|Go for it against Chelsea- History shows it isn't always a bad choice|
Written by BarneyLW on Saturday, 9th Apr 2016 08:34
What do you do in a season that has very few highlights and lots of talking points? You discuss, debate and analyse until you are exhausted. This seems to be the modus operandi for the Swansea City faithful. One of the less enjoyable seasons seems to be drawing to a close, while Francesco Guidolin has seemingly masterminded survival while the ill fate of relegation seemed doomed to happen in January, the Italian has got the Swans to 37 points with 6 games remaining, losing only 3 times. Questions remain, nonetheless.
The draw against Stoke was as pleasing as it was surprising. Looking at one point like a routine away defeat at one of the toughest grounds in the league to go and pick up a point or three. This inevitably led to talking points that have been an issue ever since Garry Monk was sacked in December. Firstly, the shape: While the diamond has been much discussed, something under Monk which made the side compact, flexible and tricky to play against, at times it has made the team shape look narrow and lop-sided towards the latter part of this season. While it has been known to work, the side have rarely looked in control and questions turn into frustration when it does not work.
Which brings us on to another thing puzzling fans, the absence of a certain little Ecuadorian winger. Fans at Stoke were singing for Jefferson Montero to finally get some game time under Guidolin long before his eventual substitution, which was a catalyst to the Jacks to come back and earn an unlikely draw at the Britannia; Sigurdsson and Paloschi grabbing the goals.
Going into the weekend's game with a rejuvenated Chelsea, enjoying life under Guus Hiddink, Guidolin may at last have a tactical headache. Does he acclimatise to the team, or do they acclimatise to him? A lot has changed since the opening day of the season at Stamford Bridge, both sides have different managers, but the tactical approach may be the same. If Swansea want to beat Chelsea for the first time in the Premier League, they may have to fight fire with fire.
The season opener in West London was a rare highlight. A sunny 5:30 kick off at the home of Mourinho's champions, where teams simply did not go and pick up anything. A debut goal by Andre Ayew and a penalty from Bafe Gomis saw the away side earn a 2-2 draw, and in truth it could have been much more. There was a media frenzy around the match, not just for Mourinho's antics in berating his own club doctor, but for the torrid time Montero gave Branislav Ivanovic. However much the Blues subsequently went on to struggle before Jose's departure, for Guidolin, why not go for it?
There has been a huge presence of Jacks on Twitter calling for Montero to play on the left wing and the hugely improved Modou Barrow, a hugely promising talent who seems to look more dangerous every week to occupy the right wing. Or even Andre Ayew, who is likely to return. Yet, now that the manager has admitted he can now 'trust' Jefferson, 4-5-1 could finally be the plan of action. Tactically, it is more expansive but not necessarily more risky than a 4-4-2 diamond. There is no reason for it to be something that leaves the side more open, providing the wingers do indeed put in a defensive shift, as the shape means a sacrifice to a third central midfielder.
Fans should put aside what is more exciting- exciting did not keep us out of relegation danger and while the football at times has not been riveting, survival is near. However, with two lightning quick wingers on each flank, as well as being hugely exciting and bound to get the Liberty Stadium on their feet on Saturday, a tactical change and the recall of a fan favourite could lead to yet another positive result under the Italian's short tenure.
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