Time For Swansea’s ‘Stars’ to Stand Up and be Counted

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Crunch clash? Six pointer? Vital battle?

STAND-UPAll perhaps, are extreme terms banded about too often in the hyperbole that is Premiership football.

However, when it comes to previewing Swansea City’s home game with Bournemouth this Saturday, all three terms are worryingly close to the mark.

Of course, it is only mid-November, and to suggest that the loser from Saturday is spiralling towards relegation would be premature.

But regardless of the table, and even overlooking the fact that a defeat would leave Garry Monk’s men on the brink of the relegation zone, this game for Swansea is a must win.

It is a must win because Swansea’s unconvincing 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park on October 24th represents the only league and cup win in nine attempts.

It is a must win because of the rumours and pressure surrounding Monk himself, a factor not helped by stories emerging this week linking his assistant, Pep Clotet, with Brentford.

And it is a must win, because a performance from so many of Swansea’s so called better players is long overdue.

Indeed, amidst all the talk of Monk and unrest behind the scenes, a host of underperforming stars at the Liberty Stadium have got off lightly.

Striker Bafetimbi Gomis has come in for criticism, but he has not been alone in his mediocrity.

Captain Ashley Williams, for so long talismanic at the heart of the Swansea defence, has been prone to error since returning from the international break that saw Wales seal qualification for Euro 2016.

Glaring mistakes against Stoke City and Arsenal, both of which led to crucial goals for the opposition, represented a drop in his undoubtedly high standards. For the Swans to climb the table again, they need their leader back to his best.

Keeper Lukasz Fabianski must cut out recent mistakes, and revisit the consistency that made him one of the signings of the 2014/2105 season.

In midfield, Jonjo Shelvey has not hit the heights of early season, and for all the talk of him growing up and earning a place in the England squad, his latest performance levels are not that worthy of an international footballer.

Gylfi Sigurdsson meanwhile, has shown glimpses of his best, but is not as yet the pivotal playmaker he has shown he can be in seasons gone by.

Wide men Jefferson Montero and Andre Ayew, both revelations throughout August, have gone quiet, whilst Ki Yeung-Sung is one whose place in the starting XI is surely in question this weekend.

Indeed, all too often in football the poor performance of players is overlooked in favour of managerial blame.

Many have called for Monk to make changes to his XI this weekend, and it would be a surprise if the manager elected to field the same side who began against Villa, Arsenal and Norwich.

But regardless, it is time for whoever takes to the field to stand up and be counted.

If they don’t, then distant talk of a relegation battle will become reality.

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