Showing posts with label Q&A. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Q&A. Show all posts

Wednesday 17 December 2014

'Tis the (middle of the) season - a festive blogger Q&A on the season so far!

It's been a while so, with a week to go until Christmas and very close to the mid-way point in the Premier League season, let's check in with some of the Forza Swansea bloggers to catch up on their highlights of the season so far:

Definitely some positives to smile about Garry!

Q1. Sum up Swansea's season so far in one word!

Alec Johnson: Rollercoaster!

Matthew Jacob: Positive. Some excellent results, interspersed with some superb football - a real positive start to Monk's first full season in charge.

Jules Price: Pleasing.

Jacob Cristobal: Top-half!

Chris Carra: Potential.

Q2. What's been your favourite game of the season to this point?

AJ: The big kick-off in Old Trafford. That set us off with the belief that we are ready to compete at the top table again.

MJ: Arsenal at home. Dug in when we needed to, played our game and were deserved winners.

JP: It has to be the win over Manchester United at Old Trafford. We crashed the van Gaal party when there was so much expectation around his appointment and his signings. It was a historic win too which makes it even more significant.

JC: The season opener against United, spoiling van Gaal's debut.

CC: The Arsenal one has probably been my favourite to this point - I was watching in Amsterdam in a bar full of Arsenal supporters who naturally went crazy when Arsenal scored. But the two quick goals from Swansea were superb and the small table of Swans fans made more noise than the entire pub. Great!

Fabianski is proving a hit this season.

Q3. Who has been your stand-out Swans player (and why)?

AJ: Gylfi. His feet are magical but his footballing mind is breathtaking. He sees passes that can only be spotted from the sofa in your lounge.

MJ: I'm sure many will say Bony, or perhaps Montero, and both are worthy candidates. For me though Sigurdsson has given us a real attacking edge, and the spark of creativity we'd perhaps lacked in recent years. Consistently brilliant.

JP: Fabianski. Very solid and commands his defenders well. Great shot stopper who has already shown that he has more quality than Vorm. Arsenal’s loss, Swansea’s gain. I would argue he is one of the top five keepers in the Premier League although he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves in the national media.

JC: Fabianski. He is proving he can handle his own when actually given matches and I do not miss Vorm. Still miss Ben, but that's something else.

CC: I'm going to be obvious and say Bony. Not just for his goals - without which the Swans would be much further down the table - but for his overall strength and class up front.

Q4. Who would be your ideal January transfer window signing (and why)?

AJ: Full backs. Both are currently decent, but a notch beneath the rest of the team.

MJ: A right back and a left back. Both positions need addressing. I quite like Kieran Trippier at Burnley. He's done well after stepping up to this level and has more to offer I think.

JP: Raul would have been a great signing however he signed for former Swansea City player Giovanni Saverese at the New York Cosmos just a few weeks ago. Realistically I would like to see Harry Kane at the Liberty. Not a guaranteed first team starter for Tottenham and he’s a good old-fashioned striker. Just look at Sunday’s performance.

JC: Podolski. He deserves better than being a sub off the bench.

CC: A solid wing-back who would challenge for a starting spot - can't put my finger on a name though.

Q5. Where are Swansea going to finish come May?

AJ: 9th. Above Liverpool and a whole league above our red, white or occasionally blue neighbours.

MJ: Mid-table, possibly 8th.

JP: Mid-table unless they fail to replace Bony sufficiently during the African Cup of Nations which could mean they struggle to score. Then again Gomis will get his opportunity so who knows!

JC: Somewhere in between 7th and 9th.

CC: Definitely in the top ten, perhaps 8th.

Thanks for reading. Make sure you order your copy of the best-selling Swansea City's Greatest Games in time for Christmas. It's now available at the club shop as well!

Friday 16 May 2014

Blogger Q&A - "Goodbye 2013/14"

Swansea City's 2013/14 season is finally over! It's been eventful - happy, sad, angry and proud, the emotions were all over the place this year.

