André Ayew: Swansea’s wildcard

The Chelsea vs Swansea game did not fail to disappoint as fans braced themselves as the champions got their title defense underway. I suspect Jose Mourinho would rather forget yesterday’s performance as it marked the first time in 35 years that the Swans secured a point at Stamford Bridge.

However, barring a few incidents of nightmare defending for both sides, it was a thoroughly enjoyable game in which André Ayew scored on his debut.

Ayew is an extremely good signing for the Swans, who have the potential to surprise everyone as Southampton have done these past two Premier League seasons. There is no doubt that the stability and trajectory of club since the departures of Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup has aided in bringing Ayew to the Liberty Stadium.

Fact File

  • Age: 25
  • 2 Trophée des champions 2010, 2011
  • 2 Coupe de la Ligue 2011, 2012
  • Former African Footballer of the Year (2011) and Ghana Player of the Year (2011)
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup Winner (2009)
  • Scored 52 goals in 181 appearances for Marseille with a scoring rate of 0.29 goals per game
  • 62 caps for Ghana Black Stars.

Style of Play

Ayew’s style of play is multifaceted – he is a versatile and industrious player who is an accomplished dribbler with the ability to get forward at will and get past the quickest defenders due to his pace.

For a player standing at 5 ft 9, he has a strong aerial presence combined with proficient tackling skills and good strength when holding the ball up.

Additionally, he is the type of attacking player that likes to cut inside especially when playing on the left, which allows him to draw fouls. This will be extremely beneficial to the Swans as they will have more opportunities to utilize the dead ball abilities of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jonjo Shelvey whilst simultaneously capitalising of the physical presence of Bafetimbi Gomis and Ashley Williams off the set piece.

Coupled with the likes of Shelvey, Sigurdsson and Gomis, Swansea will have ability to take advantage of the space behind defenders and convert counterattacking chances into goal scoring opportunities.  His inclusion alongside Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge and Jefferson Montero will dramatically impact on the squad’s longevity and their overall options out wide. The above being evident from the match statistics.

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There is a style of play that is well engrained at the Liberty Stadium, with an emphasis on completing passes and maintaining the lion’s share of possession. With this in mind, Ayew will be a welcome addition to the side, especially when considering Garry Monk’s defensive philosophy is orientated around a high pressing approach when defending.

I’m not stating anything new when I say that there are often players who are renowned for their attacking prowess, who are languid when it comes to the less sensationalised aspects of the game such as defending (Mesut Ozil, Nani and Hatim Ben Arfa).

However, this is not the case with Ayew, with Sir Alex Ferguson himself eluding to his defensive capabilities when Marseille met Manchester United 2010/11 with Arsene Wenger stating he was a big fan as well. Ayew also has the unusual combination of youth and experience which could make him one of the potential bargains of the season.

It makes one wonder with the departure of Raheem Sterling, Liverpool could have had a solid viable alternative in Ayew who has noted several occasions that he is a Liverpool fan. That coupled with the fact that he has been signed on a free which would not have cost a fortune will have Liverpool fans incensed, and rightly so.

This could be a season changing signing, and if the solid backroom staff of Josep Clotet and Alan Curtis get the Swans firing on all cylinders, they can go on to have a quality season, bringing a much needed breath of fresh air to the Premier League.

Kudos to Garry Monk.