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Arresting Swansea’s winless run is crucial to the development of emerging Monk

19 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Arresting Swansea’s winless run is crucial to the development of emerging Monk

The 36-year-old's side welcome Mark Hughes' Stoke to the Liberty Stadium on Monday aiming for their first win in five Premier League games

If his tactical intelligence in the victory against Manchester United confirmed him as a potential England manager, then the last six weeks have been a gentle reminder that Garry Monk still has much to learn.

That, naturally, is unsurprising for a 36-year-old who has only ever taken charge of 70 games.

But for the Welsh side to enjoy a season to rival last year’s eighth-place finish with a record-points tally of 56, they must arrest their four-game winless run – comprised of two draws and two defeats – quickly.

Monk will realise the visit of Stoke City on Monday is the ideal opportunity for his players to claim three points for the first time since that 2-1 win over United in August.

Swansea’s record against the Potters is excellent, having never lost in four Premier League meetings at the Liberty Stadium.

The most recent ended 2-0 and a repeat of that result is 15/2.

For that to happen again, though, the side that remain unbeaten at home following the 2-2 against Tottenham last time out require striker Bafetimbi Gomis to end his mini-drought.

The Frenchman has not found the net since hitting the winner against Louis van Gaal’s side in August and it is no coincidence that the team’s modest results have coincided with that run.

But the four goals Gomis struck in his first four matches of the season demonstrates that he is capable and the 30-year-old is 15/2 to score first in a win for the home side.

It is Stoke, though, who are the team in superior form.

And like Monk, Mark Hughes was the division’s up-and-coming manager once.

But while he is unlikely to ever manage a club with the resources and potential of Manchester City again, his work at Stoke has reaffirmed his position as one of the top flight’s better bosses.

Achieving two consecutive ninth-place finishes – their highest since 1975 – while adopting a more stylish way of playing has enabled the former Wales boss to recruit stellar names to the Britannia.

And after a sluggish start to the campaign where the club failed to win any of their first six games, Hughes’ side have won their last two fixtures.

Their latest victory was at Aston Villa prior to the international break and they are 13/4 to register back-to-back away wins for the first time since December 2011.

Despite boasting glamorous talents such as Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay and the fit-again Bojan, the player likely to make the difference in the absence of Mame Biram Diouf is Marko Arnautovic.

Both of Arnautovic’s goals have come away from home this season – including grabbing the winner at Villa Park – and the talented Austrian forward is 4/1 to score at any time.

Little separates the two sides – Swansea were two points ahead last season and are currently one this – so the wiliness of in-form Stoke – an attribute Hughes was renowned for as a player – could be decisive.

But these are the challenges Monk must overcome.

As his opposite number knows from experience, doing so is what will help him develop from an emerging manager into an excellent one.

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