Leighton James column: Swansea City deserve more credit
I CAN'T believe Swansea City were not given more credit for their performances last week.
Michael Laudrup's men produced two jaw-dropping displays to thump Valencia at the Mestalla and then blow Crystal Palace away in South London.
Yet instead of praising Swansea, all anyone seemed to talk about was how poorly their opponents had played.
I kept hearing how Valencia were in crisis, that they'd had a difficult start to the season, the players weren't interested and they only had ten men.
Well they were interested enough to beat Sevilla 3-1 in La Liga last weekend.
The fact is, Swansea were playing away to a big-name team with huge European pedigree.
Valencia finished fifth in La Liga last term and included some international heavyweights in their line-up.
And the reason they had a man sent off was because Adil Rami brought down Wilfried Bony when the striker was through on goal and very likely to score.
The fact is, Swansea, a team new to European football, were completely in charge from start to finish against Valencia.
They enjoyed nearly 70 per cent possession, which is an incredible stat to record away in Spain.
The result ranks among Swansea's best ever — and I wanted to hear that shouted from the rooftops.
As far as I'm concerned, the win in Valencia was right up there with the greatest a British club has managed in Europe.
I think it ranks alongside the likes of Manchester United winning 3-0 in Juventus, Arsenal thrashing Inter Milan 5-1 at the San Siro and Liverpool coming back from three goals down against AC Milan to win the Champions League.
In this country, people always like to look at faults.
It was the same on Sunday when Swansea dismantled Crystal Palace.
I agree that Ian Holloway's side did not offer very much, but that is only because they were not allowed to.
Swansea were in complete control from start to finish.
Their passing was a sight to behold, and there was no hint of fatigue after all the travelling they'd done in recent days.
The fact Laudrup was able to make five changes and get the result was even more encouraging.
Crystal Palace are not the best team in the Premier League, but there are some decent players in that side.
The games keep coming for Swansea who take on Arsenal on Saturday following their midweek trip to Birmingham.
I'm not surprised the Gunners game is on television because it promises to be a mouthwatering clash.
Swansea have had some memorable games against Arsene Wenger's men in recent seasons — and let's hope this one is similar.
Who could forget Swansea's stunning win at the Emirates last season when Michu struck twice late on?
But this game will be harder.
Arsenal are a better team than last year, and their midfield looks particularly formidable.
It seems like new signing Mesut Ozil is the fans' new darling, while Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta are competing for spots in the engine room.
Then there's Aaron Ramsey.
He is Arsenal's man of the moment after scoring eight goals already this season.
It's great to see Aaron back to his best, especially from a Welsh point of view.
Sometimes it's impossible to say exactly why a player suddenly steps up a level in terms of form, but with Aaron it's a fair bet his injury had a major bearing on things.
Sometimes it takes a long time for the body to completely come back from something as serious as Aaron's broken leg.
Players also need a while to fully trust their leg again, so have to recover psychologically.
But whatever the reason behind Aaron's resurgence, one thing is for sure, Swansea will have to keep very close tabs on him this weekend.