|In Jack Cork, Monk May Have a New Main Man|
Written by BarneyLW on Tuesday, 24th Mar 2015 06:52
For anyone who attended the Aston Villa game on Saturday, it had all the hallmarks of a fantastic away day. The most important factor being that Garry Monk's men came away with a win, despite it not being a fantastic game.
That said, the visitors played like teams need to play at times away from home. Tim Sherwood's side came into this game off the back of three wins, including a 2-0 win over West Brom, leading to a Wembley trip for the Villains in the F.A Cup semi-final. So going to Villa Park and coming away with anything would seem a tough task.
Yet it has been noted lately that the 4-4-1-1 system employed by Monk, operating with a midfield diamond has been successful. So much of Swansea's good play over the last few years has been centered around wing play, and sometimes a heavy and narrow and midfield suggests rigidness and toughness. But this is not necessarily the case. It would be tough to argue over the last few games that this new shape is fantastically suited to new signing, Jack Cork.
While the former Chelsea man was undoubtedly a steal at £3 million from Southampton in January, it was far from an essential signing. Ki and Britton have enjoyed successful seasons, and while Shelvey remains inconsistent, few would doubt his talent. But the holding midfielder has excelled in his early days at the Liberty Stadium and while no one will doubt the place of Leon Britton, Cork adds a new dimension to the Jacks' style of play.
Too often under old management were the team accused of playing pretty football, but often getting no reward for their efforts and having no back up plan. Well under Monk, who many claimed had little tactical knowledge has found a way for his side to retain their attractive football and still come away with results. Exemplified by yet another clean sheet for Fabianski.
We have seen a similar achievement at Arsenal, whereby their vast amounts of creative and attacking talent is counter balanced by Coquelin adopting that old notion of the 'Makelele' role, but nowadays these types of players need to be good on the ball too. Anyone at Villa, or anyone who watched the highlights will know that chance after chance was created from midfield, opposition attacks were often thwarted and despite Gomis' hecklers, the superb passing play led to the big Frenchman bagging a vital winning goal.
Although often, the holding midfielders are overlooked, with the attacking displays grabbing the headlines. Yet Monk has created a well drilled squad, typified by the new midfield anchor and the combination of style and substance.
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