LONDON (Reuters) - Paul Clement has made the best Premier League start of any Swansea City manager and takes his revitalised side to Hull City on Saturday looking to build on a remarkable run that has lifted the club five points clear of the relegation zone.
Even the most optimistic Swansea fan would have struggled to imagine the impact Clement would have when he joined in January as their third manager of the season and with the club rock-bottom of the table.
Yet after five wins in his first eight league games, Swansea have pulled clear of danger and now have a cushion between themselves and those looking to claw their way out of the mire below.
Clement, whose career has been spent mostly as an assistant and was Carlo Ancelotti’s right-hand man at Chelsea when they won the double in 2010, has accumulated 15 points from a possible 24.
Remarkably, he has only been beaten in the league by Arsenal, Manchester City and leaders Chelsea.
If the Premier League season had begun in the week of Clement’s arrival, Swansea would be fifth, with only Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton having picked up more points in that period.
His record is so good that no Swansea manager has ever done better in their opening eight Premier League games. In fact, Clement has managed more points in eight than any of his predecessors managed in their first 10.
Hull, however, could prove difficult opponents for Swansea having already beaten them twice this season, including a 2-0 FA Cup victory in Clement’s second game in charge.
They too changed coach in January in the hope of turning their season around and while Marco Silva has not had the same impact as Clement they have shown signs of fight, taking eight points out of 21 since his appointment.
They remain, however, deep in relegation danger and are 19th in the table, four points adrift of safety.
With the FA Cup quarter-finals taking centre stage this weekend, there are only four Premier League fixtures with Liverpool’s home clash against Burnley on Sunday, the pick of the bunch.
Fourth-placed Liverpool, who beat Arsenal last weekend, have found it hard going at times against teams in the bottom half of the table and in 12th place Burnley they face a side who have already beaten them this season.
Everton’s Romelu Lukaku faces former loan club West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, having scored three goals in six Premier League matches against his old side.
Bournemouth will be without Tyrone Mings when they host West Ham United on Saturday as the defender begins a five-match ban after being charged with violent conduct for a clash with Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic last weekend.
Mings landed on the head of Ibrahimovic with his studs just before halftime.
Reporting by Toby Davis, editing by Pritha Sarkar