Year in Review | August
As 2019 comes to an end, we take a look back at the last 12 months for Swansea City. Here, we reflect on what happened in August.
The month began with two more arrivals – following Jake Bidwell and Ben Wilmot to the Liberty.
England under-21 international goalkeeper Freddie Woodman joined from Newcastle United on a season-long loan, and went straight into the starting line-up for the Swans’ Championship opener against Hull City.
Meanwhile, Swedish winger Kristoffer Peterson reunited with Steve Cooper, who he had worked with in Liverpool’s academy system, as he arrived from Dutch side Heracles Almelo on a three-year deal.
However, the news that Swansea fans were dreading followed later that day, as Oli McBurnie finally completed his £20 million move to Sheffield United.
Scotland international McBurnie, who arrived from Bradford City in 2015, found the net 26 times in 62 appearances for the Swans in all competitions, and was the club’s top scorer in 2018-19 with 24 goals.
Following McBurnie’s departure, Borja Baston was handed the number nine shirt by Cooper and made an immediate impact with the equaliser against Hull, as the Swans came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory thanks to Mike van der Hoorn’s winner.
Further attacking options descended in SA1 the following week, with Aldo Kalulu and Sam Surridge arriving on season-long loan deals.
Frenchman Kalulu joined from Swiss side Basel and brought Champions League experience to South Wales, having tasted Europe’s premier competition during his time with Lyon.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth striker Surridge arrived following a prolific loan spell with Oldham the previous season – in which he also made his Premier League debut for the Cherries away at Arsenal.
There were also loan departures from the Liberty later in the week, as Courtney Baker-Richardson and Jefferson Montero headed out to Accrington and Birmingham respectively.
The following day, Woodman was the hero as his penalty save from Martyn Waghorn earned the Swans a share of the spoils in their goalless draw with Derby County at Pride Park.
After Cooper made several changes to the starting line-up for the Carabao Cup clash with Northampton three days later, Swansea were in danger of a first-round exit as they fell 1-0 behind to Matty Warburton’s 61st-minute strike.
However, in his first appearance since returning to the club after spending the previous season on loan at Fenerbahce, Andre Ayew climbed off the bench to score twice – sandwiching George Byers’ strike – and send the Swans through to round two.
Byers was on target again the following Saturday as the Swans were forced to come from behind once more – this time, against Preston North End.
The visitors had taken an early lead but Borja equalised just before the break and, after Byers’ strike had been cancelled out by a Daniel Johnson penalty, the Spaniard’s powerful header sealed the points for the hosts.
Prior to that game, Joel Asoro made a season-long loan switch to Dutch side Groningen while, later in the month, Cian Harries joined the winger in the Netherlands – signing a loan deal with Fortuna Sittard for the campaign.
Back on the field, the Swans were going from strength to strength. Goals from Bersant Celina, Borja and Surridge – his first for the club – secured an impressive 3-1 win away at QPR.
Meanwhile, Celina and Borja also found the back of the net as Birmingham were put to the sword 3-0 at the Liberty, where substitute Kyle Naughton had got the ball rolling with his first Swansea goal in just under a year.
Another six goals without reply followed three days later as Cambridge were swept aside in the Carabao Cup second round.
Surridge scored twice and there were first Swansea goals for Peterson and Jordon Garrick, while Byers and Wayne Routledge rounded off the scoring on a comfortable evening for the hosts.
Although, the biggest cheer of the night came in the latter stages as 12 months after being diagnosed with cancer – for which he received successful treatment – Jack Evans made his senior debut to a marvellous reception from the Jack Army.
All attention then turned to Elland Road and a battle of the Championship’s top two, as the Swans prepared to face Leeds United with a place at the table’s summit at stake.
Cooper’s side had to dig deep with Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds on the front foot and creating a host of opportunities – only for sloppy finishing or crucial blocks to deny them.
The game appeared to be heading for a goalless draw but there was to be a dramatic late twist. As the clock ticked down towards stoppage time, substitute Routledge’s low shot trickled into the far corner – sending his team-mates and the travelling Jack Army into ecstasy.