So, to end the season, myself and the Forza Swansea bloggers are answering a few questions to round it all up, including the best and worst games, goals and players!

Q1) What was Swansea's best game this season?

Jules Price: For me the best game would be the draw at the Emirates Stadium. Bony's headed goal was sublime, underlining his increasing confidence. What was so pleasing was how the Swans were able to put up a solid resistance for most of the game against an Arsenal side that were completely dominating the match.

Alec Johnson: It has to be Cardiff at the Liberty - beating your fierce rivals so comfortably with so much at stake. The six point swing was crucial for momentum and it could have gone horribly wrong had we lost.

Gavin Tucker: It has to be my trip to the Mestalla and our 3-0 annihilation of Valencia. Perhaps it didn't have the historical significance of a play-off match or cup final but it's up there with my all time favourite game. Quite possibly the best away trip ever.

Jacob Cristobal: It's a tie between these two: September 16, 2013 against Liverpool. You have to look back with a sense of humour and appreciate that Jonjo Shelvey was MOTM for both sides - that's special talent right there. And February 27, 2014 against Napoli. All Swansea fans should be damn proud of their Europa League campaign. To be 35 minutes away from the Round of 16 is nothing to scoff at.

Chris Carra: The Cardiff game was of course superb, but I enjoyed the penultimate home game against Aston Villa. It secured safety in the league with four good goals, and the players did it with the drive that had been missing for much of the season.

Probably the worst game...

Q2) What about the worst game?

JP: The early season defeat against Man United at the Liberty. It was the most watched game in US history and I know Swansea's performance that day ensured we gained many new followers and admirers from the other side of the Atlantic. The scoreline flattered United because for the first 25 minutes we were on top.

AJ: West Brom at home was the most frustrating. The manner of the defeat turned the majority of our supporters into predicting certain relegation. We rolled over and let them tickle our soft centre in a must not lose game.

GT: West Ham away was my lowest point of the season, as I'm sure it was for many. The apparent lack of preparation and so many simple errors... Chico. There was just nothing positive to take from that performance.

JC: That would be November 3, 2013 against Cardiff. One, it came on at some ungodly hour here in the US (time zone differential) and two, losing to rivals just stinks.

CC: I'm agreeing with Jacob and probably thousands of other Swans fans - the Cardiff loss was terrible. No fight from anyone and Cardiff deserved their one moment of glory.

Q3) Apart from Bony, who was the stand-out Swansea player?

JP: Pablo Hernandez. He had an average season but the increase in his confidence and match performances were evident to see once Garry Monk was installed as the manager. Without doubt he seemed a much happier player in the centre of midfield.

AJ: Jonjo Shelvey. I was one of the excited few when he arrived last July. A genuine Steven Gerrard type that doesn't exist at many clubs. He's scored key goals at key times - Fulham away, Villa at home and, of course, the two against the scousers.

GT: I really want to say Wayne Routledge, but I'll go with Jonjo Shelvey - he still needs some refinement but his potential is clear. Lately everyone has raved about Everton's Ross Barkley but if you look at the stats over the season Jonjo has scored as many in less games, assisted more, created more key chances, passed, shot and tackled more successfully. Get him on the plane to Rio Roy!

JC: Jordi Amat - who I had as the player to watch this season. Simply put he should always be starting over Chico.

CC: Jonjo Shelvey would also do it for me. He wasn't everyone's first choice when he arrived, but showed exactly what he is capable of!

Celebrating one of the goals of the season!

Q4) For you, what was Swansea's goal of the season?

JP: I think the De Guzman goal at the Mestalla was an incredible piece of skill in front of a very large crowd and an even bigger European television audience watching. Even the home fans were stunned.

