaranteed their place in the top flight next season, the pressure is off the Swans to a certain extent.
But Paul Clement is determined to end a turbulent year with another victory.
Here are all the key talking points heading into the game.

Swans fans at Sunderland

Party time
The Swans began this season with victory at Burnley, but that feels like a very long time ago now.
Form dipped alarmingly after that opening-day success at Turf Moor, hence Francesco Guidolin and then Bob Bradley vacated the manager’s hotseat.
But the appointment of Paul Clement at the beginning of January proved pivotal – even if the tough times were not over.
The Swans have been battling to stay out of the bottom three all season and, having ensured they will not end up in the drop zone last weekend, they can celebrate survival on Sunday.
What a treat it will be for all those in the stands to watch a game which does not come with huge pressure.

Garry Monk
 
The best half-season yet?
Since Clement arrived from Bayern Munich, the Swans have banked 26 points from 18 Premier League games.
Should they manage a win on the final day then remarkably, the second half of 2016-17 will go down as the Swans’ most successful half-season since they were promoted to the top flight.
That would be an extraordinary achievement given that they banked just 12 points from the first 19 games of the campaign – comfortably their worst tally in half a Premier League season.
The current club best is 28 points from 19 league games, which was achieved in the second half of last term and in both halves of the record-breaking 2014-15 season under Garry Monk. 

Tony Pulis

The Pulis factor 
Welshman Tony Pulis has enjoyed facing the Swans in the Premier League – but only when his teams have been at home.
His record at the Liberty is not clever. In five Premier League visits to SA1 with West Brom, Crystal Palace and Stoke, Pulis has seen his sides lose four times. The exception came in March 2014, when a late Glenn Murray penalty saw Pulis’s Palace claim a 1-1 draw against Monk’s Swans.
When the Swans have gone away to face Pulis teams, they have managed just one draw – at West Brom last season – and lost on three occasions.
Home advantage has tended to count when Pulis has faced the Swans, and Clement must hope it stays that way this weekend.



Final-day flourish?
The Swans will pass 40 points for the season should they manage victory over West Brom, yet they have not always ended Premier League campaigns with a positive result.
On the last day of 2012-13, for instance, Michael Laudrup’s team were left a little embarrassed as they lost 3-0 to Fulham on their own patch.  
Two years later, the Swans ended a record-breaking season with a whimper when they were beaten 1-0 at Crystal Palace. 
But it has not all been bad news on the final day.
Last season’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City was more than respectable, while the Swans enjoyed themselves at Sunderland in 2014, with Wilfried Bony among the scorers in a 3-1 victory.
Perhaps the best farewell in the Premier League era came back in 2011-12, when thousands of Elvis Presleys were at the Liberty to watch Danny Graham’s goal beat Liverpool.

Sunderland celebrations

A happy hat-trick?
Having seen off Sunderland and Everton in their last two games, the Swans will try to make it three victories in a row when they face West Brom.
It is a feat they have managed on only three occasions since promotion to the Premier League – once in 2011-12 and twice in 2014-15.
A third successive victory would make it 13 points taken from the last five games – which would be the Swans’ best ever sequence in the Premier League.
 
Paul Clement

Points make prizes
The Swans may already have secured their place in the top flight next season, but that does not mean there is nothing to play for this weekend.
Currently 17th in the table, the Swans could climb to 15th if they win and the two sides immediately above them slip up.
Burnley, who host West Ham, and Watford, who face Manchester City at Vicarage Road, are both two points better off than the Swans as things stand.
If Clement’s men could overhaul one or both those clubs, the financial rewards would be significant.
After all, there is an extra £1.9 million in Premier League prize money on offer for each place higher in the table you finish.
  


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