Wednesday, 29 October 2014

SHOCKER! Refereeing decision again inspires Swansea defeat

Late drama at Anfield once again has Swansea counting the cost of poor officiating



Emnes celebrates after opening the scoring for the Swans


Garry Monk must be wondering just what transgressions we committed in past lives, that we are continually blighted by absolutely astounding refereeing decisions. Sadly, yet another match involving the Swans was marred by a shockingly bad call from the man with the whistle, but in the interests of not just having a rant I'll talk about the game first before coming back to the late drama.

The team we put out, I thought, was always going to struggle to retain possession. A midfield of Jonjo, Jay Fulton & Marvin Emnes simply didn't retain possession in the first half - though I thought Shelvey in particular was excellent. He kept it simple and will have impressed a lot of Liverpool fans last night. That said we were poor in the first period, and it was amazing that we got into halftime level. Time and again we gave away possession, and it was obvious a change was needed - Emnes wasn't holding his position at the head of the midfield and as such, we kept being overrun in midfield, or finding ourselves with nothing but the long hoof downfield to rely on. Very un-Swansea. 

As mentioned though we somehow got in level at the break, and in the second half it was very much a different story. Emnes held his position at the head of the midfield much better, and this allowed us to go through the gears in midfield, retaining possession and building attacks. It was much more even after the break, and when Emnes opened the scoring I don't think there would have been too many complaints from Liverpool - other than that they hadn't capitalised on their first-half dominance - as we had been coming into the game more and more.

And what a goal it was. A cheeky lobbed pass over the defence from Neil Taylor fell over Emnes' right shoulder across his body, and he met it on the volley with his left, spanking a finish across Brad Jones and into the Liverpool goal. Marvelous Marvin Emnes. After our goal we even pressed for a second, Bony coming on for the sadly ineffectual Bafetimbi Gomis, but it wasn't to be. This most definitely would not be Swansea's night. 

Five minutes from time Mario Balotelli - on as a 78th minute sub for Rickie Lambert - met a great Fabio Borini cross and steered his header into the corner of Gerhard Tremmel's net. It was understandably met with jubilation from the Liverpool crowd, but the drama was far from over. And this is the point where it's going to become hard to not write angrily about the remainder of the match. 

With ninety minutes on the clock, and the game seemingly set for extra time, Federico Fernandez was sent off for this challenge:



Now, I know it's not the best footage so here's a still of the moment before impact. 


In my opinion it's not even a foul. Coutinho overran the ball and Fernandez got there first. It's a full-blooded challenge but what's he supposed to do there to make his challenge any more safe? The crowd reacted angrily to the tackle and I firmly believe that's what got Fernandez sent off . 

That's not the crowd or Liverpool's fault, but the referee's fault for allowing himself to be influenced by the atmosphere and the occasion. We saw the same with Victor Moses' penalty - Fernandez had made a big (perfect) tackle moments before so when Moses went down the crowd were incensed. Both incidents resulted in decisions being made which drastically altered the outcome of the match. 

What the sending off didn't effect though, was Gerhard Tremmel's judgement. Or maybe it did. But it shouldn't have. Whatever the reasoning, in the 94th minute Tremmel came to claim a free-kick he never looked like getting near, and Dejan Lovren was at the back post to steer the ball into an empty net. A dramatic victory for Liverpool, but for any Swansea fans who'd paid to make the trip to Anfield that goal must have been a real kick in the teeth. It's hard to see how the red card wasn't a turning point which gave Liverpool more impetus to push for a winner, but sadly the goal which won it for the Reds was easily avoidable. We can't complain about the goal, but we can justifiably feel very disappointed - again - about the standard of officiating.

One more thing I'll mention, because all of the "Mario Balotelli inspires Liverpool to win" headlines are winding me up right now, is Balotelli trying to get a reaction out of Jonjo Shelvey. Have a look at this:



I think Balotelli has tried to get Jonjo Shelvey sent off there, and not since Steven Taylor's epic Platoon-esque goal-line dramatics for Newcastle have I seen a better reaction to supposed contact. Jonjo did very well - given his tendencies to display a short temper - to not react, and Balotelli needs to take a look at himself. There's a reason people are getting fed up of him, and it's not particularly to do with his ability as a footballer. 