AJ: A few ways to look at it! The biggest relief was West Brom away when Pablo scored the second in front of us in the away end - we knew we had our first three points of the season after two nasty defeats. The most celebrated was Nathan Dyer's header against Cardiff, while the sexiest was de Guzman's against Norwich: Bony's back heel to set up the delicate chip from our Canadian Filipino Dutch international!

GT: You can't really look much further than THAT goal by Shelvey, but there were many others I loved. Ben Davies' laser guided left foot volley away to West Brom is probably my next choice.

JC: I'm going with Jonathan de Guzman's brilliant free kick in Valencia.

CC: The first goal against Cardiff in February was brilliant - Hernandez's cutting pass through to Routledge who took it superbly.

Q5) With Swansea not in it for obvious reasons, who will you be supporting in the World Cup? And who's going to win it?

JP: South Korea or Ivory Coast for the Swansea connections. Probably South Korea as I enjoyed watching them play during the 2002 World Cup. I also went to watch them play against Japan during the Olympic Games at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and they play some attractive technical football.

AJ: The Ivory Coast - it's a long shot, but you never know. We made a promise to our next door neighbour [Bony - who lives next to Alec] that we would back him in Brazil and you never let the beast down with a promise!

GT: I'll be supporting the Ivory Coast and our human battleship Wilfried Bony (150/1 for tournament top goal scorer!). I think Brazil would be the safest bet to win but there are so many excellent players and teams it's hard to say. I just can't believe Tiendalli didn't get a call up!

JC: The United States and I'll consider it impressive if they get out of the group. The winners will be Argentina as this is where Lionel Messi shows why he is the best in the world.

CC: ITALIA! Of course I am supporting Italy and I reckon they are in with a good shout! I do have a bet on Ivory Coast too though - not just for Bony, but their team is full of potential match winners. Should be a great tournament!


Many thanks to the bloggers for their answers. We'll be back soon! In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for updates.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Blogger Q&A - Swansea City: Doomed?

With Swansea City now fully engaged in a relegation battle, we are checking in with the Forza Swansea bloggers to see what they believe the problem is and if Monk's the right man for the permanent role. Most importantly we decide if Swansea are Championship bound?

Here we go...

Q1) Honestly, are the Swans doomed this season? 

Alec Johnson: Not quite. We have the talent to see us through and Saturday's wake-up call should see the arrogant swagger knocked out of us. I expect a reaction and the graft with the craft to return, starting at Goodison.

Matthew Jacob: Of course not. There are nine games to go, 27 points to play for, Norwich and Villa to come at home - it's still in our hands.

Gavin Tucker: I don't think so. I won't accept that until it's a mathematical certainty anyway. The Swans are not doing it the easy way though, and it could get worse before it gets better. If we don't stay up with the squad we have then we won't have deserved to.

Jacob Cristobal: I don't think so. Have they regressed? Sure, if you call an injury to your best attacking option regression.

Chris Carra: As a general pessimist I would say it's looking more likely as the games go on. However, providing they can pull their fingers out, there's plenty of talent in the squad and points up for grabs to secure safety.

Q2) Who/what do you feel is to blame for the poor second half displays in recent games? 

AJ: Complacency and nothing else. Dominating teams for 45 minutes and believing we can do it again without the hard yards. Palace was exhaustion which is excusable, but the game against West Brom was pure arrogance.

MJ: Honestly? I saw absolutely nothing from the players second half against West Brom. I forgave them for the Palace performance on account of the fixture congestion, but no Swansea fan is going to overlook the frankly spineless offering we all had to endure last Saturday. Mulumbu ran unchallenged from the halfway line to score for goodness sake! Time to stand up and battle.

GT: I don't think you can blame any one person or action. No single Swansea player is completely innocent. We seem to have struggled to react during games to changes in opposition tactics. We need to better organise ourselves to prevent or at least limit the mistakes that are gifting the opposition goals.

