Stop me if you've heard this before. A club have run into a spell of trouble, and urgently need a result to turn their season around. Luckily for them, Aston Villa is up next on the fixture list! Villa's last three opponents (Liverpool, Stoke, and Chelsea) were all able to claim three crucial points and gain some much needed momentum. On Saturday, Swansea City look to extend that streak to four in a row, while Villa will try to break this irritating habit. I connected with Josh from The Swansea Way to learn a little bit more about the Swans and their recent struggles.
After a bright start, Swansea have cooled off significantly in the past few weeks, picking up only 2 points out of their last 5 games. Why haven't they been able to build on their early season success?
TSW: It's something of a mystery to be honest. I think, in the long term at least, we were always going to struggle with goals as I don't think anyone down here is particularly convinced with our two recognised strikers. I somewhat rate Gomis, but you'll see in our game tomorrow that he never really knows what to do with the ball when he gets it. Unless we recruit in January, we're going to be heavily reliant on other positions to get us goals.
What needs to happen for the club to start picking up points again? Is it the personnel that needs changing or do the tactics need to be altered?
TSW: I was very critical of Garry Monk's tactics on Monday night. I don't know what our fans expected from Andre Ayew playing centrally, and I really don't know why anybody thought we'd benefit from dropping Sigurdsson. I think Monk learned a lot of lessons against Stoke though, and I can't see him deploying Ayew in that ‘10' role again anytime soon. We're struggling for control in midfield so I'd personally bring in Leon Britton who, despite not being a glamorous player, would really help balance the team - while we're in a stint of poor form.
A few rumours have surfaced over the past week that Villa is keeping tabs on Garry Monk in case they decide to cut ties with Tim Sherwood. I don't think that Monk is under the same amount of pressure that Sherwood is, but how long do you think he has to get the club out of their funk?
TSW: I think the fact that Monk is rumoured to be under pressure only reiterates what Jose Mourinho was saying just a few weeks ago about managers not being given time. Admittedly we're not playing well, and I haven't agreed with a few of his decisions but I'd be disappointed if he had been told he was under pressure; that's not really how we do things. There's no way we'll be relegated, so maybe we ‘ll revaluate at the end of the season if things aren't going to plan.
Both of our clubs picked up an Ayew brother over the summer - Swansea's Andre has undoubtedly made more of an impact at his new club than Villa's Jordan. Normally it takes players a bit of time to settle into the Premier League before they start to flourish. How has he fit into the club so well, so quickly?
TSW: I think the thing with our Andre Ayew is that he came in to a squad that had been crying out for him since we lost Scott Sinclair all those years ago, because we haven't really had a goal-scoring winger since. His already-established relationship with Gomis must've helped a little, but I also think it's down to the role he's been given. You'll see what I mean at Villa Park tomorrow, but he literally does what he wants and that's why I think he's thrived so much. He'll make the whole final third his own, whether that means he's causing problems out wide or centrally.
Story time: Every year on FIFA, I like to dabble with some new teams I don't know much about - It's a good way to learn about clubs outside the Prem, and I get tired of losing with Villa all the time. Last year, I got into a career mode with French club St. Etienne. One of my key players was left back Franck Tabanou - so I was pretty excited over the summer when he made the move to England to play with the Swans. But since the start of the season, he's been completely anonymous, barely given a chance to feature. What's up with that? My FIFA managerial side is extremely offended.
TSW: It's not only you who's offended mate! Franck has made no secret of the fact that he's pretty narked with his situation in a recent interview with French media; something that Gomis did last season. He looked great in pre-season but he's only been given a chance in the cup as of yet. He's been told that, defensively at least, he needs to adapt better to the English game but if his recent interview is anything to go by then he's convinced that he's done just that, Neil Taylor has been brilliant for us this season though, and he hasn't done much to justify being left out of the squad. I think there must be a slight rift somewhere, because a player of his talent shouldn't be on the bench, let alone not in the squad completely. If you're interested, Garry Monk has said he'll answer questions on it in his pre-match press conference this week!
It's still relatively early, but who's been the Swans' player of the season so far?
TSW: It'd probably be between Jefferson Montero and Andre Ayew but I think that latter's final product I think I'd say he gets it. His impact on the team has been just what everyone expected from him, and he's already become a real fan favourite. Whether he'll stick around for long is another question, but even one season with him in our squad will do me fine.
If you could have any Villa player switch over to Swansea, who would it be?
TSW: Obviously, Jack Grealish is a player that I admire greatly, but I don't think he'd be my answer for us at the moment. In all honesty, I'd probably have to go for Rudy Gestede. I was a little bit gutted we didn't sign him ourselves in the summer after being so heavily linked with him because his aerial presence is quite literally world class. Other than that, I'd probably take Scott Sinclair back, just because he was so good for us before leaving for Man City.
As you may know, the best medicine for a struggling club is a fixture against Aston Villa (just ask Chelsea, Stoke, or Liverpool). So, in advance: You're welcome Swansea. Thank you cards are begrudgingly accepted; gift baskets are highly recommended.
TSW: Haha! Let's just say I'm not expecting miracles on Saturday, because we have the tendency to gift clubs who are stuck in a rut a way out of it; so maybe I'll leave the thank you cards for now.
Thanks again to Josh and everyone over at The Swansea Way!