Swansea City will be just fine, says John Hartson
15th August 2014
John Hartson believes the Swans will relish a Barclays Premier League opener at Manchester United - and predicts a season of safety for Garry Monk's side.
The Swans kick off their league campaign against the Red Devils for the second consecutive season, with Louis Van Gaal taking charge of his first competitive match as United boss.
Having lost to United at the Liberty on the opening day of last season, the Swans are looking for a different outcome this time around at Old Trafford on Saturday (12.45pm).
And Hartson insists Monk's men go into the game free of pressure and determined to upset the odds.
"A new manager, full house and new players - it will be a great occasion and it's one that you want to experience as a footballer," said Hartson, who won 51 caps for Wales during a 15-year career.
"Manchester United, under Van Gaal, will be looking to get off to the perfect start, so in a way there's a lot less pressure on Swansea.
"Old Trafford will be a great place to be on Saturday. I scored there in my career, but I never managed to be part of a winning team there.
"It's a very difficult place to go, and if you can win at a place like Old Trafford then you know that you've worked very hard and done really well.
"It's a very difficult start for Swansea, but you could say that it's a big one out of the way straight away.
"It will be interesting to see how it goes. Everyone expects Manchester United to win, but Swansea tasted victory there last season in the FA Cup, so you never know what could happen."
With a busy summer of transfer activity, Hartson has been impressed with the Swans' new attacking additions to the squad.
And, having worked as a pundit during the World Cup, he kept a close eye on one particular signing.
"I was working at the World Cup in the summer and I covered Ecuador's group," said Hartson. "I saw a lot of Jefferson Montero and I said live on air that he'd be a great signing for somebody - it's funny Swansea eventually signed him.
"He suits the Premier League. He's quick, direct and has tricks to beat his marker. He's certainly a very good acquisition to the squad, as are the other new signings.
"I've always been a fan of Sigurdsson - he's fantastic on the ball and is technically excellent. Everyone at Swansea are well aware of his quality, and he will be a big player for Garry this season.
"I've liked the look of (Bafetimbi) Gomis. He's a big lad, very much like I was during my career, but he has showed some nice touches and he can play too.
"Gomis linked well with (Wilfried) Bony last weekend against Villarreal, and I think they could be a great combination."
Hometown loyalty aside, the former Arsenal, West Ham and Celtic striker forecasts a bright year for the Swans.
Having endured a demanding campaign last term, Hartson is confident the lighter schedule will prove fruitful for Monk's side.
"I think the Swans will be just fine," added Hartson. "Swansea played 54 games last season - they will not play anywhere near that this season, and that will help.
"Garry has a good group of players that work very hard and they take everything on board, and that will be vital this season."