In a battle of the top two Premier League sides, and the only two to not yet lose a match this season, Swansea City travel to West London to take on Chelsea. Both clubs have looked impressive in their early season fixtures, and each will be looking to take maximum points from this encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Swansea manager Garry Monk, recently awarded Manager of the Month for August, took over as caretaker manager following the sacking of Michael Laudrup in February of this year. After a relatively successful end to the season which saw Swansea finish 12th, Monk has signed a three-year contract in May making him permanent manager. Swansea City have won all three opening matches, beating Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford on opening day, Burnley 1-0 and West Brom 3-0 both at home in the Liberty Stadium. Some might say that none of these teams is in particularly good form at the moment, and they would be right. United sit at 14th, West Brom 18th, and Burnley in dead last conceded 12 goals between them and all still yet to record a victory. However, it would be unfair to Swansea, and the intelligent tactics of Garry Monk, to not recognize how well they’ve begun their season.
Against West Brom, Monk had his men lined up in a familiar 4-2-3-1, attacking straight from the whistle and Swans controlled the key areas of the pitch without much difficulty. Icelandic Offseason acquisition Gylfi Sigurdsson, bought from Tottenham Hotspur in July to the tune of €10m, has made an immediate impact scoring once and providing four assists in his first three appearances. Another essential cog in Monk’s midfield is formerly on-loan player Ki Sung-yueng. The South Korean spent last season with Sunderland and what a part of the Black Cats’ squad which put an end to José Mourinho’s impressive home record at Stamford Bridge. Rounding out the central midfield is former Liverpool man Jonjo Shelvey, who has impressed many since his move to Wales.
Wingers Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer have shown a deadliness going forward that was rather lacking in last season’s campaign, notching several goals themselves while also providing quality service to frontman Wilfried Bony. In fact, Gary Monk named them among those he felt deserved to be called up by England manager Roy Hodgson. Still, I’m sure he won’t be too bothered, as both should be match fit for tomorrow’s clash in West London. Ivorian Wilfried Bony was linked with many a club, Premier League and otherwise, this offseason but has yet to get off the mark so far this year. He will definitely be looking to do so when his side travels to Stamford Bridge, this Saturday.