Sunday, 21 December 2014

Hull 0-1 Swansea: Player ratings

Josh Kilmister gives his customary take on how our boys fared in their last outing




After two consecutive losses, a win away at Hull was somewhat imperative. Despite fielding a surprisingly weakened team with seven changes from the loss to Spurs, The Swans walked away with all three points to make Christmas that little bit better.

Starting XI

Lukasz Fabianski - 8/10

The big Pole in our goal was back after a one match suspension and if Tremmel’s performance last week wasn’t enough evidence that we missed him, then Fabianski’s performance today certainly was. Superb in the air, controlled his box with ease and when called upon made some brilliant saves. His distribution was excellent, and one incredibly long throw in particular almost set Nathan Dyer in on goal; it sure is great to have him back in net.

Neil Taylor - 8/10

Solid again at the back, making some great tackles in our defensive third. Contributions to attack worth mentioning, linking up with Routledge on the left flank in an attempt to increase our lead. Took a knock in the second half and needed extensive treatment before leaving the pitch - he came back on to echoes of jeers from the Hull fans. Seemed to recover well from what looked originally looked like a reasonably bad injury but received a yellow card minutes later.

Federico Fernandez - 8/10

As I expected, Fede regained his place in the side despite a run of solid performances from Kyle Bartley. Though it was said he was fit last week, an extra few days recovery did the Argentine no harm as him and Williams played a huge role in keeping our seventh clean sheet in seventeen games. He did have a chance to get his first goal in a Swansea shirt but couldn’t direct his header on target. Bartley has served us well over recent weeks, but Fernandez is quite clearly on another level.

Ashley Williams - 8.5/10

An outstanding performance from the Swans’ skipper who was a rock at the back for the full ninety minutes. Linked with a move to Liverpool this week, Williams showed that if anyone wants him he’s not going to come cheap; his leadership shone through as he held the line of defence excellently and - even if there is a slight language barrier - him and Fernandez look like a partnership that really can thrive in the Premier League.

Ashley Richards - 8/10

Jazz was quick to apologise for his error last Sunday, but the mistake didn’t deceive Garry Monk. Starting ahead of Angel Rangel, Jazz showed that he’s more than capable of making that right-back position his own. Jazz - formerly a winger - showed that he hasn’t forgotten every aspect to the attacking side of the game, making a few good runs outside of Nathan Dyer on the right. Though I don’t have a stat for it, his pass accuracy seemed excellent, playing some tidy one-twos on the right flank. Taken off for Rangel with ten minutes to go, I would only assume that it was to prevent a second yellow card. Perhaps I was a little harsh with his rating last week, but this week he’s done more than enough to earn his place in the side on Boxing Day.

Tom Carroll - 7.5/10

I really struggled with this one as the Spurs loanee was replaced early on in the second half. Until then, Carroll looked comfortable on the ball whilst also offering himself to the defence when needed. He was central to numerous attacks, with has ability to place a pass, together with his quick feet, taking its toll on the Hull defence. Though his performance will be overshadowed by that of Ki, he certainly hasn’t done his position in the squad any harm. 


Ki Sung-Yeung - 9/10 (Man of the match)

With Sigurdsson and Britton both missing through injury, Ki was the only of our three midfielders to keep his place from last week’s game. Alongside the young Tom Carroll and behind the talented - but somewhat precarious - Jonjo Shelvey, Ki had the duties of controlling the midfield and making the game ours. He didn’t disappoint, and even when Hull were putting on the pressure he rarely misplaced a pass. As well as his incredible defensive efforts, Ki’s creativity in front of goal didn’t go unseen either. Although the goal was credited to him, I don’t think Ki knew much about it. A left-footed strike from Jonjo Shelvey deflected off the Korean and into Allan McGregor’s net; that’s his third this season!

