Date: 28th June 2015 at 8:01pm
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Swansea City`s First and Second Teams are looking as stronger as ever as manager Garry Monk looks to build on last season`s success.

The Swans enjoyed a memorable and historic season in Monk`s first full season in charge, finishing with their highest ever Premier League points tally and their highest finish – he and his players are now targeting even better than 8th next year with Europa League qualification in their sights.

Big potential signings like Andre Ayew as well as current player Bafetimbi Gomis are targeting European qualification, and Monk couldn`t hide his ambition a few months ago when asked if he wanted to finish 7th and qualify for Europa in 2015/16.

Prior to the New Year signings – which saw the likes of Kyle Naughton and Jack Cork arrive at the Liberty – we made two entirely different starting line-ups to show Swansea`s strength in depth and the cover they had in each position.

Following those January signings and another 3 and potential 4 new arrivals this Summer, Swansea`s strength in depth looks better than it`s ever been, as the formations below show.

4-4-2 diamond and 4-2-3-1 are likely to be the two formations to be used again, and we wouldn`t completely rule out 3-5-2 out either, but we still think the first two will remain the focus in training.

4-2-3-1 – Team A:



4-2-3-1 – Team B:



There are different combinations you could use between Team A and B. Jonjo Shelvey could of course be in Team A, but Shelvey is a far better player to have in either side playing behind the main striker as opposed to someone like Marvin Emnes.

But judging from his end of season form, Shelvey would be difficult to leave out of the side, but so too would be equally as consistent performers – Jack Cork and Ki Sung Yueng. It`s a welcome and on-going selection headache for manager Garry Monk.

The 4-4-2 diamond formation allowed for the trio to start, with Cork sitting deepest, Shelvey and Ki alongside and Sigurdsson at the top, behind a strike duo of Gomis and Routledge, but we expect Ayew to now be the first choice second striker in the diamond.

The diamond certainly split the fans in their opinion of the new formation. Many supporters didn`t like it despite it bringing results. It lacked the entertainment of the regular 4-2-3-1, it lacked pacey wingers – relying on the full backs for wide support and was often used to help contain teams – particularly the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United – who we incidentally completed the doubles over, so the diamond certainly has its uses and shouldn`t be disregarded.

What will be interesting to see what sort of system and starting eleven Monk decides to go with at Chelsea in the season`s opening match.

We expect something possibly close to the below, but we`re still yet to see what other signings Monk makes:

4-4-2-Diamond Team A:




4-4-2-Diamond Team B:



The 4-4-2 arguably lacks the same amount of depth compared to the 4-2-3-1 but thats to be expected when you can`t involve the wingers and have used an extra midfielder.

3-5-2 is also an option for Monk to maybe think about. It arguably wouldn`t have been effected last season before Naughton signed, with Rangel lacking the pace to get up and down the flank, but Naughton and Taylor or Tabanou are all effective wing backs.

Naughton has proved he can get up and down the pitch quickly, Tabanou is also thought to have better attacking qualities than defensive, and Taylor has played in a 3-5-2 for Wales, with Chris Coleman using the system to great effect in the recent Euro 2016 qualifiers.

At the start of last season, Ashley Williams wrote off the 3-5-2, saying he`s used to playing in a 4-man defence and preferred that, but he`s played in the heart of a 3-man defence for Wales – as captain no less.



The turn off for Monk with this system may be the lack of an attacking midfielder playing behind the two forwards – which is both a key feature in the 4-4-2 diamond and 4-2-3-1.

Former Swans boss and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had great success by switching to a more attacking 3-4-3 system, before his side suffered a drop in form again towards the end of the season.

But it`s unlikely that Monk would adjust it in a similar fashion to allow for a false 9 role, as a 3-5-2 would likely be used as a counter-attacking system for away games and against superior opposition.



To allow for the false 9, Cork, playing in a similar deep role as he would in the 4-4-2 diamond, would have to be sacrificed to allow Sigurdsson to come in to play behind Ayew and Gomis – something I can`t see us ever doing.

We`ve used potential new signing Eder as an alternative striker option to Gomis. It`s strongly reported that he`s agreed a £5m move, but if it`s not him Monk will bring in a striker similar to Gomis to add competition to the squad.

As it looks on paper, the 4-2-3-1 looks to have the most strength in depth, but of course, a team can be shifted around according to injuries etc, rather than completed replaced like in these examples.

The Swans would probably need another centre back if they wanted to consider adding 3-5-2 to their list of possible formation systems. The diamond also has great potential with Ayew as the second striker alongside Gomis, but of course you lose the wingers.

Are there any significant weak areas that still need to be strengthened ahead of the start of the new season? Would you have other players in the starting eleven over some of the ones we`ve used?

Let us know via the comments below…

 
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