And so we move on. Monk is meeting referee's boss Mike Riley on Friday to discuss decisions which he feels have gone against us so far this season, though what we'll achieve from this I don't know. The sooner technology exists for aiding referees decisions in real-time the better, as until then referees will continue to be swayed by all manner of distractions which shouldn't ever come into the equation. We've got another trip to Merseyside this weekend as we travel to Everton, and with Bony & Sigurdsson back in the team we've plenty of reasons to be hopeful of a positive result.

Plus, statistically speaking, we're due a couple of favourable refereeing decisions...

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

When Leon is back, possession will be back

Tactics, and the absence of Leon Britton 



It's been a while since I had the chance to put anything up myself about our beloved Swansea City, but yesterday whilst having a stroll along the front one main thing kept coming back to me. 

Swansea City currently have the joint third-best defence in the league, having conceded ten goals in nine games. The only sides to have conceded less at this juncture are Chelsea (9) and Southampton (5). Personally, this is both something I'm immensely proud of and also that I'm fairly amazed by, given some of the football we've played so far this season. I've thought on numerous occasions that we've looked very vulnerable at the back, but despite some misgivings I've had about Neil Taylor & Angel Rangel's diminishing turn of pace I don't really think it's our defence's fault.

When we've got Leon Britton in the team, he is the rock around which our midfield is built. This allows our midfield three to have a "staggered" look, as Leon would sit deep, Gylfi would be at number ten and one of Ki or Jonjo would serve as the link between the two. Playing with one deep midfielder is only possible for us when that midfielder is Leon, as he is far and away our best option in that position. During his absence, we've seen Ki & Jonjo both sitting deep, with Gylfi alternaerting between his number ten role (in possession) and alongside Wilf (when not in possession). 

This has been working well, but I don't think it gives us the ability to retain possession as we've become used to. Indeed, the proof is in the statistics - so far this season we've averaged just 51% possession, as opposed to 55% last season and 54% the season prior to that. It might not sound much of a swing, but when you've got 55% possession your opponent has the ball 10% less than you, and I think the lack of Leon at the base of our midfield is directly responsible for our more attacking leanings this season. 

What Leon offers the team is so much more than just a base to build off though. He relieves so much pressure from the defence by having an innate ability to take a pass in a tight situation, already knowing where he's going to play a short first-time pass out of trouble. He drops in between defenders, and the main thing I've noticed is how much we lack his natural instincts when the opposition are attacking down the flanks. 

Angel Rangel & Neil Taylor have both looked more exposed this season than I can remember since we arrived in the Premiership, and I feel that without Leon's spotting and snuffing out opposition attacks through drifting out wide to cover, it's left us short at the back on more than one occasion.This isn't a slight on either Jonjo or Ki as I think both have been generally excellent this season, and I think both are improving into players who'll be very important for us, but Leon gives us the option of resting in possession through his positioning and awareness, something which would - at present - give us another option. 

I've got nothing against scoring lots of goals, but if we can retain possession as well as offering a threat in attack (which, let's be honest, we will if Wilf & Gylfi are in the team) we will be very, very hard team to beat. According to the ever reliable Ben Dinnery we're probably looking at a minimum of another three weeks before Leon will be available for selection, and while we have looked more than capable without him, I for one can't wait to have him back. When he's once again prowling around the base of our midfield, you watch our possession statistics jump up. 

As we've (correctly) heard repeated so often in the past: "when we've got the ball, the opposition can't hurt us".

Monday, 27 October 2014

Garry Monk learning on the job

Eric Imhof gives us his weekly take on all things monastic



I feel like I’ve become something of Garry Monk’s unofficial biographer. Every week, before I put fingers to keys, I let all manner of marginalia swim through my head, from sales of jerseys in America to Sweyn Forkbeard, and every time I end up writing almost exclusively about Garry Monk. Although I’m often critical of his decisions, I’m fascinated by his existence, relative to the other types of managers currently occupying such coveted positions in the Premier League. It’s not just that Monk is anachronistic (in a good way), he’s sincere in a climate of cynical irony: a working-man’s coach in a league of conspicuous luxury.

What other manager publicly declares that he punishes players for diving in practice? Or answers press-conference questions honestly? Or, for that matter, answers directly to his team’s fans?

And then, on the other side of the coin: what other manager puts in substitutes while behind with ten minutes remaining and hopes it’ll make an impact?

