Is Monk the man to save Swansea from relegation?
Swansea City have finally decided to sack Michael Laudrup as manager, after many months of speculation surrounding the relationship between the Dane and the club’s board.
Tabloid reports claim that Laudrup was given the chop due to a two-day trip to Paris following the Swans’ recent 2-0 defeat to West Ham, but it is very unlikely that was the whole reason for his departure. Talk of a fractured relationship with chairman Huw Jenkins has been going on since last summer when Laudrup cut ties with his former agent Bayram Tutumlu.
A club statement read that club captain Garry Monk has been put in charge alongside first-team coach Alan Curtis “for the foreseeable future”, but just how will this sudden change affect the Welsh side?
The 34-year-old defender has played for Swansea for nearly a decade now, and has been an ever-present and crucial part of the club’s incredible rise through the divisions, from today’s equivalent of League Two to the top flight.
Monk takes over the reins in what seems to be a possible interim role, with the club lying in 12th place but just two points above the drop-zone. With odds of 8/1 to go down, it could be worth a punt especially with an inexperienced manager.
This Saturday’s derby against Cardiff is a crucial battle, not only for pride, but for position too, as a home defeat for the Swans would see their rivals draw level on points with them and complete the double.
Bad form and low confidence is also a challenge at present for Monk and his new side to overcome, as they have gained just four points from their last six matches, but three of those fixtures were against the two Manchester clubs and Spurs.
February’s fixture list for Swansea is a tough one, starting with the South Wales derby, followed by two consecutive away games against Stoke and Everton. Another league away match, this time against Liverpool, is sandwiched in between their Europa League double with Napoli.
Unless the Swans can pull off some surprise victories this month, this season doesn’t really bode well for them, and how likely is that going to affect their confidence towards the end of the campaign?
Wales’ first Premier League club have a momentous task ahead of them, and Monk will give anything for victories against Cardiff and Stoke to give them a bit of breathing space.
Their top 10 odds of 3-1 seem to be very ambitious.