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Swansea City - once a model club, now a crisis club

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In a season of many logic-defying, heart-stopping stories, the recent decline of Swansea City remains off the radar. Alongside Leicester City's title aspirations and Chelsea's relegation scrap, perhaps nothing sums up this chaotic season better than events at the Liberty Stadium.

Eight season after dramatically clinging on to their Football League status with a final day 4-2 win over Hull City, Swansea had reached the Premier League. With a new stadium and a series of shrewd managerial appointments - Kenny Jackett, Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa, Brendan Rodgers - chairman Huw Jenkins was key to the methodical, miraculous rise.

Capital One Cup winners in 2013, they had secured European football. Swansea really were the poster child to sides planning a multi-division rise, like Eddie Howe's Bournemouth. Even when eyebrows were raised when replacing Michael Laudrup with novice Garry Monk, it still seemed to be an inspired choice. Swansea City - a model club.

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Monk and co began this season harbouring ambitions of a top eight finish. The impressive capture of Marseille's Andre Ayew, to go alongside Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jonjo Shelvey, Ashley Williams and Bafetimbi Gomis, gave the Swans a strong squad. And the season started so well for them.

A 2-2 draw at champions Chelsea was followed by comfortable home wins over Newcastle and Manchester United. Swansea were fantastic, continuing their upward trend under a young, English, hard-working, diligent manager. Then it suddenly went wrong.

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There was no real talk of bust-ups but it was suggested that players were unhappy with the tactics of assistant Pep Clotet, whilst regular double training sessions drained both the players and manager. Their playing style evolved from easy-on-the-eye carpet football to intense, resolute methods. Star striker Wilfried Bony wasn't replaced after his £28 million departure to Manchester City, with Bafetimbi Gomis' strong start to the season simply a purple patch. They were soon down to 15th in the table.

Swansea City v Leicester City - Premier League

Monk's sacking

One win in 13 led Monk to the sack in December - from potential England coach to unemployed in a matter of months. And Swansea, a careful club who always knew their next move, suddenly found themselves in panic mode. A failed chase for Marcelo Bielsa meant that first-team coach Alan Curtis was made interim manager until the summer, contradicted on Monday with the appointment of Francesco Guidolin.

A club statement confusingly said: "He will work alongside interim manager Alan Curtis until the end of the season, although Guidolin will have the final say on team selection." So who is actually in charge? Amongst this mess is the baffling sale of Jonjo Shelvey to fellow relegation-strugglers Newcastle United and the ridiculous rumour that star man Andre Ayew, who has already scored seven goals, could be sold to 19th-placed Sunderland.

At any other time, the Ayew rumours would be ridiculed but now, who honestly knows? Have Sunderland been given encouragement to keep bidding? Jefferson Montero was linked with a £10 million move to Watford. It's almost as if Swansea are trying to get relegated by selling their best players at the most pivotal time. It just makes no sense.

Optimism

On a positive note, Monday night's win against the Hornets took Swansea back out of the relegation zone. It was an encouraging performance that will give fans hope that a corner has been turned. But it should never have come to this. What was once a progressive club are now battling to stay in the Premier League. If they don't sell Ayew or Montero, maybe they will.

Swansea fans - why have the wheels come off this season? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Topics:
Garry Monk
Brendan Rodgers
Premier League
Football
Swansea City

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