Date: 21st October 2015 at 11:05am
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Swansea City really need to avoid their winless run increasing to 7 games this weekend when they travel to Aston Villa – a side that have yet to win since their narrow 1-0 victory against Premier League newcomers AFC Bournemouth on the opening day of the season.

While Garry Monk did make changes to the team that us fans wanted him to make – they didn’t pay off as the Swans lost their unbeaten start at home. A lot of fans wanted Sigurdsson to be dropped in favour or either Shelvey or Ayew behind striker Gomis, and there were also a lot of discussions about Ayew’s position out wide on the right.

His tendency to move inside made the team unbalanced, with a lack of support for Kyle Naughton at right back. To combat this, Monk brought in Barrow, but it was clear from Monday night, that he is still not ready to start Premier League matches.

It was something I commented on in a previous article, that Monk doesn’t have the depth to solve the issue with Ayew on the right. Barrow clearly isn’t ready, so there’s no other option than to start Ayew in the same position. He just needs to be more disciplined in his positioning, and only commit to making runs into the box when the ball is over on the left flank with Montero.

Shelvey is also more than capable, and arguably better suited to Sigurdsson’s attacking role. That allows Ki to start alongside Jack Cork in front of the back four. A player that just has to be in the starting line-up.

Monk got it wrong with his starting line-up, but even if he had stuck with Ayew on the right and Sigurdsson in the centre, the team didn’t look close to being capable of recovering from their early setback, when Ashley Williams conceded a penalty within the first few minutes.

Dropping Sigurdsson was a fair argument last week. He’s been struggling for quite a while now as Monk has changed the attacking style slightly to get the ball wide and then into the box for Gomis and Ayew. But his off-the-ball contribution, his ball-chasing, applying pressure and work-rate was missed against Stoke and that is something you won’t get if you push Shelvey further forward.

Garry Monk has never been a manager (yet?) to chop and change his starting eleven too often, but this season he has been making slight changes more often. The likes of Cork and Ki have come in and out of the side since the first game at Chelsea and Ayew has also moved from wide right to the centre on two seperate occasions as well.

He’s got some big decisions to make on Saturday, it’s a crucial game at Aston Villa – not because the Swans are down there in the bottom 6 and they’re up against another side that’s struggling – it’s too early for talk like that, but because a winless run of 6 desperately needs to come to an end – especially when you’re up against a team that are really struggling – even at home.

Sigurdsson, even for his off-the-ball contribution alone, will be a useful asset against a side like Villa. Tim Sherwood is trying to get them playing more attractive football out from defence, and we’ve already seen their goalkeeper make two costly mistakes trying to play the ball out to a defender. The Icelandic will run all day long and can cause problems for a Villa defence lacking in confidence.

Elsewhere, Rangel may keep his place. He offers more going forward than Naughton but his lack of pace is still a worry. Ayew was more positionally disciplined against Spurs when Rangel came into the side, and hopefully the same will happen again this weekend.

Do you agree? What would your team be for the Aston Villa game on Saturday? Comment below and let us know your thoughts….

 
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