JC: Honestly I still think this is just the crash from the high of last season, which has lingered on throughout the season. The injury to Michu eating up the first half of the campaign took away what was to be advertised of 'Michu and Bony: The Wonder Twins', torching the back of keeper's nets around the Premier League and Europe.

CC: I agree with the others. Arrogance and complacency are the main downfalls. Players believing they are going to finish mid-table with no effort. Hopefully the threat of relegation will spur them on to putting in better performances.

Q3) Is Monk right for Swansea at this point or would a more experienced manager be desirable? 

AJ: Too short a window to bring anybody in so we have to back our man. However he is clearly making some dodgy calls. Lita ahead of N'Gog is bonkers and this is not a time for friendly favours.

MJ: I would argue that were Laudrup still in charge I don't believe we would have beaten Cardiff and certainly would have been beaten at Stoke. The change had to happen - Gary Monk is on the receiving end of some very harsh criticism in my book. While I admit changes are coming too late in games at the moment, I believe he can get us over the line. Experience is a must in the summer.

GT: I think he's right for the short term. I don't feel that bringing a stranger to the squad and the club following Laudrup's departure would have worked at the late point in the season. If we stay up I think Monk should remain on the coaching staff but take a step back to possibly an assistant role as was Huw Jenkins' original plan. Appoint a manger with some experience for the new season and Monk can learn and assist them while completing his coaching badges.

JC: Garry Monk deserves to finish out the season whatever the result may be. I think he should also be on Huw's shortlist as one of the top three candidates for next season. As for the two other names... I'll get back to you on that.

CC: After the Cardiff game it just made complete sense, although that remains his only win. He needs to stay in charge until the end of the season, but it may be wise to move him to the coaching staff and look towards a shrewd tactician for next season.

Q4) Just in case the worst case scenario happens: what's the best thing about the Championship?

AJ: I cannot see any positives. Of course we would be one of the favourites to win it but we lose that decade of momentum and that cannot be disregarded. Our win ration would increase but I would take 38 battles against the big fellas any day!

MJ: Two games a week and the thrill of the chase of being promoted. I love the Premier League and I love being there, but I'm a Swansea City fan first, and if that means in the Championship so be it. I'll embrace it come what may. It isn't going to come to that though.

GT: Returning to 3pm Saturday kick-offs for one! Also, it's a proper, fairer league in the fact that there is no glass ceiling like in the Premier League where the best Swansea could realistically finish is around 8th. The Championship is a league you can win (if that makes sense)? Anyone can beat anyone and usually does!

JC: While I think Swansea will avoid relegation, if the worst happens... maybe ticket prices to matches will be cheaper? I don't know... Secondly, those promotion play-offs make for some dramatic finishes as seen with last year's take.

CC: I second Gav's comment - anyone can beat anyone! We'll also be able to have another South Wales derby, considering Cardiff will be there too. I'm sure this won't happen though.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Blogger Q&A - Five tough Swansea City questions

Swansea City are not enjoying their football at the moment. And we aren't enjoying watching.

But we've got great players, a good manager and a brilliant fan-base... so what's going wrong?! Myself, Alec, Gavin and Matt have shared our opinions on form, management, the derby and relegation in a very testing Blogger Q&A!

Q1: What are your thoughts on Swansea's recent form?

Alec Johnson: Frustrating. All the talent is there and the injured lads are back so we are running low on excuses. This is a stronger team than the past two seasons and they have to fight first and play second. They currently have this in the wrong order.

Gavin Tucker: It's not the results, it's the manner of the performances. I could accept our position if we had showed some fight, some passion or desire; but we are making some simple errors and failing tactically on a basic level. Poor preparation, a lack of concentration... it's hard to watch at times.

Matthew Jacob: I think we can all accept a dip in form if there’s passion in the performances. Quite frankly at present I’m not sure Laudrup knows what to change to improve results. Players are coming back from injury which will hopefully give us a timely boost in a massive run of games.

