Preview: Norwich v Swansea

Why is Gomis always offside? Did Monk really miss training? Can either of these teams actually manage to win a game? Dan Brigham asks SOS Fanzine editor Steven Carroll for the Swansea briefing  

Dan: Hi Steven. Thanks for joining us. So Saturday sees a match-up between two sides pretty desperate for a win. Norwich haven't won in six games in the league and Swansea have only won one in their last six.

After a decent start to the season, things don’t seem to have gone so well for Swansea recently. On the pitch you're not getting the results and off the pitch Garry Monk has been accused in the media of missing training. So what's going wrong – and are you starting to worry?

Steven: I'm hoping we're on an upward curve now. We had a poor spell where we were particularly bad at Watford and Southampton and at home to Stoke but we played better as Aston Villa in the second half and went onto to claim an important win. Last weekend against Arsenal we were the better team in the first half but unfortunately the one really good chance we had with Bafétimbi Gomis didn't result in a goal. We paid the price then for some poor defending in the second half but 0-3 wasn't a fair reflection of the game. So I'm not too concerned at the moment although if we hadn't had that win at Villa I would be starting to worry a bit.

As for the Garry Monk missing training story that was incompetent journalism. The club posted a picture of him taking training that day shortly after the story broke so nothing in that at all. 

Dan: What do you think has caused the problems over the last couple of months? From the outside it seems that you've struggled to replace Wilfried Bony (which was always going to be a tough ask), while your defence hasn't been quite as solid as it usually is under Monk. Would they be the main concerns, or have there been problems elsewhere?

Steven: It's difficult to understand why performance levels dipped in all honesty. Scoring goals has been a bit of a problem and Gomis has no goals since August while only him and André Ayew have scored from open play in the league, which is more disturbing. I think the main problem was that in every game at least a couple of players were not playing well and it has impacted on the rest of the team. Defensively we have conceded a few poor goals as well. I'm just hoping we're now on an upward curve. 

Dan: Why has Gomis been struggling for goals? Do you think he's good enough to be your no.1 striker in the Premier League?

Steven: His inability to stay onside isn’t helping. He's been caught out 26 times in 11 games which is absurd. The frustrating thing is he's a good player when on form – he scored in each of our first four league games but has none since then. He's good enough to be number one but needs better competition to challenge him. Éder is the back up to him and given his lack of action so far it suggests Monk doesn't have confidence in him to do better than Gomis at this stage.

Dan: Tell us a bit about how Swansea's players may have changed since Norwich's last meeting. Have you made many recent signings, and where are the main threats likely to come from on Saturday?

Steven: Since our last meeting there have been considerable changes to our squad. Over a dozen have come and gone and I would have to stay that the majority of the players that have come in are better than the one's we let go. For example Łukasz Fabiański is a considerable upgrade on Michel Vorm in goal, with the big difference being that he commands his area a lot more than the Dutchman.

We are still a team that likes to be on the front foot but we sometimes don't have as much possession as we have in the past. As for the threats, Ayew is the main one –he's been our best player so far this term. He plays on the right of the 4-2-3-1 but likes to get into the box as often as possible, as you'll have noticed if you've seen his five goals for us so far. Gomis is a threat if he can stay onside, Jonjo Shelvey has shown some flashes of brilliance and on his day can be our best player while Gylfi Sigurdsson has also shown signs of improvement over the last couple of weeks after a slow start to the campaign.

Dan: Ah yes, it's so easy to like Swansea. And then you remember Shelvey plays for them...

So strong keeper and a strong attacking midfield. And Ashley Williams has been superb for a good while now in defence. So where are Swansea's weaknesses that Norwich will be looking to exploit?

Steven: Set-pieces at both ends: we never score from them and are always prone to concede as we did for Arsenal's first on Saturday. One of the other things we don't like is when the opposition put everyone behind the ball as Watford and Stoke did recently; we were dreadful in both of those games so if you score first and do that you'd have a good chance of victory.

Dan: We've had the same problem with set-pieces, so it could be an interesting afternoon of both teams trying their best to concede from corners and free-kicks.

Interesting you mention struggling against teams who put everyone behind the ball as, although that's what Norwich did at Manchester City, that's not Alex Neil's style - expect us to play high up the pitch and attack.

Have you had a chance to see much of Norwich? Is this a game Swansea fans expect to see their team win?

Steven: I've only seen Norwich live once this term – the Newcastle game in which you defended poorly but were still unlucky to lose 6-2. That game was a bit of a fluke though I think. From the highlights I've seen you've looked decent and I think you've got enough to stay up. 

Some of our fans may expect victory but I would be happy with a draw. We don't have a great record at Carrow Road and it's important to not lose two in a row so a point would be a good return in my opinion.

Dan: Let's finish things off with your predicted starting XI and score prediction for Saturday. 

Steven: Fabiański; Rangel, Williams, Fernández, Taylor; Ki, Shelvey; Ayew, Sigurdsson, Montero; Gomis and I'll say 1-1.

Dan: Thanks Steven. I’m going for a 2-1 win for Norwich – I think we played with confidence against Everton and Man City and against a side struggling for results I think we’ll have just too much.

You can follow Steven Carroll on Twitter at @StevenSOS1987 and visit his Swansea Oh Swansea fanzine at sosfanzine.com