View on the Visitors - Swansea City

South Wales Evening Post sportswriter Stephen Ware lifts the lid on Sunday’s opponents Swansea City
South Wales Post sportswriter Stephen Ware lifts the lid on Sunday’s opponents Swansea City
It has been a tumultuous time for Swansea City, so how would you sum up the season so far?

“Swansea started the season pretty well, taking eight points from their first four games, beating Manchester United and drawing with Chelsea, but things seem to have unravelled since, culminating in Garry Monk losing his job last week.

“Swansea are on a bad run at the moment, with one win in 13. They did draw at home to Tottenham and Everton, which weren’t bad results, but in the last month their form has really dipped.

“They had two particularly bad home performances, one against Bournemouth and one against Leicester. They were lucky to scrape a draw with Bournemouth after going two down after 25 minutes, and it could have been worse.

“They got themselves in a similar situation with Leicester, but they got another one after going in 2-0 up at half-time and that performance had all the makings of one which leads to a change of manager. It looked like the team had run out of ideas a little bit and that, in particular, is what’s prompted the Chairman into making a change of manager.”

Was Garry Monk a victim of his own and Swansea’s success in finishing eighth last season?

“There have been tensions, but I don’t think he lost the dressing room. The captain Ashley Williams has spoken this week and been at pains to point out that he had no falling out with the manager. There has been the odd incident in training, but nothing out of the ordinary.

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, but a lot of the players have been involved on international duty. Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor helped Wales to quality for the Euros, while Gylfi Sigurdsson has been away with Iceland, who unexpectedly qualified as well.

“Perhaps the international exertions have taken a lot out of the players. When they came back after the last international break, individual performances have slumped.

“Ashley Williams has been sensational since he joined in 2007, but he’s not been at his normal level this year. Likewise Sigurdsson, he’s improved lately, but he’s not been at his best for much of this season.

“That has been the story across the board and when you have too many individuals not playing to their best, it has an affect across the team.

“There is also a thinking that Swansea have been doing so well, punching above their weight for years, that expectations have reached an unrealistic level. Eighth place last year was fantastic, but can Swansea expect to reach those heights every season? Possibly not.

“They have improved the team and expected to kick on and at least be in the top half, so they are well below where they were last year.”
Swansea have had a fairly high turnover of managers for a club on an upward trajectory, so is there confidence that Huw Jenkins will get it right in appointing a new manager?

“The last two – Michael Laudrup and now Garry Monk – have been sacked in fairly quick succession, whereas before that they hadn’t really sacked anyone since Brian Flynn in 2004. All the others have gone of their own accord – Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Kenny Jackett before that.

“Looking at it, Swansea seem to be falling into the same pattern as other clubs in that, when things aren’t going right, they pull the trigger. They have been quick to do that this year, perhaps because of all the extra television money that’s coming in.

“Huw Jenkins has got a very good record of finding the right man to take over, although within Swansea’s story there have been a couple who haven’t quite hit the heights of others, like Paolo Sousa for example, and Laudrup as well by the end. Not every manager has been as successful as Rodgers or Martinez.”

Sunday’s game pits two clubs on six-match winless runs against one another, so would Swansea have picked West Ham as their opponents?

“Alan Curtis will be in caretaker charge again and Swansea have got West Ham and then West Brom on Boxing Day, so the feeling is that these two home games are chances to pick up points and move away from danger a little bit.

“I keep reading about West Ham’s injuries all the time. They seem to be losing new players every day, so that’s encouraging for Swansea.

“Andy Carroll being out is a boost because he always scores against Swansea. Big centre forwards cause Swansea problems, and Andy has done damage in the past, so they’ll be pleased to not be coming against him.

“Swansea have struggled against everyone recently, though, so it’ll be interesting to see how the game pans out.”