In what is surely the biggest game ever between the two South Wales football clubs, all attention has been drawn to the sacking of Swansea manager Michael Laudrup and the appointment, albeit temporary, of Garry Monk as his replacement.
Whilst this article was going to be a full preview of Saturday’s match in which the Swans will be looking to avenge the 1-0 defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium, we cannot ignore what has happened these past seven days.
The series of events that led to Laudrup’s sacking began after the 2-0 defeat to West Ham last weekend. Or did it?
Whilst many supporters and journalists thought his dismissal was a ‘bolt out of the blue’, the situation between Laudrup and some of his senior players has not been well since his appointment during the summer of 2011.
Just weeks after his appointment, the Swans toured North America with new players and a new manager. But within days rumours were circulating that senior players were not happy with the Dane’s training tactics. It is alleged that several senior members of the squad challenged Laudrup about his training methods as they felt he wasn’t training them hard enough. Again it is rumored that Huw Jenkins, the Swansea chairman, was called in to mediate the feud.
More recent rumors have suggested that Laudrup did not go into the dressing room after a game, regardless of a win/loss/draw and once his media duties were fulfilled, he drove home. Whilst some may argue the merits of these actions, many supporters are disappointed to hear that their manager is not congratulating the players or discussing the match, which is something that traditionally happens in the UK.
These are just a few rumors that suggest Swansea City was not a ‘happy’ place behind closed doors and this week’s actions by the club should be of no surprise. Some fans have questioned the timing, but I for one feel much happier and confident that a Swansea City player of 10 years who has lived and breathed this club will be in charge and ready to fire the players up for what promises to be a fantastic match.
The Swans arguably play the most attractive football in the Premier League and the statistics prove this. The Swans have dominated every game, home and away in terms of possession so far this season. That’s right, even against Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.
Saturday will be no exception. I see the Swans maintaining their fluid style of play but one notable difference could be the use of the wide men, probably Dyer and Routledge. The ‘wingers’ have been playing a more central role this season (a very European style), but they have been caught in possession trying to wrangle their way through the crowded midfield area. However, Saturday should see the return of these two players playing much wider and further up the pitch to stretch the Cardiff defense, which should provide much more space for the ever improving Wilfried Bony. The Swans are favorites to win this game, but you can find the latest updated odds for Swansea at SportsBettingOnline.ag.
Garry Monk was a defender when he played for the club and all eyes will be on the central defense positions. Will he put Amat alongside captain Ashley Williams or stick with Chico Flores who he recently had a training ground ‘bust-up’ with? Should he choose Amat, expect that to be the start of the end of Chico’s time in South Wales.
One definite starter will be Leon Britton. A dependable, reliable player and great passer of the ball, Monk will surely choose him over Canas. Britton, like Monk has been at the club for over 10 years and knows only too well what this game means to the Swansea faithful.
It’s been an eventful week. I feel more confident that the majority of the Swansea players will play with more effort and vigor under Monk and so Swansea should get something out of the game. If the Swans win, Garry Monk will instantly became a ‘God’ in South West Wales for masterminding a win over the old enemy. If the Swans lose, well, that’s not even an option.
Julian Price runs swansfc.com, a must-visit site for fans of Swansea City.
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