In a series shamelessly stolen from Deadspin great Drew Magary, Cartilage Free Captain will preview each opponent before we face them and explain to you exactly why they're complete crap and doomed for the drop.
If you're a Swansea City fan, that's too bad. Your team sucks and you're going to get relegated.
Your Club Sucks: To get the obvious out of the way, you're Welsh. Insert
Welshman into sheep sheep joke here. I'm not sure who you blew to get into the English league system, because I didn't think sheep had that kind of authority within the FA.
Sorry, enough with the sheep jokes. But your club is actually terrible.
You've spent your entire undeserved history in England bouncing around the foot of the third and fourth divisions. So glad they let you in, you've been a real credit to your "country". Your original stadium was a toxic waste land named after a legume, because it was covered in them. Instead of grass, your players literally played on a field full of lentils. Presumably you named the new stadium the Liberty because you were finally free of playing in such a dump.
The last time you were in the top flight, you shot up four divisions and achieved a remarkable sixth place finish. Sound familiar? And how did that story end? Oh, straight back down to the bottom of the fourth division in four straight years? Nobody's going to be surprised when history repeats itself.
You've had a good run, but now it's time you plummet back down where you belong.
Your Owner Sucks: You've got an adorable ownership structure, with several key shareholders including a Supporters' Trust who owns 20% of the club. It's admirable that the fans have a hand in running the club, but "admirable" is a pretty short road back to the fourth division.
Director and principal shareholder Martin Morgan was the second poorest owner in the league last year. The quaint millionaire is completely out of his depth in a league of billionaires. One could almost feel bad for him, that is, if he wasn't responsible for the existence of his terrible son Charlie, the world's douchiest ballboy.
Despite having no money to invest in the team and dragging their feet over a much-needed stadium expansion due to uncertain finances, the wonderful and admirable money men behind the club decided to award themselves a £2m bonus for postponing relegation by one year. Probably because they realized this is the last time Swansea will ever be in a position to turn a profit.
Your Last Season Sucked: Congratulations on the first trophy you've ever won! Crushing the titans of Bradford City is the greatest accomplishment in your entire history.
Unfortunately, the league is also a thing, and you spent so much time dwelling on your mammoth victory over the mighty Bantams that you forgot to pay any attention to the league. And you almost got dragged into the relegation dogfight because of it. The only thing that saved you was the presence of teams that were even worse.
Lightning won't strike twice.
Your Coach Sucks: Mediocre La Liga manager with a history of cup success comes to England to replace a fan favorite, wins the League Cup, and phones in the rest of the season. How does that story end? Ah yes, 2 points 8 games. Spurs fans have already seen this movie already, and Michael Laudrup is nothing more than Juande Ramos 2: Electric Boogaloo.
He was a great player and he's very handsome and he has great hair. And that's all. Even though everyone treats him like the second coming, Michael Laudrup's managerial career is mediocre at best. Winning the least significant trophy in history doesn't change that.
Before Laudrup, your team was built on a tiki-taka-lite style of possession, with guys like Joe Allen and Leon Britton playing keep away for 90 minutes. But Laudrup is quickly blowing that up. Last year's signing of Ki Sung-Yueng by the club to replace Allen was inspired, and the Korean was one of the best passers in the EPL. But Laudrup, in his genius, has decided to completely marginalize both him and Britton so he can play a trio of attacking midfielders at the same time--one of whom is Jonjo Shelvey.
Basically everything that made your team good and enjoyable is being destroyed, and it's all because Laudrup doesn't know shit about shit.
Your Players Suck: Laudrup has bloated the squad with third-rate Spaniards, mistakenly believing that Spain's World Champion status means everyone from Spain is awesome. They're not.
Michu fluked his way to scoring a bunch of goals on an outrageously lucky shot conversion rate. Guess who's not doing that again? If you guessed Michu, congratulations, you're not as stupid as Michael Laudrup. The rapidly-eroding veneer of purity that has blanketed Swansea since your promotion is the only reason why Chico isn't hailed as the dirtiest player in the Premier League (yes, even in a league that contains John Terry and Luis Suarez). Angel Rangel is nothing but a cool name.
And it's not just the mediocre Spanish players who are rejects. Routledge is a Spurs reject. Ashley Williams is soon to be an Arsenal reject.
Your New Signings Suck: Your new striker and record signing was the laziest and least technically gifted player to score goals against crappy Dutch defenses last year (yes, even in a league that contained Jozy Altidore). And Wilfried Bony is not going to be any better in England. Hilariously, the slothlike poacher's signing means Michu--the guy who scored roughly 105% your goals last year--is going to move from the role where he was so successful to accommodate him. Sounds like a recipe for success.
And to cap it all off, somehow Liverpool managed to convince you that
Aljo Pecia Jonjo Shelvey was an actual professional footballer.
Why you might escape the drop: Because Michael Laudrup can be sacked before he does too much damage. And going down while Cardiff stay up is just too embarrassing to consider.