£12million for Bony is the best twelve million anyone has ever spent. On anything.
What a difference a day makes. About this time yesterday I was chewing my fingernails and anxiously awaiting news of the team selection; fast forward twenty-four hours and I'm still struggling to rein in the smile which has beamed from my face ever since Bony's injury-time penalty consigned Newcastle to their fifth straight league defeat, and ensured the Swans came from behind to win for the first time in the league this season.
As Monk said in his post-match comments, we've played better than that and got nothing on our efforts. More than once in fact. I'd say since Monk came in that definitely ranks as one of the worse performances, and far from being in the top five or six. Considering we've only won three league games since his appointment, that should tell you how far from our best we were yesterday.
Another indicator of how far from our fluid best we were comes in the possession statistics - a few minutes before half time we were marked as having had 48% of the ball - quite astounding given a) the average possession we've enjoyed on almost every occasion we've stepped out on the field this season and b) who our opponents were. We need the ball to control the game, and while I don't want to give too much credit to Newcastle, who were pretty rubbish, they must get a modicum of praise as they did stop us playing to a point.
Monk stuck with the same Swansea system we know and love, with De Guzman back out on the right in place of Dyer and Amat coming in for the suspended Chico. For the first twenty minutes or so we were excellent - De Guzman combing well down the right with Pablo, Shelvey, and anyone else who wandered close. The Dutchman was putting lots of clever passes into space which his fellow midfielders were running onto, and Pablo found space well but his cutback was behind both Bony and the supporting Routledge, coming in at the back post.
Newcastle, however, hadn't conceded and the Swans hadn't mustered an effort on target - despite five corners in the opening eighteen minutes. They took full advantage with a hopeful ball upfield being brought under control by the gangly powerful figure of Shola Ameobi, who took a couple of touches, beating Ashley Williams and Ben Davies all ends up, before poking the ball home left footed with Vorm wrong-footed. I thought it was pretty soft on the part of Ash & Ben to be honest, while no-one else could really do much about it.
The zip and vigour of our game (which granted, hadn't resulted in an effort on target to that point) seemed to disappear completely following the Newcastle goal, which came completely against the run of play. Bony had an effort blocked from point blank range after De Guzman whipped in a lovely ball from the right, but aside from that we struggled to impose ourselves for the remainder of the half.
We gave possession away sloppily, and our pass completion was way below usual. With the half about to draw to a close, Swansea won a corner out of Tiote and Ben Davies' in swinger found Bony leaping at the near post - and the Ivorian made no mistake in planting a header across goal and past Tim Krul. The simplicity with which the set-piece move was executed begs the question; 'why don't we do it more often?' - Bony can out jump anyone and he's so good in the air, you have to ask why it took six corners before we managed to find the Swansea striker at the near post. It seems fairly obvious now that thats something we need to be hammering in training.
So half time and 1-1 - not bad considering the second half of the opening period where we rarely threatened, and until our equaliser Newcastle must have been wondering how they'd coped so well with losing Cisse & Luuk De Jong to injury and having to make two enforced substitutions. I'd actually go as far as to say that the substitutions (well, the first one) had a crucial impact on Newcastle's opening goal.
We'd started well and Newcastle couldn't retain possession, and whats more they didn't seem to have any answers to our pressing and attacking play. Cisse went off for Debuchy, Newcastle tweaked their shape slightly, and in the confusion that followed (for Swansea anyway, as they tried to adjust) Ameobi latched onto a pass to grab his goal. I can't claim to remember examples, but I'm sure that's not the first time we've struggled to adjust to an opponent tweaking their system [edit: I just remembered about Palace at home].
The second half started and…well… it wasn't really that exciting to be honest. The only efforts of note I remember (before we get onto the Swans' winner) were De Guzman curling one across goal which landed on the roof of the net, and Vernon Anita hitting a half-volley just wide of Vorm's goal. I commented at around seventy minutes that it seemed both sides were settling for a draw - something the Swans could ill afford to do - but I hadn't counted on Monk's tactical masterclass in bringing on Marvin Emnes - or 'Martin' as my inebriated chum in attendance at St James' Park referred to him throughout. He had admitted to being so worse for wear that he'd accidentally cheered on Newcastle though, so I think we can forgive him. My pal, that is. Not Martin Emnes. They do play in black and white too…
So, the winner. Emnes broke free and did well to make his way all the way into the penalty area. Jinking inside his man, he went back away from the retreating Cheikh Tiote but the Mozambique captain isn't one for pulling out of a challenge, and clipped the Middlesborough loanee resulting in a Swansea penalty. In the 92 minute. A huge moment, and for a while it looked like Jonjo Shelvey was taking it - it's rumoured a large section of the travelling away support closed their eyes and looked away at this point - but they didn't have to worry as only one man was ever going to be taking that.
Step forward Big Wilf. Cool as you like, he stepped up and side footed it right into the top right-hand corner. A brilliant pen, and as awesome as the coolness of the finish was his emotional reaction to the goal shows, to me at least, that he's becoming more and more attached to the club who paid £12million for his services. He's spoken a few times recently about how he appreciates the support he's now getting from the fans, and it's important we continue to show him how much we appreciate him being our main man as he was the only reason we got any points yesterday. A towering header and a cool penalty, they were our only two shots on target in a match which was high on tension but low on quality.
The win gives the Swans a timely boost with Aston Villa next up at home, and if Bony keeps up his current form he'll give the Midlanders serious headaches. They won't be relishing dealing with our powerhouse centre-forward, but on current form it's unlikely anyone would.
Keep feeding the big man, and we'll keep getting results. In Wilf we trust. All Hail Big Wilf of Wind Street!