I feel there are many similarities between Swansea and Southampton. Both clubs are run well, they have made a recent surge up the Football League, play nice football and are punching above their weight with some ambitious summer signings.
This week, I spoke to Scott Mackay of The Swansea Way ahead of Saturday's showdown against the Swans. We discuss ex-Saint Garry Monk, Michael Laudrup, the old Spanish clique and why Gylfi Sigurdsson is essential to the South Wales outfit.
You've started the 2014-15 season in impressive fashion. How confident are you in Swansea keeping this up?
In keeping up winning three games out of four? Let's be realistic! In fairness though the way we've started the season it's hard not to be positive - a win this weekend would see us sitting very pretty indeed. The best thing about the way we've been playing so far is that Wilf hasn't scored yet, and Sigurdsson has only hit the back of the net once.
I'd expect both those players to improve their tallies soon, and if they do start firing that'll give us more than enough to finish in upper mid-table, in my opinion.
How do you rate Swansea's transfer dealings over the summer?
Excellent. Sigurdsson for Davies & Vorm is looking like the deal of the summer in my opinion, as he's looking a much, much better player than when he spent six months on loan here. Elsewhere Fabianski came in for free and I rate him as an improvement on Vorm, while we also signed Bafetimbi Gomis to challenge Wilf - it's the first time we've had a decent backup option for a while and it's none too soon.
We've also brought in fan favourite Marvin Emnes, Ecuadoran winger Jefferson Montero, and Argentinian centre-back Federico Fernandez, fresh from his World Cup exploits. We also shipped out a remarkable six Spaniards - Chico, Michu, Canas, Pozuelo, Pablo & Vazquez have all departed and the squad have made comments about how of late the unity is back in the dressing room. It seems that as well as their technical attributes we've attracted the right kind of personalities to the club, something which can only stand you in good stead going forward.
What happened with Michael Laudrup and Swansea's contingent of Spanish players?
As mentioned they all left (with the exception of Amat and the long-serving Rangel) - I think they were players signed by Laudrup with no thought given to whether they'd fit into the makeup of the squad - mostly in terms of their personalities.
A clique seemed to develop which was never going to be healthy, while I think Laudrup ended up going for a number of reasons. He intimated that we were in "a league within a league" - essentially writing off games against the "elite", which didn't sit well with Huw and when you couple that with the poor football on display it'd be hard not to make a case for change.
What do you think of Garry Monk and the job he's doing in South Wales? He spent a lot of time at Saints but rarely featured for the club - how is he viewed by Swansea fans?
I think a) he's a club legend and b) he's doing a very good job so far. There's always going to be rookie mistakes when a young manager gets given a job unexpectedly but everything I've seen since the season has started has filled me with confidence.
The one thing which would help our performance would be the return of Leon Britton to the side but there's nothing Monk can do about that! As for our boss' reputation amongst fans, he can do no wrong at the moment. He made a block in the Playoff Final which ensured we were promoted to the Premier League, played through injury putting his body on the line for the club, and now he's started the season with aplomb. Hopefully things just keep getting better!
What are your expectations for the season? Have they changed from pre-season?
Not particularly to be honest, though I'm perhaps more confident now. With the squad we possess I firmly believe we should be looking to finish between 8th and 12th, say, and from what we've seen so far that's looking like an increasingly good bet.
How do Swansea fans view Southampton? Do you feel we are league rivals jostling for similar league positions?
Definitely. I don't think either of our clubs are set to break into the upper echelons of the league just yet, but we may not be far off if we continue to play our cards right. For either club become involved in a relegation battle would be a disappointment, even if it's far from impossible.
What do you think of Saints youth product Nathan Dyer? Is he good enough for a place in the England squad?
I'd say based on form and merit it's incredible he hasn't already had a cap. Andros Townsend is the absolute perfect example of what is wrong with the England setup - he plays for a big club therefore he should be in the England team. Rubbish.
Dyer has done way, way more and what kind of message does it send young English players if merit and form don't get you a callup but being at the right team does? Hopefully the selection policy changes soon because the longer it goes on like this the more damage is done which will ultimately need repairing when a progressive setup in put into place.
Who is key to Swansea's success this season and why?
Gylfi Sigurdsson. The guy basically has the power to keep us up on his own, but obviously it'll be a team effort. I do honestly think though that Gylfi is potentially the best no10 in the Premier League. His pressing when trying to get the ball back is epic and when he has it? Four assists and one goal in four games tells you everything you need to know. Plus his middle name is Thor!