Tag Archives: Swansea City

Premier League Files: Angel Rangel

Premier League Career: Swansea City (2011-PRESENT)

Angel Rangel has spent the majority of his professional career at just one club, Swansea City. His loyalty was rewarded in November 2017 when he was made club captain by Swans’ manager Paul Clement, replacing Leon Britton who moved into a player-assistant role.

Born in Catalonia, Rangel played for several clubs in Spain but never in the top-flight of his homeland country. In the summer of 2007, fellow compatriot Roberto Martinez brought him to Swansea for an undisclosed fee. Since then, Rangel has been a prominent part of Swansea’s journey into the top-flight and beyond.

When he joined the Welsh side, they were in League One. He had an excellent debut campaign in British football, scoring twice and being one of five Swansea players to feature in the PFA League One Team of the Year. Swansea were promoted as League One champions, ending a 24-year exile outside the top two leagues.

He continued to feature prominently in Swansea’s teams during their Championship days under the guidance of Martinez, Paulo Sousa and then Brendan Rodgers. It was under Rodgers in 2011 that Swansea made their breakthrough into the Premier League, beating Reading 4-2 in the Championship play-off final. During that summer, he signed a three-year extension to his contract.

In August 2012, Rangel scored his first Premier League goal, opening the scoring in Swansea’s 3-0 home win over West Ham United. He scored three goals that campaign in the top-flight. He’s only got four in his PL career. His most recent strike was a crucial one as it won Swansea three vital points against Crystal Palace in January 2017 – Clement’s first game in charge as manager.

On the announcement of becoming captain, he said: “I never thought I would end up as a captain, but I am proud and honoured and full of enthusiasm after being given this chance.”

Now 35, Rangel only featured once in the first 11 games of the 2017-2018 Premier League season but his experience and guile will be important as Swansea face another difficult campaign at the wrong end of the table.

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Memorable Matches: Swansea City 3-2 Arsenal (January 2012)

Goalscorers: Robin van Persie 5, Scott Sinclair 16 PEN, Nathan Dyer 57, Theo Walcott 69, Danny Graham 70

Teams:

Swansea City: Michel Vorm, Neil Taylor, Steven Caulker, Ashley Williams, Angel Rangel, Leon Britton, Kemy Agustien (Gylfi Sigurdsson 46), Joe Allen, Nathan Dyer (Wayne Routledge 81), Scott Sinclair, Danny Graham (Leroy Lita 90)

Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny, Johan Djourou, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 77), Ignasi Miquel, Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey, Andrey Arshavin (Thierry Henry 63), Yossi Benayoun (Tomas Rosicky 63), Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott

Referee: Michael Oliver, Attendance: 20,409

This match promised plenty and certainly delivered in January 2012. Both sides were not afraid to attack and it turned into a great end-to-end spectacle that produced five goals and a famous victory for Swansea City.

Swansea were in their first season in the Premier League and coping well. Brendan Rodgers had built an entertaining side that were very difficult to beat, especially at the Liberty Stadium. After a dreadful start to their 2011-2012 season which had seen four defeats from their first seven outings, Arsenal had bounced back to be a big part in the equation to finish in the top four. However, they had lost their last away match in the Premier League at Fulham.

It was the visitors’ who were the faster out of the blocks and took the lead after just five minutes. Andrey Arshavin found some space in the Swansea defensive line. His fine pass found Arsenal’s usual goalscoring source, Robin van Persie. The Gunners’ captain shrugged off the attentions of Steven Caulker to score his 18th league goal of a season that ended up with the Dutchman winning the Golden Boot and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year. However, Swansea’s passing movements were overrunning Arsenal at times and Arsene Wenger’s side lost their early control when Aaron Ramsey lazily stuck out a leg in the penalty area. Nathan Dyer went down under the challenge and although Dyer made the most of the contact, referee Michael Oliver correctly awarded the penalty. Scott Sinclair kept his composure to dispatch the penalty past Wojciech Szczesny.

