Swansea have had a bit of an up and down season. Garry Monk has added a directness to his team this year, and they’ve recorded a few good wins as a result. Last season they were involved in a bit of a relegation battle – though they never really looked like going down, especially not after Monk got the job. And this season they sit 10 points behind Tottenham and Southampton above them, and 18 points above the drop zone – smack bang in mid table.
Losing Wilfried Bony, their top scorer, doesn’t seem to have affected their form too much as they’re still losing the games you’d expect them to lose, and winning the games you’d expect them to win.
For the first half of the season, Gomis had been playing second fiddle to Bony. The French international hadn’t managed to score many goals for the club, and wasn’t getting the game time he felt he deserved. The BBC even reported that he told French TV that he was considering leaving if he didn’t start playing soon.
But Monk hasn’t lost faith in him, and he may be about to reap the rewards.
Gomis’ latest appearance on the scoresheet was the only goal of the game, coming right at the end of the match at the weekend against Aston Villa. If he can come up with more goals as important as that strike, then Swansea might progress even further next season.
Without Bony, the Swans were tipped to struggle, but Gomis might actually be the perfect replacement.
One of the reasons he was Bony’s deputy is simply that they can’t really play in the same side. They are both big, strong men who lead the line well, they are both agile and direct, and crucially they both have a keen eye for goal – they are finishers.
Bony has been hot property for a while, and perhaps it was the plan all along to let him go. Gomis was brought in over the summer as backup, but maybe it was expected that he would be the man to replace the big Ivorian. Maybe they even planned to let him go in January, when the big guns of the Premier League are worried that their current squad won’t win them the title, and are prepared to shell out over the odds for a proven Premier League striker. That’s exactly what Bony is, and that’s exactly what City have done.
Maybe it wasn’t quite as calculated as that, but I wouldn’t put it past Huw Jenkins. The Swansea chairman has made great decision after great decision in his time at the helm of the Welsh club, and now they might be without Bony, but they have a ready-made replacement and a reported £28million in the bank.
Usually losing your best player means you need to change your style of play, even the best teams with their array of talent can’t always replace their stars – City wouldn’t have their power if they lost Toure, Liverpool their pace without Sterling or Sturridge, and when Mourinho came back to Chelsea he played a much different style of football, thus leaving a certain Juan Mata out of the team.
But Swansea don’t look like they’ll miss Bony all that much. They have the same setup as before, and they will play in the same way, and if Gomis starts to fire in the same way as Bony, Swansea will just continue their progression up the Premier League.
In fact, when the Swans lost Roberto Martinez they didn’t lose their momentum, instead they brought in Paulo Sousa who took them even further. When they lost him, neither did they lose forward momentum either, Brendan Rodgers brought them to the Premier League. Nor did they lose it when Brendan Rodgers had his head turned by Liverpool – they’re still a top division club and they’re still going in the right direction.
It doesn’t look like they’ll lose it now that Bony has left either.