For some, it may not be a bright and cheery day in South Wales. Instead, it’s the morning after Swansea City’s shocking (and comprehensive) 3-2 defeat in the FA Cup at the hands of League One side Oxford United.
Toss in reports of midfielder Jonjo Shelvey arguing with traveling Swans’ fans, and the picture gets even more bleak.
But, as disappointing as a short cup run can be, this may not be a bad thing for Swansea City.
Not having to deal with FA Cup ties (and potential replays) should enable the club to focus on an more important, and attainable, goal — staying in the Premier League.
Right now, the Swans sit in 17th place, just two points above the relegation zone.
Here’s a look at the bottom of the table:
Of these teams, only Aston Villa and Bournemouth are still alive in the FA Cup. Aston Villa faces a replay with Wycombe Wanderers on Jan. 19 while Bournemouth will play in the fourth round on the weekend of Jan. 3o.
For Villa, the replay is sandwiched between a home date with second-place Leicester City on Jan. 16 and a trip to West Brom on Jan. 23. Should the Villains defeat Wycombe, they would play a FA Cup match on Jan. 30, just three days before a trip to West Ham on Feb. 2.
Being as far down the table as it is, this may not matter much to Aston Villa, but this is just the sort of fixture congestion and split focus that gets a team sent down to the championship.
In contrast, Swansea City has just two mid-week matches left on its schedule (Feb. 2 at West Brom and March 2 at Arsenal). The team will have ample rest, and without the distraction of a cup run, should be able to string enough points together to ensure its survival in the top flight.
Bournemouth, the team right above the Swans in the table, will also be dealing with added fixtures because of its cup success.
In a nine-day stretch spanning the end of January and start of February, the Cherries will play three matches. A FA Cup match on Jan. 30, a trip to Crystal Palace on Feb. 2 and a home date with Arsenal on Feb. 7.
Advancing in the cup will only create a more crowded schedule later in the month for the newly promoted side.
So, all things considered, when it comes to staying in the Premier League, I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather be in Swansea’s position.