Michu to Napoli: Considering Swansea’s fortunes after the Spaniard’s departure

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Spanish attacker Michu’s two-year stay in Wales appears to be over, though with yesterday’s move to Napoli announced as a season-long loan, there’s still a chance the 28-year-old could return to Swansea City. But with an option to buy in the partenopei’s hangs, Swans no longer control whether their former focal point has played his last match for the club. After completing his physical Thursday in Naples, Michu is now Rafa Benítez’s charge.

We discussed the fit when rumors began circulating last month, but particularly after Swansea’s acquisition of Bafetimbi Gomis, a move seemed inevitable. With Napoli at times relying Goran Pandev as Gonzalo Higuaín’s understudy, the team had a need for depth at striker. That Michu can also fill in underneath Higuaín in Benítez’s set up makes him an ideal acquisition.

For Swans, a summer of rumors that Wilfried Bony may move has almost been weathered. Now, with the acquisition of Gomis to serve as a more traditional target, the team’s attack has come into focus. After seeing Michu’s injuries limiting him to 17 appearances and two goals, Swansea could see a boost with Gomis’s arrival, even if he may not offer the same quality as the Spaniard.

Last season in Ligue 1, Gomis averaged 0.51 goals for 90 minutes (14 goals, overall), a rate that will likely decrease with Swansea. Given how the last six goalscorers to jump from France to England have performed, expecting somewhere in the nature of half as many goals seems reasonable:

Player Year Team G/90 mins Year Team G/90 mins
Sagbo, Yannick 2012-13 Evian 0.23 2013-14 Hull City 0.12
Giroud, Olivier 2011-12 Montpellier 0.59 2012-13 Arsenal 0.43
Hazard, Eden 2011-12 Lille 0.56 2012-13 Chelsea 0.31
Maiga, Modibo 2011-12 Sochaux 0.5 2012-13 West Ham 0.44
Gervinho 2010-11 Lille 0.47 2011-12 Arsenal 0.21
Park, Chu Young 2010-11 Monaco 0.38 2011-12 Arsenal 0.00

Don’t draw anything scientific from that. Instead, just take that under consideration when evaluating the tradeoff. Whereas Swansea is losing a player who scored .14 goals per 90 minutes last year, the club’s bringing in somebody who could double that production. If Gomis stays healthy, that may mean six to eight more goals for Swans.

That does not sound like much, but it would take the team’s goal difference from even to something closer to Tottenham’s (+4) or Southampton’s (+8). Depending on luck and how those goals are distributed, it could also mean the difference between battling relegation and competing for a spot in the league’s top half.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

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Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

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Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

Three things we learned from Manchester United vs. PSV

Jesse Lingard, Marouane Fellaini
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Manchester United missed the chance to clinch a spot in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday with a draw against PSV Eindhoven and now their hopes of making the knockout round hang in the balance.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]  

Louis Van Gaal‘s side failed to take their chances and now have a do-or-die clash at Wolfsburg in two weeks time. If United win, they are in. Anything less and a PSV win in their final group game means it’s the Europa League for LVG and his boys.

Tense times. Here’s three things we learned from yet another 0-0 draw for United.


With Wayne Rooney playing in the hole and front three of Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Memphis interchanging, it was the formation and personnel many of United’s fans were calling for. Well, it didn’t quite work out. With Martial and Lingard both guilty of squandering chances and Memphis failing to get into the game, LVG will be left scratching his head as he watched his side draw 0-0 for the fourth home game this season and for the third time in their last five matches at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]  

United looked labored in attack with Wayne Rooney unable to dictate play from a No. 10 role and the PL side had to resort to long balls up to Marouane Fellaini in the final 30 minutes to try and win the game. Surely they’re better than that? At times in the first half the fluidity was there as the aforementioned quartet all went close. However, they ran out of ingenuity and as boos rang out at full time, it was clear the United faithful was, once again, unhappy with their teams attacking output.

“We are not ruthless enough – we have to score more goals as a team, they were able to nearly hit us on the break a few times,” Rooney said. “It is a learning curve but we cannot go on saying that. We have to change these games into victories.”


After a tough stretch of games on heavy pitches, the way United rallied and grabbed a late winner at Watford last weekend was impressive. However, those battling displays full of grit and detetmination seem to be catching up on them. Fast. In the second half it was noticeable that Davy Propper and Andres Guardado had a growing influence on the game as Morgan Schneiderlin gave the ball away on multiple occasions and Bastian Schweinsteiger was subbed out. True, Fellaini came on in his place so United sacrificed a holding midfield spot for the final 30 minutes, but by that point the tide was already turning.

United looked tired, lethargic and failed to get proper service to their front three and a frustrated Rooney kept dropping deeper and deeper to try and get the ball. With Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera out injured, plus Juan Mata only given six minutes at the end, the main reason United failed to win this game was the lack of drive in midfield and the fact that the entire team simply seemed to run out of steam. With a tough slog of seven games in the next four weeks coming up, tiredness at this stage of the season is a worrying sign.


Yeah, so, in case you hadn’t noticed by now, United are in a bit of a pickle by not clinching a last 16 spot on Wednesday. That means they head to Wolfsburg on Dec. 8 having to win to top the group and bad news United fans, the German outfit have yet to lose at home in the UCL or Bundesliga this season. They’ve won eight of their nine home games, scoring 23 times and conceding just five. It will certainly be an uphill battle at the VW Arena.

“Going to Germany is always tough,” Rooney said. “We have to believe in ourselves and have confidence we can do that, it’s not the way we wanted but that is the way it is and we have to believe we are good enough to get three points.”

Chris Smalling reaffirmed United’s belief that they can go to Wolfsburg — even if they fell behind to Wolfsburg at home in the home game but rallied to grab a victory — and win but the Red Devils certainly haven’t made it easier for themselves.

“We had more than enough to win the game and make the difference in the final game. Coming in we saw Wolfsburg as the toughest game – and we have given ourselves a lot of hard work,” Smalling said. “We needed to move the ball quicker – and if we got the first goal it would’ve made it a lot easier. We go there with hope because we have beaten them here.”