After Michael Laudrup’s sacking from Swansea last season, few expected Garry Monk to do as well as he has done replacing him in South Wales. After surviving a relegation battle in his player-manager interim role, he was given the job full time in the summer. Since, Monk has lead Swansea into a regular top half position and has built a squad capable of challenging at the top of English football. They lie in 8th place in the Premier League, and have just reached the 40 mark point, achieving the famous ‘security’ milestone. Now, Monk wants to build on that and beat Brendan Rodgers’ Premier League record of 47 points with the Swans.
No one really expected Garry Monk to take over when he did, and when they were sucked into the relegation battle, many thought that the Swans’ stay in the Premier League was soon coming to an end. However, he managed to keep them up and vowed to build a team and improve on his performance that season. He kept to his word and made some very wise moves in the summer transfer window. Monk invested in Federico Fernandez, Jefferson Montero, Bafetimbi Gomis, Lukasz Fabianski and Gylfi Sigurdsson, for example, and the new-look Swansea team prepared for the 2014-15 season.
They started the season very impressively, winning their first three matches of the season, including an opening day victory at Old Trafford, to dampen Louis Van Gaal’s special occasion. After encountering a sticky run of form, Swansea started to prove themselves and settle as a mid-table Premier League side, playing attractive and open football. They’re style was coming into it’s own, with Montero settling into life in England and terrorising full backs, Siggurdson enjoying his return to Swansea and Wilfried Bony opening an impressive scoring record for the season.
Their midfield has been key for them throughout the season. Whether they have been playing a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, the two holding midfielders, mainly Ki and Shelvey, have been incredibly impressive. Together they have been involved in 11 goals, nearly a third of their goals total. Both have also been integral to Swansea’s attacking play, as well as both tracking back and adding stability to their defensive work. Ki has been a rock in terms of defence for the Swans, playing a vital role in defence as well as attack. He has made an astounding 70 clearances throughout the season which results to just under three a game. Gylfi Sigurdsson has had an excellent season for the Swans, mainly proving to the world his set-piece prowess and ability. Not only this, but he has created double as many chances as any other Swansea player, with a total of 55. As well as this, he has also made an impressive 8 assists throughout the season.
By Christmas, Wilfried Bony was starting to come into his own, attracting obvious interest from bigger clubs as he prepared to jet off for the African Cup of Nations. He had put together a good run of goals, racking up an impressive tally of 9. For the first half of the season at the Liberty, he had been a fairly big player for Swansea, ending his time there as top-scorer and also becoming their all time top Premier League scorer. However, a fascinating stat regarding Bony and his time at Swansea is that he only scored in one of Swansea’s victory’s this season; a brace in a 2-0 win over Leicester. The rest of his goals came in losses and draws exclusively.
At the end of 2014, he was the top scorer in the Premier League for the calendar year, scoring 21 goals. Whilst he was on international duty with the Ivory Coast, it was announced that Manchester City had bought Bony for a fee of £28,000,000. Whoever at the Liberty Stadium managed to squeeze that figure out of the Striker needs a medal. Although he has had a fantastic stay in Wales with Swansea, I really don’t believe that he is worth that huge fee associated. I also think it is unlikely that he is going to rekindle his form he had with Swansea anytime soon. With added pressure on his back, I think it’s unlikely to see the Wilfried Bony we saw at Swansea for the remainder of this season. After coming on from the bench on three occasions for City, he has failed to make an impact at all in these brief appearances.
You would be forgiven for thinking that Swansea would lose their form and their style once Bony had left, after playing such a big role in their season. However, since his departure, Swansea have only lost two games. Albeit, one of those being the humiliating 5-0 thrashing they received from Chelsea at the Liberty. Since that day though, they have picked up their form and Bafetimbi Gomis has almost acted as a direct replacement for Bony, having opened his account for the season and netted twice since Bony has left.
Swansea, for me, are a typical mid-table side. They have had a good season, and have got a good number of points on the board. They are not a huge scoring side though, and have only scored 31 goals, the least in the top 10. However, it could be a really good consolidation season for the Swans. At the end of this season, Garry Monk could really push on and build a side well capable of challenging for Europe next season. With the money available from the Bony sale, who knows how far Swansea can go in the next few years?