Chris Carra: It's disheartening. And it's, unfortunately, a vicious cycle - the poor performances feed fan negativity which feeds player negativity which results in more poor performances. The club need a few good displays (and wins!) strung together, because one positive performance in every five matches isn't going to cut it.

Q2: What's your view on Michael Laudrup's recent 'I'm not really bothered' attitude?

AJ: I’m not convinced that he’s not bothered - I believe that he is. His manner is consistently cool, win or lose. However, there are moments when passion needs to be delivered with a message. Now is one of those moments.

GT: The apparent lack of tactical preparation and some questionable team selection has raised concern. He's laid back - it's his nature and player management has never been his strong point. However, if just for his own reputation and future career in management, he needs to take action, rally for the battle ahead, motivate and help guide the team through this difficult period.

MJ: I can’t say I’m surprised by it. Laudrup has always come across as very laid back and if I’m being totally honest I’m not sure he’s ever really bonded with the fan base in the way that Brendan Rodgers did, or even Roberto Martinez. It hurt when they left the club but there was certainly a feeling of togetherness with those two in charge. That seems to have evaporated under Laudrup recently.

CC: Laudrup has really disappointed me in the last month or so. I don't agree that he needs to stand up and shout at every game - that's not his style - but he seems too casual at times, which probably rubs off on the players. I can't say I respect some of his recent team selections either.

Time to say goodbye?

Q3: Chico... have we had enough of him yet? Or does he have enough potential to justify his place in the squad?

AJ: This fella has too much passion, he’s off the scale! If only he could control it. However I would sell him in the summer.

GT: I still have faith in him. Although his dramatics against West Ham were embarrassing, he showed how good he can be against Fulham a few days earlier. We need more of that side of Chico. I think he needs some guidance, be it from Laudrup, a coach or Ashley Williams.

MJ: I thought Chico was excellent against Fulham and has put in a number of good performances since he joined the club. Then in almost the same instance he manages to embarrass us with his antics. And that’s what they are: embarrassing. I rate Chico, but please cut out the rolling around and the squealing.

CC: He's not the player he was last season that's for sure - too many mistakes and the play acting is getting a little embarrassing now. I think - like Gavin said - some mentoring would help him. I'd like to see him improve in the next few months otherwise he should go in the summer.

Q4: Who is going to win the South Wales derby on Saturday? 

AJ: Fine lines will decide this one. Passion will play its part but it is the moment for talent and composure and no doubt we are the better team. For us it’s about tempo and for them set pieces.

GT: Swansea. We have a point to prove. They might think it will be easy but we will be up for this. As supporters I think we will need to be patient on the day and get behind the team whatever. We will have enough to break them down over 90 minutes. Emnes is bound to score!

MJ: I was at the West Ham game - if we turn up and put in a similar performance we’ll be humiliated at home. It’s time to stand up and fight back. I’m going for 2-1 Swansea.

CC: A month ago I'd have said Swansea, but I'm less sure as the days go by. Cardiff - despite their table position - seem to have a few players that could hurt us. However, if the crowd at the Liberty play their part and the team actually show some passion for a change Swansea will win.

Q5: And finally... will Swansea get relegated?! 

AJ: Honestly, no. Michu and Vorm returning at the crucial stage of the season will make the difference.

GT: No. Looking at the remaining fixtures and current form it will be tough and we may struggle to get to 40 points, but so will quite a few other teams. Ultimately I feel we will scrape together enough points to finish 15th-17th

MJ: No. Though I think there are members of the squad who could do with reminding we’re not "too good to go down". We’re in a scrap, so it’s time to roll up our sleeves and dig in.

CC: No, but it may be a close call. Fulham and Cardiff will probably be relegated and there are other teams that should fill the final doomed position. However, like the others say, Swansea really need to play well now. A few wins and we're back in the top 10. A few losses and it could be "hello Championship..."