Wayne Routledge - 7/10

Although Routs didn’t do much wrong, he did little to impact the game in my opinion. Apart from a chance early on where he refused to use his often criticised left foot to test the Hull City ‘keeper, I never really felt that he made the most of the obvious gap between Hull’s defence and midfield. Wasteful at times, but by no means bad. 

Jonjo Shelvey - 7.5/10

Ah, Jonjo. Starting in the ‘Gylfi role’, it’s difficult to predict what sort of performance we’re going to get from the England international. One thing for sure is that he isn’t afraid to shoot, and that certainly worked to our benefit today. Although he may not be able to claim the goal, he can certainly claim an assist as he saw an ambitious shot deflect off Ki and into the back of the net. He almost got a goal to his name later in the match, as another trademark long shot beat McGregor, but struck against the post. Forced to drop back after the introduction of Emnes, Shelvey again showed his adaptability and worked well for the last third of the game to grind out the win. 

Nathan Dyer - 7/10

Like Routledge, Dyer was very much ineffective but by no means poor. His final ball into the box wasn’t up to scratch and there were times where his decision making wasn’t on point, but the same could be said for Routs. With Gomis up front, perhaps it’s more difficult for the wide players to impact the game, so that will have to be seen to come January. 

Bafetimbi Gomis - 7.5/10

I feel for Baf, I really do. As I mentioned in a piece last week, the time he’s been given to prove himself simply isn’t enough for a striker like him. I thought he was brilliant today, and brought a whole new element to the game that Wilf doesn’t offer. Making runs into the channels, Shelvey was given a world of space to work with in midfield. As well as that he managed to get his fair share of shots away, hitting the post with a volley inside the box - though the likelihood is that the deflection would’ve seen it go down as an own goal. Until we change out methods in the final third, we’re never going to see the full potential of Gomis. Our game is set up for Bony, and that has to change in January. 

Substitutes

Marvin Emnes - 7/10 (for Carroll, 56) 

His first appearance for quite a while after he lost his place on the bench to Mo Barrow, Emnes showed his ability immediately after coming on and saw a volley go just wide of the post. 

Wilfried Bony - 8/10 (for Gomis, 76)

It was clear to see that despite the efforts of Gomis, Bony is the better of the two at the moment. Only on the field for fifteen minutes, Wilf got himself into a few really good positions along the front line, forcing McGregor into action late on. 

Angel Rangel - 7/10 (for Richards, 80)

Brought on for Richards who was in danger of a second yellow card, there really isn’t too much to write about Rangel here, who didn’t have much to do in the ten minutes he played; though I guess he did nothing wrong!

Summary

A first away win since the opening day and players fresh ready for Boxing Day; I don’t think we could’ve asked for much more. Although people were quick to question Monk’s team selection, that won’t be the case as much this evening. 
Perhaps had we started with Bony up front the last ten minutes wouldn’t have been as nervy, but that’s all part of the game.

One thing that was made clear today is that as well as Bony, Ki will be a huge loss in January. Hopefully, the likes of Tom Carroll and Jonjo - who both showed their capabilities today - will be able to step up to the plate. With a busy couple of weeks ahead, Monk will be hoping for maximum points with potentially rotated squads; and we’ve certainly got the strength in depth to get them.

Aston Villa at home on Boxing Day is set to be a great game, with Villa picking up form as of late. Until then, I hope you all enjoy your Christmas; after this result, I know I will!

Thanks to Josh as usual. Agree with his ratings? Disagree? Get in touch in the comment section with your own!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Gomis needs time. We need to be patient.

Josh Kilmister on why Bafetimbi Gomis' patience will be rewarded


Bafetimbi Gomis in action against Crystal Palace


With Wilfried Bony hitting his peak in the Premier League, Bafe Gomis hasn’t had much of a look in so far this season; that’s not to say that he isn’t good enough to make it though. People have been quick to criticise Gomis, but from watching him play abroad before joining The Swans, I know he has the ability to produce the goods. He hasn’t been given as much of a chance as I’m sure he expected but he, as well as us, have to be patient.