Both teams continued to create chances and it was Swansea, sticking to their manager’s vision who claimed the lead 12 minutes into the second half. The excellent Joe Allen robbed his Welsh international colleague Ramsey of possession in the middle of the park and played in Dyer. The flying winger made no mistake with his finish to score for the third successive match. Wenger responded by taking off the ineffective Arshavin and replacing him with club legend Thierry Henry. Henry was back on a loan deal to help the club’s forwards out in the winter period. Theo Walcott seemed to have been inspired and he drew the Gunners’ level, clipping the ball over Michel Vorm after Johan Djourou’s pass carved the Swansea defence open.

However, parity didn’t last long. With their very next attack, Swansea were back in-front. Gylfi Sigurdsson, making his Premier League debut on-loan from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim played a matchwinning pass. Laurent Koscielny was taken out of the game and as Szczesny showed an indecisive approach to coming out and closing down the angles; Danny Graham raced onto the pass and fired across the dithering goalkeeper.  Arsenal pressed for another equaliser but couldn’t find one.

This was Swansea’s first win over their opponents for 20 years and the result took them into the top 10. They eventually finished 11th and by the end of the campaign, champions Manchester City and Liverpool FC had also been beaten at the Liberty Stadium. Arsenal bounced back from this defeat and would finish third in the table but a distant 19 points behind the duelling Manchester clubs.

Memorable Matches: Swansea City 5-4 Crystal Palace (November 2016)

Goalscorers: Wilfried Zaha 19, Gylfi Sigurdsson 36, Leroy Fer 66, 68, James Tomkins 75, Jack Cork 82 OG, Christian Benteke 84, Fernando Llorente 90+1, 90+3

Teams:

Swansea City: Lukasz Fabianski, Neil Taylor, Jordi Amat, Federico Fernandez, Kyle Naughton (Jefferson Montero 86), Jay Fulton, Jack Cork, Leroy Fer, Wayne Routledge (Fernando Llorente 66), Gylfi Sigurdsson, Modou Barrow (Angel Rangel 80)

Crystal Palace: Wayne Hennessey, Martin Kelly (Zeki Fryers 73), Scott Dann, James Tomkins, Joel Ward, James McArthur (Bakary Sako 82), Yohan Cabaye, Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, Connor Wickham (Andros Townsend 52)

Referee: Kevin Friend, Attendance: 20,276

From an entertainment perspective, the match between Swansea City and Crystal Palace in November 2016 will go down as one of the most exciting ever played in the Premier League. If you are looking for a defending masterclass, my advice would be to stay well clear of this match.

Going into the game, neither side was in any kind of form. Swansea were yet to win under American manager Bob Bradley since he took charge in early October. Crystal Palace were on a ghastly run of five successive defeats and Alan Pardew was the bookies’ favourite to be sacked next in the top-flight. This would turn out to be the 21st Premier League game to see nine or more goals scored. However, the first half never threatened to preview what would happen in a crazy final 25 minutes.

It was 1-1 at the interval. Wilfried Zaha put the visitors’ infront in the 19th minute. Zaha, who was about to confirm he would represent the Ivory Coast at international level, easily beat two defenders before slicing a low shot past Lukasz Fabianski. The Eagles’ lead lasted 15 minutes before a trademark Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick levelled the scores.

There was a worrying start to the second half when Crystal Palace forward Connor Wickham needed extensive treatment on the pitch. His foot got trapped in the turf whilst he was attempting to tackle Sigurdsson. The game was delayed for seven minutes. Wickham went off on a stretcher with a serious knee injury. His match and season were over. The match first turned Swansea’s way when Bradley brought Fernando Llorente off the bench on the hour mark. With his very first touch of the game, the Spaniard caused panic in the Palace backline and Leroy Fer cashed in to hand the hosts the lead. Two minutes later, Dutchman Fer slid in from close range from a Sigurdsson free-kick.

Pardew’s side looked down and out in the 74th minute. Yet 10 minutes later, they had turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. Now, it was Swansea’s defenders to feel the jitters. James Tomkins scored a scrambled effort, before Jack Cork flicked in Zaha’s free-kick over Fabianski and into his own net. Then, more atrocious defending allowed Christian Benteke to hit a shot off the post and rebound in. However, there was another twist in this enthralling encounter.

Llorente had a point to prove. He had been dropped from the squad for the previous weekend’s match with Everton. He answered the doubts of his manager in fabulous fashion. In the first minute of time added on, Sigurdsson had an effort saved and Llorente was quickest to flash the ball past Hennessey. He wasn’t finished. More kamikaze Palace defending in the third minute of stoppage time allowed Llorente to stab the ball past Hennessey and seal Swansea’s amazing 5-4 victory.

Neither manager survived 2016 in their post. Pardew was sacked four matches later, whilst Bradley went after a Boxing Day battering by West Ham United. Both clubs would ultimately win their fights against relegation. There were some great games in the 2016-2017 campaign but none could topple this see-saw afternoon in south Wales.

Memorable Matches: Wigan Athletic 2-3 Swansea City (May 2013)

Goalscorers: Roger Espinoza 45, Angel Rangel 49, James McCarthy 52, Itay Shechter 58, Dwight Tiendalli 75

Teams:

Wigan Athletic: Joel Robles, Emmerson Boyce (Ronnie Stam 86), Paul Scharner, Gary Caldwell, Roger Espinoza, James McArthur, James McCarthy, Ben Watson, Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman (Franco di Santo 64), Arouna Kone

Swansea City: Michel Vorm (Gerhard Tremmel 85), Angel Rangel, Ben Davies, Ashley Williams, Garry Monk, Dwight Tiendalli, Wayne Routledge, Leon Britton, Pablo Hernandez (Kemy Agustein 77), Jonathan de Guzman, Itay Shechter (Nathan Dyer 69)

Referee: Kevin Friend, Attendance: 18,850

They might have been gearing up for an upcoming FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium against Manchester City but Premier League survival was at stake for Wigan Athletic when they entertained Swansea City in a midweek match towards the end of the 2012-2013 season.

Wigan made three changes to the team that had won a five-goal thriller against West Bromwich Albion a few days earlier with skipper Gary Caldwell returning to the side.

Swansea were having a great season. The League Cup was already in their trophy cabinet and Michael Laudrup’s side were looking good for a top 10 finish. They started well with Wayne Routledge pouncing on a misplaced pass by stand-in left-back Roger Espinoza. Only the reflexes of Joel Robles spared Espinoza’s blushes. The visitors’ were missing their top goalscorer Michu, who was being rested with a trip to Old Trafford on the horizon at the weekend.

As the first half wore on, Wigan grew into the game and Roberto Martinez’s side grabbed a priceless lead right on the stroke of half-time. Ben Watson’s cross into the box wasn’t dealt with cleanly by Michel Vorm. The Dutchman’s punch only fell to Espinoza, who drove the ball home to open the scoring. What a great time it was for Espinoza to score his first goal for the club.

Swansea increased the pressure after the restart and quickly levelled the match. Routledge’s wonderfully measured cross found Angel Rangel and the full-back finished like a forward, with his crisp shot going into the net off the post. Wigan needed to respond quickly to this setback and they did. Just three minutes later, they were back infront. Caldwell’s pass found James McCarthy who broke from midfield. He just beat Ashley Williams to the decisive final contact and his shot was placed nicely out of Vorm’s reach. Wigan were back ahead.

Defensive errors though had cost Martinez’s side all season and they didn’t stop here. A sloppy pass from Caldwell in the 58th minute allowed Pablo Hernandez to pick out Itay Shechter. His shot took a deflection off the unfortunate Emmerson Boyce to beat Robles and make it 2-2. There always looked like a winner would emerge and it would be a devastating blow for the home side. With 15 minutes remaining, Shaun Maloney and James McArthur got in each other’s way at the back post. With neither taking decisive action, Dwight Tiendalli was in the right position to punish Wigan. His goal sealed the three points for Michael Laudrup’s team.

Wigan did enjoy an unbelievable day at Wembley to stun Manchester City and win the FA Cup final but were relegated the following Tuesday at Arsenal. This defeat was the crucial blow in their fight to survive.