Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Time to bring Leon back?

Josh Kilmister looks at the Crystal Palace result, and the season so far

Another two points dropped at home to Crystal Palace had Swans fans worldwide questioning the consistency throughout our squad.

First of all I’d like to put it out there and say there is absolutely no need to get worked up over a draw at home to Crystal Palace. I made the point on Twitter after the game that more often than not fans, including myself sometimes, underestimate our opponents. Sure, we probably deserved the three points and sure, we didn’t take our chances and the ref wasn’t great, but it’s better than a loss, right?

It was brought into the Twitter eye after the game that we have dropped the most points in the Premier League after being ahead. Six of those points however, were away to Chelsea and Man City; two games that many clubs in a similar position to us have not played yet, so I’m not going to complain too much about that. 

The two games that had me more concerned were the games where we dropped just the one point. We played Newcastle at The Liberty before they went on their incredible winning streak and could only manage a 2-2 draw. This was the game where Bony opened his account for the season, and could well have had a hat-trick if it wasn’t for a man of the match performance from Newcastle ‘keeper Tim Krul. Most recently the draw against Palace left fans frustrated but, as I said earlier, there’s no need to panic. 

So what is it with these dropped points? Why can’t we hold on to a game after going ahead? Anyone who kept up with the action during pre-season will join me in saying it’s nothing to do with fitness; Monk put the squad through an intense fitness programme in our USA tour, immediately making his presence as manager felt at the club. 

Monk said after the game at The Etihad that maybe we scored too early. Obviously, he wasn’t implying that he’d have preferred us to not score at all, but I can get where he’s coming from. You go ahead with seventy-five minutes to play in a stadium full to the brim of opposition supporters; it’s never going to be easy to hold on, especially considering the strength and depth in Man City’s squad. 

Maybe we become complacent after going a goal up, but I don’t think that’s the reason at all. We’ve seen enough of Garry Monk as a manager now to know that complacency is something he simply would not tolerate. Of course some, if not most of the games we’ve dropped points in could be blamed on the man in the middle.

It’s easy to put the blame on the referee, but nine times out of ten we are the authors of our own downfall. The lack of efficiency in front of goal has killed us numerous times this season. Bony took his time to find his killer touch, but he seems to have found the form that left opposition fans in awe last season. 

Another thing affecting our season is Monk’s choice in midfielders. Personally, I think that bringing Jonjo back into the starting eleven for the Palace game was a poor decision, and I would’ve stuck with Tom Carroll - who was my man of the match at Man City - but who am I to judge?

The first night game of the season down the Liberty tonight will be huge for us, and selection in midfield will be critical. Swans fans continue to call out for Leon Britton and maybe tonight would be the perfect time to give him a start. Ki and Shelvey both played the full ninety minutes on Saturday, so I can’t see Monk going with that partnership again. Ki and Carroll compliment one another beautifully, but maybe it’s time to give Leon a start. 

Our defence more-or-less picks itself with Fernandez still out and Bartley in fine form, while Taylor’s knock he picked up against Palace didn’t force him out of that game, so I can’t see it forcing him out of this one. 

Gylfi and Bony’s names will be the first on the team sheet along with Ash and Fabianski, but our wings may well be rotated again as Monk has hinted that Dyer will be used. 

One thing that is set in stone though. It’s going to be cold. Very cold! Let's hope there are plenty of goals to warm the cockles of our Welsh hearts.

Thanks to Josh as usual for his contribution. Give him a follow on Twitter @JoshKilmister