After we somehow lost to Spurs on Sunday, Ashley Williams came out and said he believes we need to stop relying on Bony to get us goals. For the first few games of the season we had goals coming in from all over the shop; Dyer and Routledge were both backed for an England call up by pundits and players all over the country, and that was down to the goals they were scoring. I understand that as wingers they aren’t going to get the same number of goals as Bony is, but in recent games Ash is right in saying that we’ve been reliant on Wilf.

I feel that this is the main reason that Bafe hasn’t been given much game time. We simply cannot afford to risk dropping Wilf for a striker who isn’t yet certain to score goals. The game time he’s had has been minimal, and he hasn’t really been given a consistent system to work with. Our game is very much built around Bony, and for the games that Gomis has played our style has not changed. Gomis isn’t as physical as Bony - and that’s more of a compliment to Wilf than a dig at Bafe, because Gomis is a very physical player - so to expect him to work the defence the same way as Bony does is ridiculous.

We all remember Bony’s first few months as a Swans player, don’t we? By this time of the season Bony had just four goals in the Premier League, and there were only a handful of fans who were still convinced that he was the right man for us. Of course, this was partially down to a man by the name of Michael Laudrup, who decided to play a very much injured Michu over a hungry Bony time after time, but he still had more game time than Gomis has had by this point.

Gomis has scored just the one goal in thirteen Premier League appearances for The Swans, but don’t let that deceive you. Eleven of those thirteen appearances have been from the bench, and the majority of those appearances have been to see out the last ten minutes of the game. For a striker, that isn’t enough time to establish yourself. Without adequate game time, Bafe’s confidence is always going to be holding him back and that won’t change until he gets his chance.

In case any of you aren’t familiar with Gomis’ past, last season he scored fourteen goals in twenty-five games for French side Lyon, and he a actually only started thirteen of those games. He’s made twelve appearances for the French national side scoring three goals. At the time, he was the first player to score twice on his France debut since the great Zinedine Zidane. This isn’t a Shechter or a Kuqi we’re talking about, Gomis is a great player.

In the New Year it’s been known for a while that Bony will be away with the Ivory Coast, and this is when I think Gomis will come alive. He has the chance to start a few comes on the trot and I think, and hope, that he’ll take advantage of Wilf’s absence. The tournament (January 11th - February 1st) will see Wilf miss up to three games - maybe more depending on when he leaves to meet up with the squad.

As much as I think Bony will be a huge loss for us in January, I think Gomis has more than enough ability to step up and who knows; Wilf may even have to fight for his place when he gets back!

Thanks to Josh for his latest piece. I'm intrigued to see Gomis get a run in the team in January as once his confidence is back I'm sure he'll be a great player for us. I'd have to disagree on Wilf though - I think he'll be straight back in the team! What're your thoughts? Get involved using the comment section below.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bony going nowhere cheap

With the January transfer window approaching, silly season on rumours has begun. Don't worry though, the chances of Wilf leaving are minute...


Wilfried Bony: £35million man?


When the summer transfer window slammed shut an overriding sense of relief flooded across South West Wales. The reason? Big Wilf remained. I said all last summer that the amount of money required to prise him away from the club would simply be too much of a risk for any big club to take based on only one season's worth of goals in a big league, and happily that logic proved correct. We had no reason to sell then, and thankfully, that's still the case today.

Predictably, with January approaching rumours of "Bony to <insert struggling big club>" have again started to surface, and given he's now the Premier League's top scorer in 2014 with twenty goals this calendar year it's no real surprise. What is a surprise to me though is that people still seem to think £25million is a fair price. In my eyes, that's still quite a way short of his value - based on current form, potential, and his importance to our club. 

He's a key part of the team and that can't be undervalued. There should be a premium on any player who's integral to our success, and couple that with our rock-solid financial footing and again, we can afford to ask for more if a bid were to come in.

