Is Garry Monk set to take Swansea to new heights?

A former Swansea legend, captain and leader may well be on course to take his long-time club to new levels, even bigger than those achieved by his predecessor Mark Laudrup.

Garry Monk spent ten years at the Liberty Stadium, and after taking over from the Dane, some predicted the team might struggle collectively, but individually that he would find it difficult to reach the same performances that Laudrup guided his to. In his two years with the Swans he helped the team to Capital One Cup glory and a spot in Europe.

Former centre back Monk proved his doubters wrong with his first game, a fire starter in the 3-1 home win against Cardiff, and subsequently guided the team to Premier League safety last season.

Monk successfully fended off interest from the big hitters such as Arsenal and Liverpool for his captain Ashley Williams and star player Wilfried Bony.

 

He has made some impressive acquisitions too, with Jefferson Montero, who starred at the World Cup, moving across to the Welsh boarder. He has not changed the style or pattern of football, keeping the passing play and possession game so synonymous with Brendan Rodgers and which was kept when Michael Laudrup took over.

The relationship with the front-line, wingers and midfielders have been a major force in the Premier league, with the stand out link up play with Bony and Gilfy Sigurdsson most noticeable.

Indeed, Sigurdsson has taken on a new lease of life this season after being frozen out at Tottenham Hotspur, and he looks to be another shrewed signing made be Monk.

The team focuses on quick one-two passes, tika-taka, (Barcelona-esque), and use the rapid quickness of Wayne Routledge and Natahn Dyer to run behind the defence, as well as producing fine crosses for the powerful Ivorian Bony.

They are not without their hard work however, and Monk prides himself on their work ethic when they are without the ball. He has noted this of winger Nathan Dyer, whom he praised for doing the exact thing he asked for against Burnley in their 1-0 win.

Nath’s a great guy. He’s a real good worker, he listens and he wants to improve. We want to try and work with him in that way, but you also have to make sure that they’ve got the freedom to express themselves.

This quote also signifies the trust he has in his players to perform in the big matches.

The first game of the 2014/15 was perhaps Swansea fans worst nightmare, against a Manchester United side who had a new and confident manager at the helm.

The City boss, however, saw this as an opportunity to cause an upset in one of the most renowned sporting arenas in world sport.

Instead of lying down and expecting to be beaten even before the referee blew the first half whistle, he set his team out to give United a real scare, and his risk paid off.

A nightmare that the white and back jersey supports would have dreaded, turned out to be a happy one, one that they could sleep over during their long journey back home.

Ki Sung-yueng, the midfielder who was outcast by Michael Laudrup the previous season, was restored by the new manager, and scored the opening goal.

Despite falling down to a Rooney equaliser, they responded emphatically with Glfy Sigurdsson debut on his return to the team ever sweet after netting the winner.

The Jacks then went on an unbeaten run of four games, before being abruptly halted by Chelsea.

 

This though did not scupper their confidence, and despite losing at home to an equally surprisingly inform team in Southampton, they won 3-0 against Roberto Martinez’s Everton in the Capitol One Cup. Certainly Martinez would be impressed by how well his former student has done in the top division of English football.

Two games followed, a 2-2 with Newcastle United, then an unfortunate loss to Stoke City, where a controversial Victor Moses ‘dive’ settled the two opponents at the Britannia. Then a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Leicester City was a sign that their surge, despite a couple of indifferent results, was not to be hindered.

Swansea then faced Everton again, this time away in the league. They recorded an impressive 0-0 on Merseyside, suppressing the influential Ross Barkley, and stopping the old but gold striker Samuel Eto’o.

With yesterday’s 2-1 comeback over Arsenal, when again Alexis Sanchez was on the score sheet, they are fifth in the league, level on points with Sam Allardyces’ West Ham who are fourth and in a Champions League spot. Who’s to say they can’t jump above the Hammers, and show the same consistency as Southampton?

Imagine Swansea and Southampton playing against Messi and co next season. Not probable but suspicions suggest that the Swans and Monk will be targeting at least Europa League qualification, which is certainly more realistic and something that will likely be achieved if Monk carries on his successful start in management.

The Author

Joe Baker

I am an avid Leeds supporter and write collums for Tribal Football and Unofficial Leeds. I also write for sport.co.uk and vivafootballcalcio. I am a match report for Cirencester Town for the Non-league Paper and the Gloucestershire Echo. I am going to Gloucester University to study sports Journalism in September of this year.

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