Swansea City “reluctantly” parted company with manager Garry Monk on Wednesday but must regroup ahead of a daunting trip to face Manchester City in the Premier League.
Monk had become part of the furniture in south Wales, joining as a player in 2004 before succeeding Roberto Martinez as captain and eventually following in the Spaniard’s footsteps by managing the club.
However, a run of one victory in 11 league matches prompted the Swansea board to take action, bringing the curtain down on the former defender’s 11-year involvement with the club.
With assistant manager Pep Clotet and coaches James Beattie and Kristian O’Leary – himself a long-serving player with the club – having also departed the Liberty Stadium, it remains unclear who will be at the helm for Saturday’s fixture.
First-team coach Alan Curtis looks most likely to take caretaker charge – a role he last played in 2004 following the departure of Brian Flynn, with Swansea then playing in the fourth tier of English football.
Curtis’ first game in charge on that occasion ended in a 4-2 victory over Scunthorpe United, but an away day at City in the top flight promises to provide a much sterner test of his leadership skills.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League as Group D winners thanks to a 4-2 victory over Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday and will be keen to bounce back from last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Stoke City.
This is a fixture in which City have traditionally flourished, scoring 10 goals and conceding just one in the four meetings on home soil since Swansea were promoted to the Premier League in 2011.
Sergio Aguero scored his first goal in English football in the first of those meetings, while Swansea’s solitary strike at the Etihad came in a 2-1 defeat last season courtesy of Wilfried Bony – now plying his trade for City.
Aguero appears likely to miss this weekend’s fixture as he struggles with a heel problem, while captain Vincent Kompany (calf) and Pablo Zabaleta (knee) are injury doubts.
A 3-0 defeat to league leaders Leicester City last weekend proved to be the final nail in Monk’s coffin and a 2-1 win at Aston Villa in October represents their only Premier League victory since August.
Eder missed the Leicester match with an ankle injury but Swansea face no fresh fitness concerns, although Jonjo Shelvey will be eager to feature having been omitted from the matchday squad last time out.
Key Opta stats:
– Manuel Pellegrini’s side have won 13 and lost two of their last 15 Premier League home games.
– Swansea have won just one of their last eight Premier League away outings (W1 D2 L5).
– Wilfried Bony has scored four goals in the last three Premier League meetings between Manchester City and Swansea, three for the Welsh side and one in the last meeting as a City player.
– Yaya Toure has scored four goals in the last three league meetings between Man City and Swansea.
– Swansea have failed to score in seven of their last 11 Premier League games, including four of their last five.
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