I've had a look at a list of the most expensive transfers in British history, just to see how much people have asked for similar players in the past. We'll get on to strikers shortly, but you just have to look at Man City's transfer business this summer to come to the conclusion that £25million isn't enough. They spent £34million on Fernandinho & £32million on Mangala - both players with no prior Premier League experience. Bony now has that, and since he got up to speed with the levels of fitness required in this league he simply hasn't stopped scoring. 

Strikers then, and there's two that jump out. Firstly, Andy Carroll. Ok, it was a ridiculous fee, but that Liverpool paid £35million a couple of seasons ago speaks volumes. If a big club wants their man enough, and they feel he's the one they need to progress and win trophies, then they'll spend what it takes. Bony is in my opinion a much better player than Carroll, and what's more he stays fit, unlike the hairy gangly menace who has a habit of scoring against us.

Next; Torres. £50million. FIFTY MILLION. How did that one work out, Chelsea? Ha. Strangely, the season Liverpool sold him his goal return was by far his worst during his time at Liverpool - he had thirty-three in fourty-six his first season, seventeen in thirty-eight his second, twenty-two in thirty-two his third season, but only nine in twenty-six the fourth season at Anfield. You couldn't argue with his previous at the time, but even with the amount of goals he'd scored it was a staggering amount.

This leads me to my main question - why couldn't we demand £35million plus for Wilf? He's scored more than any other player - Aguero included - in this calendar year and it's obvious to most that Wilf is capable of, and is, getting better all the time. He's more mobile, his link play is improving, and to me £25million doesn't come close to doing justice to a player of his calibre, and in the form he's in. People will argue that if Aguero had been fit he'd have scored more, and while that's nice in theory theories don't put the ball in the back of the net. Ivorian beasts who never get injured do it every week though, seemingly.

Serendipitously, something which Swansea fans (myself included) had previously moaned about may actually work in our favour, halting any bids coming in for him until late, late January at least. The African Cup of Nations. Bony could be away until well into February, so hopefully that puts off any prospective suitors from making a bid until the summer at least. People tend to panic buy in January up top when they need goals, but if Wilf isn't available it's unlikely he'll be considered.

As Wilf, Monk & all Swans fans acknowledge, if the right bid comes in we'll have no problem selling him. Only if the deal is right for the club though. We paid £12million for him and we've just given him a bumper new contract, so that'll be factored in if and when a bid arrives, and I firmly believe any bid of below £30million should be laughed off. Frankly, he's worth more in today's market.

We're not little old Swansea City any more. Sure, most clubs in the Premiership are probably "bigger" than us in terms of infrastructure and fanbase, but there are few who are on a sounder financial footing. This allows us to negotiate more easily than most clubs who wouldn't be able to turn down any bid of £20million plus; if we can get an extra £15million on top of that it would be massive to the club, and there's no reason why we shouldn't be looking to get it if a Man City or a Tottenham came looking. 

In short, barring a complete collapse in goalscoring form I'd be very disappointed if, from this point on, we sold Wilf for anything less than £30million, but I'd hope for more like £35million. He's worth more than that, and we can afford to ask for it.

Swansea should SMASH their transfer record

Over the last few games it's become clear we should invest in one position in particular, and in my opinion we should obliterate our transfer record for a player in that position



Jazz Richards challenges Christan Eriksen for the ball


There was a time when, coming up through the leagues in our recent past, Swansea City's transfer record had remained unbroken since August of 1981. That record was £340,000, paid to Liverpool for Colin Irwin ahead of our ultimately ill-fated second season in the old First Division. Due to our subsequent fall through the divisions, growing up following the Swans in the Third Division meant the idea of paying that kind of money for a player was simply mind-boggling, and I remember thinking the £35,000 capture of Paul Connor was a big deal.

