Analysis: Michu capable of filling several roles in the Swansea show

Hard-working Spaniard can be a highly effective No 10 as well as lead striker and goalscorer

One day, surely, Swansea City will stop improving, stop surprising, and find their level. But for now, at least, their progress continues, with three away wins this month and a creditable draw against Liverpool. They are still waiting to find their upper limit, as is their best player, the remarkable Michu.

The Spanish forward has scored his third, fourth and fifth goals of the season in Swansea’s last three games, contributing assists or near enough in the football lessons handed out at Valencia and Crystal Palace last week. Even in this, the most systematic,  coherent and organised team in the Premier League, there is still an  indispensable man, a player different from all of his team-mates but somehow embodying all of Swansea’s qualities in himself.

Sunday, in the 2-0 win at Palace, saw another example of Michu’s great gifts. For an hour he played as an  attacking midfielder, behind Alvaro Vazquez. He opened the scoring, finishing a move he started, before making the second goal with a delightful turn past Danny Gabbidon, setting Vazquez up to create for Nathan Dyer. Just like in Valencia, when one goal and one assist helped Swansea to their 3-0 triumph.

For the last half-hour, though, he went up front, able to use his athleticism and his instinct for finding space to spearhead counter-attacks that should have brought more goals. There are not many in the league as comfortable at No 10 as No 9 but Michu is one, which for his manager is a delight.

“I don’t look at him as just a goal-scorer,” Michael Laudrup said after the win. “He’s not even a centre-forward. He’s an offensive midfielder, who can score goals and can play as a forward. But I don’t have that [negative] picture of him if he hasn’t scored for three games.”

Laudrup need not worry – Michu shows no signs of slowing down. His team-mates certainly recognise his contribution and spoke effusively about him after the game. “He’s a top player,” said the defender Ben Davies, again picking out his flexibility. “But it’s not just the goals that he brings to us, it’s the link-up play and how hard he works. He’s a pleasure to play with. I think he has two different roles and when he plays in the hole he links up the play extremely well. You can only learn off him.”

Michu is one of the few players in the Premier League who make the game look easy, but like the very best, it is allied to his own ferocious hard work. “Watching him in training it is easy to learn off him,” said Davies. “He is a relaxed person, but when it is time to work he is there to put his best effort in – he makes it look easy out on the training pitch.

“From the moment he started training with us we could all tell he was going to be a big hit. He has adapted well, he’s very relaxed and I think that shows on the pitch with just how cool he is in front of goal.”

Michel Vorm plays at the opposite end of the pitch from Michu but with similar intelligence, speed and anticipation. The Dutch goalkeeper, who starts the moves that Michu finishes, knows how good he is and how much he gives. “He is not the type who thinks ‘OK, last season I scored so many goals so this season I will be a bit more relaxed’. He is working so hard for 90 minutes, he is unbelievable. It is such a joy when you have a player like that in your team.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The beat is on: Alfred Doda, Gjevat Kelmendi and Orli Shuka in ‘Hyena’
filmReview: Hyena takes corruption and sleaziness to a truly epic level
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable