Are Swansea City ready to represent Wales in next season's Europa League?

The Swans are flying high in the Premier League and on the brink of a League Cup final. Could they qualify for Europe for the first time in over twenty years?

The 1st October 1991 was the last time Swansea City had the pleasure of watching their team play in European competition. They featured in the European Cup Winners Cup that season and faced a Monaco side containing the combined talents of Emmanuel Petit, George Weah and Youri Djorkaeff. The task was to overturn a two-goal deficit from the previous home leg. They failed in some style; the final score being 8-0 to AS Monaco.

They qualified for that competition with victory over Wrexham in the Welsh Cup in the same year but now such an entrance point is shut off for Swansea; no teams who play in the English football league system are admissible to the Welsh Cup anymore.

For Swansea, who are currently the highest ranked Welsh team due to their lofty Premier League status, which has meant real difficulty when it comes to potentially qualifying for European competition. So while the likes of The New Saints, Llanelli and Rhyl FC toil away in the opening qualifying rounds of competition Swansea and their fans have watched on with the sure hope of one day being able to represent their country with pride on the continent.

Now it seems that moment is becoming tantalisingly close. Swansea face Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final this week and take a 2-0 advantage back to South Wales with them with hopes high that they can force their way into the final. If they were to do so Aston Villa or Bradford City would stand in their way of European qualification.

Yet even qualification through the league system should not yet be thrown out of the realms of possibility. Swansea currently lie in ninth place and just four points behind fifth place side Everton and after watching the way they tore apart their nearest rivals Stoke City you have to start wondering just how far Michael Laudrup could take this team.

The third goal; scored by Jonathan De Guzman at the end of fantastic passing work from Wayne Routledge, Angel Rangel and Danny Graham was called a potential ‘goal of the season’ by Steven Gerrard as he acted as a guest panellist on Goals on Sunday this weekend and it would be hard to disagree with Stevie G.

Out of all the clubs in the Premier League there are not many who have earned a right to represent their country on the continent next season more than Swansea. Not just because they so happen to represent Wales but because they have played football the right way to do so.

Do you think Swansea will be playing European football next season?

images: © Ronnie Macdonald, © wonker

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