When it comes to who will be voted Manager of the Season in this year’s top flight, there will be the obvious contenders.
Jose Mourinho will of course, be the overwhelming favourite. He looks sure to lead his Chelsea team to the title. A title that appears will be won at an absolute canter.
Southampton’s Ronald Koeman will also, surely be close to winning the prize. He has produced a startlingly good season on the South Coast, still on the coat tails of the Champions League as we approach the final weeks of the season.
However, a manager who seems destined to lead his side no higher than 8th, should be the man receiving the gong come May.
Garry Monk’s appointment in South Wales was met with scepticism. A fantastic servant to the club, but following Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup, he was seen as a step in the wrong direction. Many Swans feared the worse. With a manager with next to no experience, would their Premier League adventure be coming to an end?
His first game, was arguably the perfect one for Monk. Not a lot would need to be said to his players before they took on Cardiff, the raw emotion and the passion of the fixture could do most of the work. It did. Monk’s side trounced their dearest rival 3-0.
Premier League survival was clinched on the penultimate day of last season, something that many pundits believed would not be achieved under the inexperienced former captain. He was rewarded with a three-year contract and given the long-term backing of the club’s Chairman Huw Jenkins.
Last summer saw the Swans lose two major players. Michel Vorm, who had been sensational for the club in goal, and Ben Davies, the young full-back, both made the move to north London and White Hart Lane.
Monk recruited cleverly, acquiring players with English experience, Lukasz Fabianksi was purchased to start in goal and vitally, Gylfi Sigurðsson. The man who had previously been at the Liberty Stadium and one that would again become integral for Monk’s Swansea.
The first game of Monk’s first full season could scarcely have gone better in his wildest dreams. Beating van Gaal’s, Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Through the goals of Wilfried Bony and the craft of Jonjo Shelvey and Sigurðsson, Swansea were enjoying almost a perfect season until January. Then, as we know, Bony would be prized away by Champions Man City.
Following the striker’s sale, and a heavy defeat by Chelsea, questions were again asked of Swansea and their manager.
Had they finally been found out?
Would the late season slide now happen?
However, five wins in the last eight, have, again, confounded the critics. Another win over United and a win over high flying Southampton were particular highlights.
Their recent victory over, in form, Aston Villa, sets them up to finish in a really respectable, or incredible, league position.
Through all the adversity of losing so many top players, including their undoubted superstar in Bony, Swansea have continued to defy the odds and their critics. As has their manager, an appointment met with apathy is now beginning to look a masterstroke.
If the Welsh side can finish strongly, not only will they achieve their record points total, but the August Manager of the Month, may be picking up an even bigger individual award.