But in my view, any naïveté is more than made up for with earnestness - so long, of course, as Monk learns from his mistakes. And in this past match against the Foxes (who currently enjoy my second-favorite logo), it was evident that Monk is indeed learning. Just the fact that he started Jefferson Montero shows some promise that the Swans will not become, as they did for long spells last season, a Swiss army knife with every piece removed but the bottle opener: a predictable side with only one option.

And without conceding right before half-time, as was so common this season, the Swans could actually play with a lead in the second half, absolving Monk from the decision of when and how to substitute to climb back into the match. Of course, having Shelvey back, and with no strange calls going against his squad, Monk could actually carry out his initially-planned gameplan. Such signs of progress came as no small relief to both players and fans alike.

But making good adjustments against Leicester is one thing; the real test comes during the next five matches. What has been described as a “brutal” Premier-League fixture list for November, not to mention a trip to Anfield in two days for an FA Cup fourth-round draw, will provide the trial by fire that will—I don’t want to say “show if Monk has what it takes”—but show how far Monk has come since taking over in tumultuous (and tempestuous) circumstances near the end of last season.

With only two wins needed by the end of December to stay on track for safety, and with expectations slightly lowered considering the quality of his opponents during this stretch, I think Monk should take some risks. For one, he should definitely prioritize the Liverpool match, meaning he should start Bony and Montero together once again, and should look to attack and press until a two-goal lead is achieved. Sounds easy enough, right?

Then, against Everton, why not start Gomis again, since it worked well last time, and maybe even throw Emnes in the mix earlier than normal, just to see what happens? I’ll leave speculation over other possible tactics and player combinations to the people who know such things way better than I do. But the point remains: I’d like to see Monk grow as a manager over this November gauntlet—both by shoring up old mistakes and by taking new risks.

Honestly, they could (and might) lose to Everton, Arsenal, and City, and I won’t be even the slightest bit disappointed if the Swans do the little things right—meaning no lapses in concentration right before the half, no silly cards, and at least one goal in the second half of one of the games. If a string of mentally strong games can be put together by Monk, then he’ll go from being merely an endearing Serpico to being a major contender for architect of the future of Swansea City. I for one am rooting for him.

Thanks as usual to Eric for this great piece. He runs @AustinJackArmy - give them a follow on Twitter or if you're a Jack in Texas get in touch with him! 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Three points at last!

Josh Kilmister's thoughts on yesterday's win over Leicester City




After four games without a win, it was a pleasant change to be looking forward to Match of The Day again!

So, where do I start? Apparently, our goals are too big. Yep, you read that right. The goals that (I assume) have been used game after game in the Premier League had Kasper Schmeichel concerned about the size of our goalposts. Of course after the referee had done measurements of both goalposts, there was nothing wrong. When asked about it after the game, Leicester manager Nigel Pearson simply said that he didn’t want Monk to come under any more controversy than he already has,

“The goalkeepers felt they looked a bit big. I think Garry Monk’s had enough controversy in the last seven days, so I thought it was prudent to check it out.” Nigel Pearson

Moving on from the thrilling story about our goalposts, and I thought Bony was superb; especially after his first goal. He looked back in the form of last season, winning everything both in the air and on the ground. He even managed to pull of a few flicks well worthy of a place in next week’s Soccer AM skill montage! Comfortable as ever on the ball, the big Ivorian put through Gylfi with one of his trademark back-heels before finishing off what for me, was  a certain winner of October's "Goal Of The Month" gong.

It wasn’t long before the ever noisy Swans fans voiced their support for Garry Monk, with chants of ‘He says what he wants, he says what he wants! Garry Monk, he says what he wants!’ echoing around the Liberty Stadium and on a week where referees have taken centre stage, I think that Mike Jones ran the game superbly. Hopefully we can see more refereeing performances like his in the future.

A slow start to the second half for Monk’s men was forgiven when Bony slotted home his second of the night. Sigurdsson played through Montero who outwitted the Leicester defence with a ball in to ‘daddy cool’, who scored his fourth goal in five games with power and precision. He then went off to dance alone, with no other Swans players in sight. Quite a comical sight if you ask me!

Gylfi was replaced with Tom Carroll immediately after the goal (the substitute wasn’t down to the goal, Carroll was ready to come on beforehand) and played really well. After struggling to get hold of the game in midfield, I think it was a stroke of genius from the gaffer to introduce the England Under 21 international into the game. His comparisons to Real Madrid maestro Luka Modric (perhaps more realistically Joe Allen!) were evident throughout as he grabbed the game with two hands and with the help of Ki, gave us a level of control that we’re more used to.