Fast forward a few years and we thought we'd broken it when, in 2006, we had apparently agreed a deal for Dean Leacock, but that £375,000 move collapsed and he ended up going to Derby for the same figure. It wasn't until two years later that we actually ended up breaking the record, and who was it that we brought in? None other than Ashley Williams, for a reported £400k. (Dean Leacock is now playing for Crawley, so the Derby move clearly worked out for him). Ash worked out ok though, eh?

Since then, we've seen the record smashed multiple times. Scott Sinclair was brought in for a fee rising to around a million and a half, Danny Graham cost £3.5million, Ki & Pablo £5.5million, before eventually a year and a half ago we brought in Wilf for £12million. It still seems strange saying the Swans signed a player for that amount of money, but that's the finance-driven world football has become and if we're to stay in the Premier League for a long time we'll spend big as and when needed in the future.

You're probably wondering why I think we should break our transfer record, and if truth be told I'm being a bit specific. What I'm actually referring to is our transfer record for a full-back. Firstly, we're desperately in need of improvement (and depth) in that department, and whilst pondering this after the Spurs game I came to the realisation that we've never spent money on a full-back. Ever.

Well, I say ever. We signed Kevin Amankwaah for £250,000 (!) at one point, which was a crazy bit of business, but as far as I can tell that remains the highest figure we've officially paid for either a left-back or a right-back. For a club in it's fourth year of Premier League football, that's outstanding. Out of the current full-backs on our books, we've got Neil Taylor (£150k), Angel Rangel (£25k), Jazz Richards (youth) and Dwight Tiendalli - who we've signed on a free transfer...twice! There is Stephen Kingsley to factor into the equation, and his transfer (while undisclosed) was believed to be close to a million pound, so while that's more than the Amankwaah deal it's still peanuts in Premier League terms.

As mentioned, in recent weeks (and, to be honest, since the start of the season) I've thought we've been poor at full-back, and despite Taylor's improving form I think it's definitely the weakest area of our squad. We've spent money on every other position - Vorm & big wages for Fabianski in goal, Fernandez at centre-back, Ki at central midfield, Montero & Routledge out wide, plus obviously Wilf, Gylfi and others have come in for multi-million pound fees. The last position we've held out on, financially at least, is full-back.

That's not to say what we've got hasn't been serving us well. Until this season Rangel's lack of pace wasn't an issue, while we've been waiting for Jazz to kick on for some time now. On the other side, Davies' departure has left us looking vulnerable as the once-competitive Tiendalli now seems very far from the first-team picture. Kingsley clearly isn't viewed as ready either, and you can't help but feel that investment in this area of the squad is now slightly overdue.

As to who we should bring in, I can't say I've given it much thought. I'll have a look at some stats later to see if anyone jumps out in terms of performance who may be available, but one name I have seen mentioned which did strike me as a distinct possibility is Keiran Trippier of Burnley. He got fourteen assists last season for Burnley in the Championship and the ex-Man City youngster also takes a mean free-kick. On the face of it he seems like he'd be an excellent addition to the side, plus, with Burnley's Premier League future by no means certain, it's possible we'd be able to secure a deal in January when they'll get more for their man.

Whether we'll bring someone in during the January transfer window is debatable, but Monk has spoken recently about how he wants young, hungry players keen to further their development, and Trippier would definitely fit that billing. I don't think holding off signing a full-back until the summer would leave us in any danger at all, but I do think we now need to bring in new blood at both left-back and right-back (assuming Kingsley isn't ready any time soon), in order that we keep improving the squad and address our current weaknesses. 

How much we end up spending remains to be seen, but I think we'll be signing someone sooner rather than later. With the current transfer record for a full-back standing at somewhere between £250k & a million, expect that to tumble. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Swansea vs Tottenham: Player ratings

After such wide criticism of the team over Twitter this weekend, Josh Kilmister gives his opinion on each and every player who featured in a Swans’ shirt this weekend. 


