Much has been made of the demands of the Europa League and the impact of extra games and travel on Swansea's league position, it's purely speculation and maybe a bit biased but I'd argue that our level would be closer to that of Southampton without the extra games (Swansea have played 10 Europa League games but 2 fewer matches in the League Cup compared to Southampton).
As at end of Jan 2014, Swansea have already played 36 competitive matches (23 League, 10 Europa League, 2 FA Cup and 1 League Cup) with late Nov until early Jan being particularly busy with the absence of any international breaks and 2 games a week for 5 of the 6 weeks.
|Swansea Minutes Played per week - All Competitions|
The chain arguably starts with Bony having a succession of injuries early on in the season ranging from Ankle/Foot (Aug 25th) to Rib (Sep 15th) injuries combined with a lack of a full pre-season and then suffering a hamstring injury in a Europa League game on Nov 28th.
|Bony - Minutes played per week.|
|In has time with Swansea, due to his importance to the team Michu has very rarely been substituted and has played despite not being fully fit this season having problems in both ankles. Playing time above excludes his 57 min for Spain in mid October.|
The reasoning that some games you'd need 2 and others 3 of the central midfielders was why Ki was loaned out to Sunderland as unless there was a run on injuries he'd get very little game time (I know there are other conspiracy theories around his relationship with Laudrup but apart from the issue of helping a potential relegation rival, Ki is better of this season at Sunderland).
The gradual build up of injuries meant that instead of a regular rotation that happened earlier on in the season, Shelvey and Canas in particular were called on even more during the Nov/Dec period which may well have had an impact on their fitness.
|Shelvey has possibly been Swansea's player of the season so far but a heavy schedule in recent weeks had arguably knackered him out to some extent|
|As with Shelvey, Canas has gone from playing equivalent of around 1 game per week to regularly playing 2 games a week|
Pablo has gained a reputation this season as being 'made of glass' but last season was an almost ever-present. This season maybe he's been pushed backed too quickly only to relapse.
|Playing 2 matches in a week might not seem the greatest hardship in the world, but going from nothing to multiple games may be too much of a rush for some players|
Over the season so far Chico has played by far the most minutes (Williams was often rested in Europa League games partly due to a niggling ankle injury but also to give Amat experience).
|Chico has played 2745 minutes this season, 489 minutes more than Ashley Williams in 2nd.|
|Pozuelo's been regularly involved, if not as heavily as some but played an important role in keeping things going during late Nov/early Dec|