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Historic individual Premier League campaigns: Michu (2012/13)

Take away that season, and Michu’s career resume is average at best. Below average, even. Miguel Perez Cuesta, to be precise, started his career at Oviedo. He scored 100 goals in 400 appearances and prominently played in Spain’s second division. He retired prematurely, hanging up his boots in 2017 due to persistent injuries. But that one season. Oh, it was magnificent. Who saw it coming?

The season referenced here is the 2012/13 campaign, which was Michu’s first season at Swansea City. He was signed from Rayo Vallecano for just £2 million, and he had scored 15 La Liga goals in the season before. Before that, he had scored just six goals in the past two seasons in the Segunda Division. Some people must have thought that he would regress to the mean. They could not have been more wrong.

To put it simply, Michu was an elite poacher. He scored goals and did not do much else. But those goals were high in number, and quality. He scored 18 Premier League goals that season, and 22 in all competitions. Michu exploded as the season commenced, scoring a brace against QPR on his debut. The Spaniard was on fire, and his goals coincided with Swansea’s rise up the table.

Swansea upset quite a few teams that season, and Michu was one of the main reasons why. He scored thrice against Arsenal in the league, including a brace at the Emirates. Then he scored against them in the FA Cup as well. He scored against Manchester United as well, in both the fixtures. He scored at Stamford Bridge as Swansea knocked out Chelsea from the League Cup at the semi final stage.

The Swans finished 9th in the league, which was hugely impressive. But that season will be remembered for their exploits in another competition. Swansea won the League Cup to claim the first major trophy in their history. They defeated Bradford City 5-0 in the final after they had knocked out both Liverpool and Chelsea in the previous rounds. Michu scored at Wembley in the final, on what was the most glorious day in Swansea’s history.

Numerous teams wanted to sign him in 2013, and the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool were knocking. But Swansea held firm. Michu began the next season well, but got injured and underwent ankle surgery. The injuries did not stop for him and unfortunately derailed his career. He went to Napoli, before returning to Oviedo in 2016. Michu retired in 2017 due to multiple injury issues.

Despite his rapid fall after 2013, Michu’s season would always be remembered as one of the greatest. Nobody knew him when the season began. But when it did, he could not stop scoring and led Swansea to their first major trophy. Michu was also capped by Spain in October 2013, when he turned out in a World Cup qualifier against Belarus.

It is tempting to think about what could have happened if it wasn’t for those injuries. Perhaps Michu feels along the same lines at times. Maybe he would not have been able to replicate the form he showed that season. One certain thing is that campaign is etched into the minds of Premier League fans.

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