Gylfi Sigurdsson in action against former employers Spurs



Gerhard Tremmel - 6/10

Tremmel was among those of the players criticised after Sunday’s loss, and I hate to say it, but rightly so. We all know that Tremmel isn’t half the ‘keeper that Fabianski is, and that was blatantly obvious throughout the game. The German had little to do in terms of shot-stopping, but it was more his presence in general that had fans worried. An incredibly dodgy punch out from a Spurs corner - that he managed to claim the second time around - just one of the notable mistakes from the stand-in. 

Tremmel also appeared to have very little control of his area compared to Fabianski; this was central to Spurs’ late equaliser. He did make a very good save late on, but it wasn’t enough to encourage a last minute comeback.

Neil Taylor - 7/10

Despite what many others will say, I think Tayls had a fairly good game [I'd agree there - Ed]. He was a little suspect first-half, but that can be said for almost everyone. As the game went on he improved massively, helping keep Spurs out until the death. As well as executing his defensive duties, Taylor deserves some credit for the assistance that he offered to Montero on the left flank. There were a few occasions where Taylor put through Jeff for a counter attack, and their partnership seems to be improving every game.

Ashley Williams - 7/10

After a poor game last week against West Ham, Ash didn’t look his normal self either. His first half performance was poor to say the least; his passing was very much off key, as was his positioning. He seemed to struggle with Spurs’ pressure deep in our half and there were a few times where he dived in, leaving Bartley exposed in the centre of defence. His second half performance was much better, and he looked to be back to his normal dominant self. Neither Harry Kane or Soldado got much of a look in; he as much as anyone will be disappointed not to walk away with three points.

Kyle Bartley - 7/10

Bartley was solid for the majority of the game, but his first half performance - like Ash - wasn’t as good as his second. Something tells me that Monk had a few stern words for the two as they both looked more than competent for the back end of the game. As ever, Bartley carried the ball well into the midfield with very few mistakes, though I think with Fernandez back fit, it’s only a matter of time before he loses his place.

Angel Rangel - 5/10

As much as it kills me to say it, Rangel hasn’t been the same this season as he has been previously. His lack of pace was a real problem against Erik Lamela and it didn’t help his attacking side of the game either. It could be said that he was at fault for Harry Kane’s early opener, as the young Englishman left Rangel for dead inside the box, heading in from a corner (yep, another corner). For a player often praised for his passing ability, he gave the ball away on numerous occasions throughout the game; not his best performance, that’s for sure. [Though he did play a great ball for Routledge for the goal - Ed].

Leon Britton - 8/10

I have a feeling that if this becomes a weekly piece that I write, I can more or less copy and paste Leon’s review every week. Leon done what he does best, creating a link between the defence and midfield whilst offering himself as a third centre back when needed. His sheer determination to make up for other’s mistakes makes him the perfect defensive midfielder, but unfortunately for us he isn’t as young as he once was. The work he puts in to his performances is bound to take its toll, and I’m convinced that Monk’s decision to replace him was for Leon’s benefit, rather than one of his genius tactical substitutions. 

Ki Sung-Yueng - 6/10

Not as impressive as normal today, but everyone’s entitled to a poor game. I say that, Ki wasn’t poor today, not by a long shot; he was just poor by the standards he’s set over the last few weeks. Ki struggled to impose himself in the first half as Spurs pressed high up the pitch, forcing a few errors from himself and the defence. The odd misplaced pass is now seen as strange from the Korean star (with 91% pass completion Ki is ranked 2nd in this regard in the Swansea squad - Amat is first but has played far less football), but his qualities shone through in the second half, and he found his place in the middle of the park.

Jefferson Montero - 8.5/10 (Man of The Match)

Voted man of the match by statistics site WhoScored, Montero can tick off another Englishman from his list of destroyed full-backs, as Kyle Walker’s first Premier League start after a long term injury will not be one he will remember fondly. On another day, Walker would’ve been sent on his way as he struggled to deal with Jeff’s quick feet and lightning pace. Not many wingers have managed to match Kyle Walker’s pace in recent years, but Jeff did that and so much more; and that’s why Jeff wins my vote for man of the match.