Now, if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of Neil Taylor. I want him to do well, I really do, but today’s game didn’t fill me with confidence. Sure, he made a good tackle every now and again, but overall I feel he was poor, and I know I’m not the only one who feels the same. Too often he was wrong-footed by Leicester players who aren’t necessarily of a superb standard, and his first touch was one of someone who had just returned from injury; not someone who has been fit for well over a year. Should Stephen Kingsley be given a chance at Anfield on Tuesday night? I think it’s definitely an option. Should we look into a possible replacement for Tayls in January? I think it’d be wise.

Apart from that, I don’t think anyone will be worried about a poor performance. Ash bounced back from being a little shaky last week to being as solid as he’s ever been. Fede is getting better every game, with his ability to pick out a pass becoming more evident as well as his defensive abilities, and Fabianski is showing the world what a great piece of business it was to bring him to South-Wales on a free. You’ll hear it over and over again that a good goalkeeper can go eighty-nine minutes without breaking a sweat, and then spring into action when called upon. That’s exactly what Lukasz did, pulling off an incredible double save to prevent Leicester substitute Esteban Cambiasso grabbing a consolation goal for the Tigers.



When Gylfi was taken off, Jonjo Shelvey stepped up to the role that he impressed us all in last season. Playing just behind Bony, Jonjo rattled the bar with one of his trademark thirty-yard efforts before almost setting up Routledge for a third, with Leicester now struggling to keep up with our counter-attacks whilst trying to get back into the game themselves.

The last ten minutes of the game saw Routledge replaced by Nathan Dyer and a seemingly frustrated Wilfried Bony taken off for Bafe Gomis. There’s a few rumours going around that Bony wasn’t best impressed with Monk’s choice to deny him of a possible hat-trick, but after the best eighty minutes of his season so far I assume that Wilf was back to his happy self not long after.

So overall, I sit here watching The X Factor a very happy Swans fan, and finishing off this piece with twenty minutes to spare before Match of The Day (on which we are on second to last, just before Liverpool-Hull, no surprises there). With our next league games being Everton, Arsenal and Man City, maybe we can make our way up Mr. Lineker’s pecking order in the next few weeks.

Thanks to Josh for this piece - as you can tell he got it to me yesterday but I only managed to get around to putting it up now. Give him a follow on Twitter @JoshKilmister

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Swansea vs Leicester - Expert Team News

Our resident injury guru Ben Dinnery gives us all the latest team news ahead of today's match



Swansea will be looking to capitalise on Leicester’s recent dip in form after last weekends’ controversial loss at the Britannia Stadium. Jonjo Shelvey returns from a one game domestic ban & his appearance will add steel to the midfield while Angel Rangel is in line to make his 300th appearance for the Jacks with Jazz Richards [knee] and Dwight Tiendalli [groin] both ruled out. Rory Donnelly and Jordi Amat are progressing however the pair are still around two weeks away. Leon Britton has stepped up his recovery from a bruised patella but we may have to wait until after the international break before we see a return to first team action. 

Displaying Premier Injuries.jpgLeicester have been unfortunate since their win over Manchester United - results have not reflected their performance - but goals win games & the Foxes have failed to score in 50% of their matches so far this season. Jamie Vardy was a late introduction at St James’ Park last weekend with Nigel Pearson preferring to go with a 4-5-1 formation – a change to try & accommodate winger Marc Albrighton - however I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Leicester revert back to their more familiar 4-4-2 set-up. No fresh injury concerns with long-term absentees Matthew Upson [foot] and Zoumana Bakayoko [ACL] still out.  

Thanks as usual to Ben for providing us with up-to-date team news. You can follow him on Twitter @BenDinnery, and you can also find him on Talksport, ESPN & PremierInjuries.com

#FlashbackFour - Swansea vs Leicester

Nathan Lewis takes his weekly look back at the last four fixtures against this weekend's opponents



This week’s #FlashbackFour contains four matches in the space of 366 days, with three matches in the Championship, and one in the FA Cup. Saturday’s match-up at the Liberty will be the first meeting between the Swans and the Foxes to take place in the Premiership, with Nigel Pearson’s side winning the Championship at a canter last season. They have made an impressive start to life in the top league, playing with confidence and abandon. Think of them as a more direct Swansea, if you will. 

