Before this game Ian Holloway cited Swansea City as an inspiration, claiming they had changed the way he saw football. "I don't like 'em now," was his verdict after watching the Swans utterly outplay his Crystal Palace side on home soil. It was tongue-in-cheek but few could blame him if he were deadly serious – there will be few more one-sided afternoons all season.
For Swansea, it meant an exceptional week ended on a high, with goals from Michu and Nathan Dyer at the very start of each half enough to secure the points. With this their third game in seven days there were fears of fatigue for the visitors, but, as their manager, Michael Laudrup said, they "dominated the game from the first second to the last".
City have won on the back of both their European trips this season. A Thursday night defeat in Romania was followed by a weekend win over West Bromwich at The Hawthorns and their win in Valencia has been backed up with another away victory in the league. It speaks volumes for the players' mental and physical fitness, but it also says something about Swansea's squad strength that Laudrup was able to make five changes for the Europa League and a further five changes for this game without losing any attacking potency. As Laudrup pointed out, over the course of the two games his side have scored five but created opportunities to score 15.
"The players from last year know each other, the new ones we did not bring by picking them out of a bucket," Laudrup said. "We chose these players because we know they adapt to the way we play. So that's why we can do that. It doesn't mean I will change five every game, but we have a squad now where we can cope with a couple of injuries."
After the final whistle Holloway kept his players back in the dressing room, to deliver a verbal volley. Whereas Swansea's changes were seamless, Palace in contrast looked thoroughly disjointed.
"The changes I had to make, or I chose to make, with the new lads coming in …it looked like they were strangers, in fairness," said Holloway, who was sitting out the second leg of his two-match touchline ban. "With the greatest respect it's as bad as I ever want to feel. I didn't enjoy any minute. It was my fault for not being on the line with them after losing my temper against Tottenham. I felt estranged and out of it, and they've got to feel that their manager is with them, so please, blame me."
Laudrup had demanded his side "move on" from the thrilling 3-0 win in Spain and any doubts about their ability to do so were dispelled after 80 seconds, with Michu prompting then finishing a sweeping move from the back. Not that everyone was impressed. "It was probably the worst goal I've ever seen," Holloway said. "The midfield pressed. They got it through us. Then the backline dropped. What are we doing? It wasn't even co-ordinated."
It might have been 2-0 moments later, with Chico Flores's effort from Jonjo Shelvey's corner coming back off the post, but instead they had to wait until 150 seconds into the second half, with Dyer turning home Alvaro Vázquez's pull-back after more stunning work from Michu.
Palace improved marginally after their shambolic openings to each half but were a distant second. José Campaña's drive that zipped over the bar in injury-time was perhaps their best attacking moment. All in all, it was a chastening experience. "We've got to sew it all together and get some points," Holloway said. "And we've got to do it so fast, it's frightening."
Man of the match Michu (Swansea City)