Gylfi Sigurdsson - 8/10

Like Leon, I can’t see there being many chances for me to write much of a negative review about Gylfi. If he was out to make a point to his former employers, that’s what he did. His link up play with Bony was impressive as ever, whilst his determination to close down defenders almost paid off. He only had one real opportunity to punish the scrappy defending of Spurs, but his weaker foot couldn’t beat Hugo Lloris from outside the box. 

Wayne Routledge - 8/10

Whenever I call for Routledge to be dropped, he tends to have a good game. This was the case today as two poor performances on the bounce had me certain that Dyer would be starting today; thankfully this was not the case! Monk’s choice to stick with Routledge was rewarded as he linked up with Gylfi, Bony and even sometimes Montero with some intelligent build up play. His persistence eventually paid off as his cross was met by Bony who, on a second attempt, slotted past the France number one. 

Wilfried Bony - 8/10

This man’s movement is simply unbelievable. Fazio and Vertonghen gave Bony an unusual amount of space to work his magic up front, and he eventually got his fourth goal in as many games. An immense piece of trickery almost finished off a well worked Swansea move, but Sigurdsson couldn’t quite get his foot to the ball. He didn’t give the Spurs defence a minutes peace, but might be disappointed that he didn’t add further to his 2014 goal tally of 20 - the best in the Premier League.

Substitutions

Jonjo Shelvey - 7.5/10 (for Britton, 55)

Jonjo has received criticism of late, but his eye for a pass is something you can never doubt. Shelvey made an instant impact in the game, pinging balls in and around the Spurs penalty area. He did however slip up immediately after Spurs’ second goal, which almost lead to a third; but apart from that, a solid thirty-five minutes.

Jazz Richards - 5/10 (for Rangel, 71)

If not for his one mistake, Jazz would be on a solid 7 at least; but that one mistake was big enough to affect his rating. After a poor piece of goalkeeping by Tremmel, Jazz had the choice of hoofing the ball up the field, putting it out, or giving it straight to none other than Ben Davies; guess what he did? Ben gave it straight to Eriksen, who slotted home from eighteen yards. For what it counts, my opinion is that Jazz is still the better of the two right backs we have at the moment.

A very solid performance from the Swans but as we’ve experienced previously, performances don’t always win games. Spurs were scrappy, but we knew they would be before kick-off. Maybe had Lamela or Vertonghen been sent off in the first half it would have been a different story, but it wasn’t to be. 

Like all games, there’s positives to take. Montero is growing as a player every week and Bony’s price tag has been rising since the day he signed his contract. Monk will be hoping for another big performance at The KC Stadium next weekend, where a win is more than possible.

Thanks to Josh for rating the players. Do you agree with his ratings? Who would your MOTM be? Get in touch in the comment section below.

Oh no! We lost to Spurs! It's the end of the world!

Following Tottenham's late winner the level of fans' frustrations shows how far we've come as a club






Angel Rangel challenges Mousa Dembele for the ball


When Harry Kane nodded home the opener in the third minute, the heavens opened as if they knew something we didn't. A Bony goal and a late Eriksen winner later, and it was hard to decide whether the numbing cold of the incessant rain or the deflation imbued by conceding in such disappointing fashion was of more discomfort. 

As at West Ham last week, we were made to rue individual errors which, as Monk acknowledged after the game, cost us dear. Their early goal from Kane - who I'd thought could well cause us problems - was scarily similar to Carroll's second goal last week. Rangel marking an aerial threat at a corner, no challenge made, easy header. Very disappointing, and with only three minutes on the clock it was far from the ideal start.

You could perhaps ask why Tremmel didn't have someone on the line, but it was more the lack of a challenge from Rangel which I'd say made it easy for Kane to head home. Rangel didn't even jump - he seemed to misjudge the flight of the ball and we were punished for it. 

