Swansea City have had a tumultuous year to say the least. The team had a great August, drawing against Chelsea and finishing the month with no losses. The attacking combination of Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis looked promising, especially after the latter bagged four goals in the first four matches, and Ayew hit the net three times during the month of August.
At this stage, manager Garry Monk was being cast as the next big British international manager and the Liberty Stadium was rocking day and night. Then, suddenly, a major dip in form, as Monk was fired and the club hired ex-Udinese manager Francesco Guidolin to bring up the Swans from the relegation zone.
The transfer window saw midfield talisman Jonjo Shelvey leave for Newcastle United, with striker Alberto Paloschi and English midfielder Leroy Fer the only arrivals for the new manager to begin the ascent out of danger.
Guidolin’s pressing defense and pass-and-move offensive attack, however, has allowed one player for Swansea to hit his full potential and really shine under the bright lights of South Wales: Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Change in formation helps attack
The biggest key to Sigurdsson’s recent success had been the switch to a diamond in midfield and placing two strikers up top. Sigurdsson is allotted much more space in the opponent’s final third as the pressing of Paloschi and Wayne Routledge moves the Swans further up the pitch. The added space can allow Sigurdsson to exercise caution and think through his moves since the opponent’s center-backs are busy defending against a pass into the box.
Another element of Sigurdsson’s game that has shone under Guidolin has been his shooting ability. In the two recent matches against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace, Sigurdsson took nine shots and played two excellent diagonal balls to Paloschi that, unfortunately for the Swansea fans, didn't result in a goal. Furthermore, Sigurdsson’s five goals in six games is his best run at Swansea and if not for some breakdowns on set pieces, the squad might be looking at a better position in the table.
Sign of things to come?
This recent boost of form is exciting for Swansea fans thinking about next year. Assuming the club places above the relegation zone, the system Guidolin is planning on executing during his time here will bring in a host of new talent for Sigurdsson to benefit.
The Paloschi signing looks to bring some offensive balance to the squad; his ability to run in behind the defense and execute in the box was the reason behind his success at Chievo Verona and will hopefully continue at Swansea.
Other key positions such as central midfield and the full-backs will be looked over in the market, but one thing is for certain: one position that should remain exactly the same is the attacking midfield, as Sigurdsson has started to really excel under Guidolin's tutelage.