Last season: 3rd in Championship (promoted via play-offs)
FA Cup: Fourth round
Carling Cup: Fourth round
Opening three fixtures: Man City (a), Wigan (h), Sunderland (h)
Transfers in: Danny Graham (Watford, £3.5m), Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht, £1.5m), Jose Moreira (Benfica, £750,000), Wayne Routledge(Newcastle, free), Leroy Lita (Middlesbrough, £1.75m), Steven Caulker (Tottenham, loan)
Transfers out: Dorus de Vries (Wolves, free), Darren Pratley (Bolton, free)
Key man: Scott Sinclair
After conquering both Nottingham Forest and Reading in last season’s Championship play-offs, Swansea City won football’s most valuable ticket, a place in the Barclays Premier League.
On Monday night, the Swans kick off their campaign at the Etihad Stadium against title contenders Manchester City, with gaffer Brendan Rodgers hoping that the confidence that carried his side through last season’s play-offs will continue into a relegation-defying season. The Welsh hopefuls are 23/20 to avoid the drop with bwin.
Rodgers’ side, however, are most people’s favourites not only for relegation, but to finish rock bottom, which bwin.com offers at odds of 2/1.
Swansea are given odds of 17/20 to finish above Paul Lambert’s Norwich, who were promoted alongside them after finishing runners-up to QPR in the Championship. A successful £25 free bet on this outcome, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £46.25.
With upsets caused in recent years by sides promoted through the play-offs, such as Hull’s win at the Emirates, Burnley’s defeat of Manchester United or Blackpool’s attacking style that almost saw them stay up last season, it would be foolish to completely write off the Swans.
History suggests that a win at Manchester City on Monday is a possibility, however slight. They are 11/1 with bwin to start the season with a victory, with both Danny Graham and Leroy Lita at 10/1 to grab the game’s opening goal for the Welsh side.
Swansea follow their trip to Manchester with two home games against Wigan and Sunderland, before a trip away to Arsenal. Perhaps the best chance the play-off champs have of getting their first win is therefore at home to Wigan in the second week, with odds of 13/10 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
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