The next ten minutes or so was all Spurs. We struggled to get the ball out of defence and Spurs' high pressing was causing all kinds of problems. Bony was by far our shining light, and once we started finding him regularly things started to click. His first effort was around the tenth minute, but Lloris was equal to it, getting down low to his right to stop a drilled effort from the Ivorian. 

More efforts followed - Bony had a number of chances and the Swans were growing more and more confident as the half went on, but when the half-time whistle went we'd been unable to find a breakthrough of our own.

That's not to say there wasn't plenty of drama. As well as the high-tempo nature of the game there were also numerous referee-based talking points. As per usual. Most of them seemed to involve Lamela - he was pulled up twice for what looked like elbows, and replays of the first incident would seem to suggest that the second shouldn't have even occurred, as he should have been shown a red. Factor in a wild lunge on Montero in the second half and it's even more remarkable he wasn't given his marching orders.

For once though, one went our way. Kane seemed to go down softly just inside the box under pressure from Montero, but replays show there was a tiny bit of contact which caused Kane to trip and go down. We always complain when things don't go our way (which, in refereeing terms, seems to be a lot of late) so it's important to acknowledge that some do go our way. Even if the scales of football justice are still weighted heavily in favour of whoever is playing the Swans.

The second half started very well for the Swans. Barely two minutes had elapsed when Rangel knocked a lovely ball over the top for Routledge, who crossed for Bony to tap home at the second attempt. His first volleyed effort was blocked but it fell kindly for him, and he steered home with Lloris wrong footed. It was no more than Swansea deserved, and it signalled our intent to attack, and to try and force our way back into the match.

As time wore on, I became convinced we'd score. We seemed to have chance after chance, and how we didn't get a second goal I don't know. We would go on to rue our profligacy. Late, late in the day Ben Davies seized on a really, really poor clearance from Jazz Richards, fed Christian Eriksen, and the Dane drilled home from the edge of the box. 2-1 to Spurs with minutes to play, and Sigurdsson's frustration was plain to see. Shouting and literally hopping mad he embodied the fans' frustrations, but while he may not draw any consolation from the thought he couldn't have done any more to try to swing the match in Swansea's favour.

We were undone by individual errors for the second week in a row, and while if that continues it would indeed be a worrying trend I don't think it's something we have to concern ourselves massively with. Today we saw Rangel leak a goal from a corner for the second week in a row, while his replacement Richards repeated the trick late on. 

I'd also question Tremmel's goalkeeping - surely it's his job to place a man on the post for corners, while I also think he reacted slowly to both goals. He also pushed out the shot which ultimately led to Richards' gifting the ball to Spurs for their second, but to blame him for that seems harsh with the rain lashing down and the ball difficult to hold. It did make me appreciate Fabinski though.

I've seen many complaints on Twitter about our "poor form" and frankly, I don't buy it. A win against Spurs would have seen us seventh and within a point of fourth - how anyone can say a loss at in-form West Ham and a loss to Spurs is an indication of poor overall form is beyond me. We bossed Spurs for the majority of the match and it really is miraculous we didn't claim all three points. Play like that and, more often than not, we'll emerge victorious. 

That said, the individual errors were poor. We need to be better than that, and Monk wants us to be better than that. A full-back will almost definitely be top of our shopping list, and that could well now be something we look to address in January as opposed to the summer. Until then we just have to work on improving what we have, and with Hull away up next we've got an excellent opportunity. Hull haven't won in nine and our away form is so poor it simply has to improve soon. Probability, and all that. 

That defeat to Spurs has provoked such a reaction from fans shows how far we've come as a club. It's yet another harsh lesson for Garry Monk's Swansea City, but what I love about Monk is that I have no doubt we'll learn from it. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Highlights: Swansea City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Swansea City go down to a late Eriksen goal


On a wet windy evening at the Liberty Stadium, goals from Harry Kane & Christan Eriksen were enough to see Spurs to a narrow victory. With a match report to follow, here's the best of the action from today's match: