After the departure of top scorer Wilfried Bony to current champions Manchester City, the Swans have struggled to score goals.
In fact, in their last 12 matches, Swansea City have not scored more than one goal during a match, scoring only three times in their last five matches. So who can provide the goals now Bony has gone?
The obvious candidate in Bafetimbi Gomis. The striker was signed last summer on a free transfer, although his signing on fee was rumored to be very substantial. Having a good goalscoring record in the French Ligue 1 for Lyon, he undoubtedly has quality. In fact he still holds the record for the fastest ever hat-trick in the Champions League when he scored four goals in a match against GNK Dinamo Zagreb.
He is an industrious player, who is arguably more mobile than Bony, but one could argue lack of game time at Swansea has hampered his progression.
For a player who is well built, he can be easily knocked off the ball, and on occasions his first touch lets him down allowing an opposing defender to easily regain possession.
Currently, it seems the pace of the Premier League is too fast for him. However, the more game time he gets I do believe he will score goals, if not as many as the departed Bony.
So who else can manager Garry Monk look to for goals? Gylfi Sigurdsson has been a standout player this season and is Swansea’s current top scorer with six goals in all competitions. It is no coincidence that Swansea’s recent lack of goals has been due to his absence through suspension.
If fit and available, Sigurdsson should always be deployed behind the striker. This was the role favored by Michu just a couple of seasons ago. The position is far enough up the pitch to provide goalscoring opportunities while providing support to the striker and the wingers or wide midfielders, which the Swans now prefer to play. This is the position Swansea have developed as their own in the Premier League and no other team uses this key player better.
Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-yueng should not be discounted as a source of goalscoring opportunities.
Shelvey adopts an attacking role on the field behind Sigurdsson, while Ki will work as a deeper-lying midfielder. But having those two together in the middle gives Monk balance in terms of movement forward and defensive play.
This formation effectively depends on the wingers and fullbacks creating space midfielders to exploit. Jefferson Montero was in great form before his recent injury, while Wayne Routledge began to look sharper before he suffered a calf strain when the Swans lost 5-0 to current Premier League leaders Chelsea.
One could argue there is no room for Nathan Dyer in the team after several average performances this season. While many would disagree with this suggestion, he is increasingly getting caught with the ball and finding it more difficult to beat his man.
Two exciting prospects for the remainder of the season are Jack Cork and Modou Barrow.
Cork is a player the Swans have admired for sometime, and someone they have attempted to sign on previous occasions. A former Chelsea youngster, he is comfortable on the ball with a good passing ability. He will suit the Swansea style of play very well. This, and his willingness to go forward from midfield, should provide a platform for more goals as the season comes to a close.
Finally, Barrow is a player who excites. Still raw, but very hungry and has electrifying pace. Monk is deploying the Gambian in wide areas but his favorite position is the lone striking role. He is someone who has an eye for goal and it will be intriguing to watch is development.
So what is Swansea’s best formation? Former managers Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers used wide men to stretch teams, while Michael Laudrup’s Swansea became much narrower.
Monk has reverted back to a 4-2-3-1 formation, allowing two wide players to stretch teams in the middle of the park that allows space for Sigurdsson to create and provide goals for the team.
From a spectator point of view, this is the most enjoyable formation to watch.
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