2nd January 2010 - FA Cup Third Round
Leicester 2-1 Swansea

Same teams, same place, same score. Swansea fans were left feeling a slight sense of déjà vu, after we lost in the same manner as our visit to the Walkers Stadium the previous August. A flu bug restricted the selection choices of Manager Paulo Sousa, with the likes of Albert Serran and Marcus Painter getting a chance to make an impact on the first team. The Swans did get off to a decent start, with David Cotterill scoring from 30 yards to give his side the lead after 10 minutes. For the most part, Swansea dominated the first 30 minutes, certainly looking the more likely to score. 

A failure to put away chances however, allowed Andy King to score from the edge of the area, and the scores were level as half-time came. From then on, Leicester were undoubtedly the better side, and Swansea were unable to add to their first goal. It was a substitute that would provide the winning goal, as Danny N’Guessan – who had scored against the Swans on his competitive debut in August – headed in from close-range with just minutes left on the clock.  

16th January 2010 - Championship
Swansea 1-0 Leicester

It had been 54 years since the Swans had beaten Leicester. But, two weeks after losing in the FA cup, Paulo Sousa’s Swans found a way past the Midlands side. Sousa was able to select a much stronger line-up this time, with Rangel, Britton and Nathan Dyer all featuring. It was Dyer that caused headache after headache for the Leicester defence, and his pace and sharpness provided a spark to the customary control that Swansea held over the game. Nath was the creator for the only goal of the game, sprinting to the byline before cutting the ball back for Pintado(!) to score his first goal in nine months. It’s scary, maybe a little worrying that Gorka Pintado started both of these games. Maybe that says something about our defensive mindset under Sousa…

23rd October 2010 - Championship
Swansea 2-0 Leicester

Paulo Sousa must have liked Leicester so much on our three visits in 2009/10, that he decided it would be a nice place to ply his managerial trade. This was a big match-up against a former boss, then right? Nope. After just three months, the Champions League winner was sacked, and replaced with Sven-Goran Eriksson. Unlucky Paulo. 

So, back to the match. Marvin Emnes, what a man. Just four minutes into his Swans debut, having replaced Stephen Dobbie at half-time, Emnes outmuscled Curtis Davies and fired past the Leicester keeper to bring the Liberty Stadium to life. But he wasn’t finished there, sprinting right up to the last minute to square the ball for Scott Sinclair, who sealed the three points by poking the ball past the keeper. Welcome to Swansea, Marvin. 

3rd January 2011 - Championship
Leicester 2-1 Swansea City

While we broke a 56-year winless streak against the Foxes, a loss in this match meant that our search for a win in Leicester now stretches back 64 years. The first-half contained plenty of action, with three goals from two sides both playing at a very high tempo. As seems to be a constant throughout Swans history, we conceded two goals from corners, meaning that the take-away from this game was not Scott Sinclair’s fantastic finish to a lovely passing move, but our inability to defend from corners. 

The first came after six minutes, with Bruno Berner (who?) nodding past De Vries from close range. Leicester’s lead did not last very long though, with Sinclair curling a lovely finish into the net from 20 yards. The rest of the first-half was end-to-end, with the Foxes grabbing their winner through an almost exact replica of the first goal. The second half failed to live up to the high expectations set by the first, and the Swans only had one real chance to equalise, which Scott Sinclair fired wide. The wait for an away win against Leicester continues. 

Games Played: 4
Wins: 2
Draws: 0
Losses: 2
Goals scored: 5
Goals Conceded: 4

It seems that clashes between the Swans and the Foxes have been tight affairs in recent years, often being decided by just one goal. How these Championship results affect the score on Sunday remains to be seen, but we are infinitely stronger as a team than we were three years ago, and I feel that we will just be too much for Nigel Pearson’s side on Saturday. But then, I’d have said that about Sunderland, Newcastle and Stoke… We’ll see! 

My prediction: Swansea 2-1 Leicester

Thanks as usual to Nathan for his weekly #FlashbackFour. Do you agree with his prediction?

"We score one, now we must step on neck"

A big TSW welcome for debutant Jonathan Weaver. With the dust now somewhat settled after a very disappointing result on the weekend, He felt like putting down some of his thoughts. 





Before carrying on, there has been some excellent analysis from other bloggers including www.wearepremierleague.com and www.comeonyouswans.com, and also on this site, so I won’t go deep into tactical analysis or talk too much about Monk and Cheatgate.  Yes Moses went down easily, but that's far from the first and last time we will see that in the Premier League unfortunately.

My viewpoint basically comes from the stance that, we have in general equipped ourselves rather well over our three and a bit seasons in the Premier League now, and generally we've made strides along the way.  We have now been in this league long enough to consider ourselves a solid mid table team, and we have the players to back that up, but we - at times - still seem a little naive.  If you look at any of the games over the last few weeks, they all follow a similar pattern.  Play like Germany for the first 20 minutes and steam roller teams, either to not score, or if we do, be pegged back by half time.

The number of goals we are conceding between 40-45 minutes is criminal.  I know this weekend was a penalty, but knowing our luck and seeing the way we invite pressure on ourselves at times, you just knew that Moses was going to do that.  Sometimes you just wish in those situations a couple of the senior players would realise our weaknesses and focus on shutting a team out, or better still just playing keep ball as we had been doing for the previous 40 minutes.

I suppose my biggest gripe in terms of the naivety thing is this.  We are playing with two of the quickest wingers in the league, with an even faster player on the bench.  Now within the first 20 minutes of these games, Dyer or Routledge will skin someone and draw a yellow card for them.  In the game against Stoke, it was Shawcross who got booked for his “challenge” on Bony but you get my point.  Bardsley followed later into the book. Against Newcastle it was Coloccini with half an hour left and in the game against Sunderland it was Cattermole within 20 minutes, and against Southampton 3 out of their back 4 had been booked within 48 minutes.

Now most of these players are defensive minded players most of whom have some history of rash challenges, so would someone please tell me why on earth we aren’t getting the ball to Dyer and Routledge and sending them one on one against these players.  Shift formation, move positions, anything.  We saw the exact happen with Rangel for us.  He got a silly yellow, and then they targeted him again.  

Now i know this sounds very cynical of me, but every one of the other teams in the league does it, and I’m in no way saying we need to start cheating like that Stoke lot, but honestly, your telling me that if you or I were playing against Shawcross or Bardsley or Colocinni you wouldn’t be thinking the same, “right give me the ball, I’m gonna sell him this time and this donkey will kick me up in the air”  Its bound to happen.  But instead we seem to get a goal up or look comfortable, get a couple of their players booked and then be content to playing the ball around without going for it.

Sometimes this is where I think at times we would almost be better off at times having a second gear or getting players to really go for it.  I for one was quite unexcited by the signing of Marvin Emnes. Despite Matt Harrison's man crush on him [Ha! - Ed] I thought we signed a journeyman from the lower leagues, but the thing I like with him, is that he comes on, runs at people, tries to shoot, create stuff and is intelligent in the way he wins free kicks and penalties. Montero is much the same.  He comes on, and runs at players and crosses balls in.  Some games our wingers seem to forget the ability to do that at times, and luckily we have two wingers on the bench to remind them to keep on their toes.

The man, the myth, the legend that is Hazelton Wang once said “we score one, now we must step on neck” and he was right.  We need to kill these teams off before they even know its 30 minutes gone. I would love to see us heed his advice and keep up the tempo.  Look at the Champions League victories in midweek - did the aggressors let up? No, and their coaches were urging them on to score more, like with Koeman and Southampton last weekend too.

This business of moaning about decisions from the ref, yes I agree we have been hard done by, but we shouldn’t even be allowing teams a chance to turn a whole 90 minutes of football with one decision.  Against Stoke yes it was a dive, but we still had 45 minutes to score, and we hardly created anything of note.  Too often we get to the end of a game and moan about one decision, when in essence we have only ourselves to blame that we haven't created more.  Until they bring in video refereeing, there will always be dubious calls - the key for us is to not have those decisions affect our results.  Margins are tight in this league yes, but I think we have more than enough quality to string together the wins.

I wrote another blog recently about the things we need to change to succeed this season (link), and one of the points I made was about taking our chances.  We saw it this weekend again.  You don’t get many clear cut chances in this league.  We have to take them.

Whilst this may sound negative,if we can just get a result or two in a row the confidence will come flooding back, and I am 100% sure we can have a great season.  We have an amazing team, an amazing manager ...I mean, anytime I see Sigurdsson and Bony in a Swans shirt I still rub my eyes in disbelief.

Onwards and upwards.  In Monk we trust.

Thanks to Jonathan for that great debut piece. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Weaver. It's a sentiment I agree with - we need to be more streetwise, and go for the kill when on top. Agree? Disagree? Get in touch!