Monk Comes Up Trumps In Tactical Battle at Villa
21st March 2015
Swansea City manager Garry Monk came up trumps in today's tactical battle as his side scored a late winner to beat Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Much has been said this season about Monk's tactical awareness and game management, with some fans criticising his lack of them - making changes too late in a game and not being pro-active enough with his tactics when things aren't going right.
Monday night's home defeat at Liverpool was a good example of this. His side controlled the first half, but Liverpool made much needed changes and the momentum switched to the Reds as they scored a lucky goal to win the game.
But the Swans struggled to create a decent chance on goal n that game, and making a like for like change - Montero on for Routledge made no impact and the Swans never looked like netting an equaliser.
Earlier in the season, the Swans had started matches strongly, sometimes taking a 1-goal lead at the break but too often they found themselves hanging on and coping with pressure in the second half.
It was widely reported just how many points Swansea City had lost from winning positions this season, but they've managed to avoid adding to that figure particularly by managing games better and hanging on to narrow leads.
Before today's game, Monk told the press about how he met Tim Sherwood when they both did their coaching badges, but insisted that he is a different type of manager to the former Spurs caretaker boss.
It made for an interesting tactical between the two sides as Aston Villa were looking for another League win to boost their survival hopes, while Monk was hoping to see success with his new diamond system, after losing the last two.
Like on Monday night against Liverpool, Swansea City dominated the first half and Gomis really should have at least netted once but he let off the hosts by failing to score from close range when Neil Taylor pulled the ball back for the Frenchman.
But after losing control of the game on Monday, we were wary the same would happen again as Tim Sherwood knew he had to make a few adjustments to give them a much better chance of winning the game, as they had barely forced Fabianski into a save in the first half.
Villa pushed forward in the second half and after a good early spell from the hosts, the Swans were able to get back involved before Montero came on to help create Gomis' late winner.
Rather than making a like for like change this time, Garry Monk made a bold decision to bring off Gylfi Sigurdsson in favour of the Ecuadorian winger. Sigurdsson struggled somewhat to produce a threat, Villa gave him little time and space on the ball and his only main involvement was a free kick that the goalkeeper tipped over.
Montero took 5 or 10 minutes to receive the ball to go on his trademark runs down the left, but when he did - Villa found it difficult to deal with his trickery and pace.
It was that decision to bring on Montero on 64 minutes and switch to 4-2-3-1 that helped Swansea deal with Villa's pace on the flanks and to get that winner.
You did wonder if either side would show enough quality to get a goal and take the win, and it was the Swans who were able to get Montero racing away down the left. Gomis was also running through the centre and two direct passes was enough. Routledge through to Montero and from Montero across to the striker to finish past Guzan.
Sherwood believed his side deserved a point, but you have to admit that they were let off in the first half by a miss-firing Gomis, but fortunately he kept plugging away, and he turned from Go-Miss to Go-Score!