Bournemouth-Swansea City Preview
Manager Garry Monk and misfiring striker Bafetimbi Gomis look to assuage doubts for Swansea City supporters on Saturday when relegation fodder Bournemouth come calling to the Liberty Stadium.
Monk has hit out at reports that he will be sacked if Swansea City come away with anything less than three points against the Premier League newboys. The Swans have one win in their last eight league fixtures and sit in 14th place.
"You're always working to results, that's the be-all, end-all is the results. If you're not getting results, it obviously creates pressure," Monk said at his pre-match news conference. "In terms of my relationship with the club and the situation that we're in, of course I'm well aware of it and things need to improve, but the chairman, the fans, the club itself, we've always had a good unity, stuck together and been very supportive."
The boss could not hide his disappointment after a 1-0 defeat at Carrow Road to Norwich City on Nov. 7, in which the Swans did not register a shot on target though Monk insisted that his side had "total control" of the match thanks to 63 percent possession.
It's unclear who Monk will have available for selection with Jefferson Montero, Andre Ayew, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Ki Sung-Yueng, Jonjo Shelvey and Lukasz Fabianski all returning from internationals.
"We have work to do, we have to look, assess where we are in this break and really come back with the right approach and make sure that we start to pick up and that starts with the next game at home against Bournemouth," Monk said.
Gomis has no goals in eight straight league matches after recording one in each of the first four. Saturday will be an emotional occasion for the Frenchman since the Premier League will play France's national anthem ''La Marseillaise'' before every match this weekend in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
These sides both have produced 12 goals in 12 matches for the top-flight's joint fifth-worst attack. Still, Cherries boss Eddie Howe praised the style of the Swans ahead of this match.
"I have long been an admirer of Swansea's philosophy and how they play the game," Howe told Bournemouth's official website. "Their story very much mirrors ours in terms of their journey from League Two to the Premier League - they've done it in real style."
Bournemouth have dropped four on the trot and fallen to 18th place on eight points - two fewer than Newcastle United. The Magpies leapfrogged the Cherries with a 1-0 win at the Vitality Stadium on Nov. 7, despite a 20-2 advantage in total shots and 60 percent of possession.
"If we can match that performance and have better cutting edge then I am sure we stand a very good chance," Howe said.
The Cherries have picked up one point in the last five matches without Callum Wilson, who has five goals and likely to miss the entire season with a ruptured ACL. No other player on Bournemouth has scored more than twice.
Bournemouth also features a Frenchman in Sylvain Distin, who is in line for his 450th Premier League start which would set a record for an outfield player not from the United Kingdom.
"It's a huge testament to the way that Sylvain has looked after his body," Howe said. "I've not seen a better professional - everything he does is spot on, so full credit to him."