Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Rival Lines: SOS, Swans fans baffled by team's slump

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Swansea v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Swansea Oh Swansea
Twitter: @StevenSOS1987

I had a real struggle to get hold of a Swansea blogger this time for Rival Lines. It seemed that perhaps a few sites were running scared of talking about their team facing the Cherries. Luckily though, I came across a Fanzine site called Swansea Oh Swansea and Steven Carroll duly obliged to take on my questions. It is a really important game for both clubs and being the first game after the international break I think it could define where the Cherries and the Swans need to strengthen, as both teams play a similar passing game and are both lacking that cutting-edge at the moment. Here's what Steven had to say on the matter.

CC: How does Garry Monk get more out of his team this season?

SOS: Hard one to answer really. The fans are a bit baffled as to why our form has dipped since the first month of the campaign. Ultimately though, he needs to make a couple of changes to the starting eleven as there's a few players not pulling their weight. Goal scoring is our biggest problem at the moment - only 5 in the last 8 games which is not good enough and it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

CC: Do you think Monk needs some more support as has been suggested with someone like John Toshack?

SOS: Something does need to changed but I'm not sure that would be the answer. It appears that the board would like to see someone more experienced join the backroom team but if Monk doesn't want it then we can't undermine him in my opinion. If someone does come in then I don't think Toshack would be the answer. He's a club legend but his time has come and gone. He hasn't managed domestically in this country since he left us over thirty years ago and the game has moved on a lot since then.

CC: Are more international call ups this year affecting the Swansea performances or is that a poor excuse for form?

SOS: It's easy to use that as an excuse, most of our players who represent their countries were doing so before this campaign, the only one who is new to it on a regular basis this term is Jonjo Shelvey. It's not something that washes with me, I can understand how after each international break if a player has travelled outside of Europe to represent his country that he may not be at the top of his game but the rest of them have no excuse. With the way the break works now, very often you will play your final international game on a Sunday or Monday so you get nearly a whole week to prepare for the next club game

CC: Were you pleased with the summer signings or do you think a couple of more first team signings would have helped?

SOS: Andre Ayew has been an excellent signing and is our top scorer with five goals - he's also the only player to score from open play since August if you don't include Harry Kane's own goal! The rest were more back up players which was on the whole what we needed but we should have signed another striker really. The fact that we didn't has been a mistake and it's cost us in recent games. [Ed- we know all about that at AFCB, sounds familiar].

CC: Have Swansea fans' expectations grown a bit bigger than perhaps they should have after last season?

SOS: I don't think so. Most of the fans realise that last year was pretty much as high as we can go without major investment. The expectation for this term was just to try and finish in the top ten again from my point of view, even if it was in a lower position than last season which I felt was well within our capabilities. At the moment you would have to say that is unlikely which is disappointing as I believe our players are capable of guiding us into the top half but are not showing it at the moment.

CC: Do you feel that Swansea have needed someone fresh up front like Eder who might be back for this match (I'll be pleased not to see the Gomis' Big Cat celebration this next weekend, even if he is in my fantasy league team)?

SOS: Yes, definitely. Gomis has no goal since August and not just that he's been very lacklustre and hasn't caused the opposition many problems. He is also offside an embarrassing amount. At the last count I think it's 26 times already this season, he's wasted so many attacks it's unreal. When playing well he's a handful and he's got more ability than Eder, but he's not showing it so it's time for him to be benched and the Portuguese international given a chance to start.

CC: Do you think Bournemouth passing game will be easier to play against than some of the teams you have played recently?

SOS: We hate teams who come to the Liberty and look to keep everyone behind the ball to frustrate us so playing Bournemouth should suit us better as I feel you won't do that and will look to have a go at us. However they could be famous last words as I'd be amazed if you didn't score, if you play as well as you did against Newcastle and as I've already alluded to we are struggling for goals ourselves. We will see but hopefully it will suit us.

CC: Are you sad to see the departure of Michu?

SOS: Not really, realistically he left 18 months ago. I remember on his last appearance for us at Hull in April 2014 all he was doing was berating team mates while not trying as hard as her should have been himself. I knew after that game that he didn't want to be here and thought it was best if he went elsewhere. It's a shame how things have turned out, he could have been a legend and he gave us some great memories but they seem like a lifetime ago now.

CC: Which player do you feel is playing best in your team at the moment?

SOS: Tough one to answer as the standards have dipped. However I'll say Ayew as he's the most likely to score at the weekend.

CC: How do you think Swansea will line up against the Cherries?

SOS: There could be changes but Monk has been fairly loyal to his main men so far so I think he's more likely to stick with them so I'll go for, Fabianski, Naughton, Williams, Fernandez, Taylor, Ki, Shelvey, Ayew, Sigurdsson, Montero, Gomis

CC: Is it easy to park near the Liberty stadium and is there anything AFC Bournemouth fans should look out for on their visit?

SOS: It's not great, there is some street parking but it's limited. There's a retail park but you'd be taking a risk parking there as you may get clamped. Things to look out for would be Coopers Arms which isn't too far from the away end if anyone wants a pint and for food Rossi's chip shop which is opposite the ground. The other thing would be my fanzine which I'll be selling by the lights opposite Rossis'!

CC: Thanks Steven for your comments on Swansea. It is good to know that some of my questions were tough to answer. I think we can safely say that both teams have lost their way a bit this season after reasonable starts. AFCB's problems are well documented with the injury list but I am struggling to see why Swansea have been lacking a bit of confidence of late. I hope AFCB fans make a beeline for the SOS fanzine which Steven will have crafted with a lot of care. In the meantime, do have a look at the Swansea Oh Swansea website.

Finally, don't forget that All Departments will be hosting an AFCB Fan's Forum tonight in Southbourne at the Wight Bear Ale House. Why not pop along and enjoy the conversation, the fund gets underway at 8pm.

You cam also check out my Shoot blog post - The pass masters which has further views on the Swansea City v AFCB clash this weekend.

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