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Wednesday 1 January 2014

Blogger Q&A - The Transfer Window (or "Vazquez is this season's Shechter")

It's that time of year again! The Christmas tree is being taken down, the hangovers are settling in and football managers are making changes to their squads - it's the transfer window!

And what better way to judge what kind of action Swansea City need to take than by a quick-fire Q&A with the ForzaSwansea bloggers. I've set three questions and we all have a go at answering them:

Chris's dream signing - Juve's "atomic ant" Sebastian Giovinco

Q1: What kind of player do Swansea really need to sign this January?

Alec Johnson: We need a nuisance with a creative edge - somebody to pop around the final third and wander into the gaps. A young player without fear to add the same edge that Borini and Siggi did.

Gavin Tucker: Firstly - an option that would cost Swansea nothing - I'd like to see Ki return. His consistency at maintaining possession in the middle of the park would surely be of value to our heavily rotated squad. As signings go, a pacy winger who can beat a defender, delivering an early, accurate cross or reaching the by-line and cutting it back for Bony or Michu would give an added dimension.

Jacob Cristobal: We need a striker!

Jules Price: Ideally another striker and a wide player. Unfortunately, Laudrup seems to have his favourites and this has meant limited time for Routledge this season. However I'm intrigued by the possibility of Luis Alberto being linked to Swansea. Judging by the reaction of some Liverpool fans, they really don't want to see him leave Anfield.

Chris Carra: Where do I start... a striker is vital as Vazquez is not much use and if Bony gets injured we are pretty much buggered. Elsewhere another assured goalkeeper could be a good investment. Anyone with some quality that we can get our hands on as the squad is suffering from so many games.

Gavin's dream signing - Alfred Finnbogason

Q2: Your super-cool Swansea City dream signing?

AJ: Cesc Fabregas. He would slot right in and add 20 extra goals together with a corner that beats the first man.

GT: Icelandic striker Alfred Finnbogason. 17 goals from 15 games so far this season, the 24-year-old currently plays under Marco Van Basten at Dutch side SC Heerenveen. A product of the youth team of Breidablik playing alongside Gylfi Sigurdsson and a recent transfer target of Celtic. He is available for around £5 million and would offer a quality alternative up top to Bony.

JC: Alvaro Morata - this kid is going to be special!

JP: I would like us to sign a big-name player who has played at the highest level but may be slightly passed his very best. Such a signing could lift the team and certainly the supporters. Just look at how well former Swans target Marcos Senna has done for the New York Cosmos this season. Del Piero is still a hero of mine and fits the bill nicely, however I think Falcao of Monaco would suit Swansea and Swansea would suit him.

CC: I always say someone Italian and 2014 isn't going to be a change of habit... I would love to see someone like Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus and Italy) who would offer a completely different attacking threat to Bony. He's tiny, fast and could change a game when needed (which is quite often with Swansea if we're being honest!)

Q3: Who wouldn't you really miss if the Swans let them go? 

AJ: Vazquez has offered nothing more than giving Bony a rest for parts of a game - he's nowhere near good enough for this level.

GT: Tiendalli - he just doesn't seem up to the job that Laudrup is asking of him. When he pushes up in support it's usually too slowly, and once he does he usually fails to track back if the move breaks down. I'd like to see him go, but in reality nobody paying attention would buy him.


JP: Dare I say it but would we miss Tate or Monk if they left the club? It is quite apparent these two players will not see any first team action while Laudrup is in charge. You only had to look at the body language between Laudrup and Monk at Wembley in February to see there isn't a close relationship between them.

CC: Vazquez isn't great - he's basically this season's Itay Shechter (or is that too harsh?). Either way he is giving the illusion that we have a qualified striker on the bench when we really need someone more capable of scoring on demand.


So there we go, that's the ForzaSwansea blogger's opinions on the transfer window. What are your thoughts? Who should we get rid of and who should we grab with both hands? Let us know in the comments box below (just leave your name and write a comment - simple!) or via our new Facebook page.