It’s time to look at how the men in the middle of the park fared in 2015/16 today. Some excelled while others flattered to deceive!
Ki Sung Yeung
Our player of the year in 2014/5 has fallen from grace this term so much so that he hasn’t started a league game in months. The main concern with him has been that when it comes to a 50/50 he’ll bottle that challenge which is completely unacceptable. Last term he was often controlling games and his passing was usually spot on but both of these attributed have fallen by the way side this year as he’s failed to impose himself on games. He’s also only struck one goal compared to eight last term which is a huge drop which has not helped us pick up results. His days in south Wales could well be numbered.
Verdict – C
The son of our former manager Alan is one of the few players who comes out of this campaign with his reputation intact. This is a player who does a lot of the dirty work so the others can play. His positional sense and tackling ability are both very good and his work rate is second to none. If you want to be overly critical he has little to no impact offensively but then again that isn’t his primary position. If he does want to become the complete midfielder though, he will need to make a bigger impact at the other end of the pitch. But ultimately in a season that has been a struggle he has without doubt helped us remain in the league.
Quite why Garry Monk didn’t turn to the Swansea City legend earlier when we were struggling is a mystery. When things aren’t going well you can always rely on Leon. He has the knack of being in the right place at the tight time, his awareness of who is around him and ability to keep the ball make him indispensable when you are looking to control games. Admittedly time is catching up with him now and his influence may not be what it was but there is little doubt that moving him on last summer would have been a huge mistake. There’s life in the old dog yet and I expect him to do well again in 2016/7 when called upon.
Verdict – A
Many players started the season on fire, one of them was Shelvey. He seemed to have developed an understanding with Bafetimbi Gomis and it’s no coincidence that the Frenchman’s good form dried up when Shelvey became less influential. I can’t remember exactly what I said about the midfielder last year but it was probably something like “when his killer balls come off they’re brilliant but he needs to learn when to play them and when to keep it simple and needs to curb the rashness from his game.” I’m still saying the same thing now and the fact that he’s been on the bench for Newcastle lately shows they don’t trust him either. It looks like we had the better of the £12 million deal to sell him.
Verdict – C
The man signed to replace Shelvey has made a good impact since he arrived. It took him a while to get in the team but he made a telling contribution against Norwich with a great assist for Gylfi Sigurdsson for the game’s only goal. He’s more likely to stick the boot in than most of his midfield companions and his finest game was probably in the win over Chelsea. However he’s had the odd poor game, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Leicester spring to mind. I’d be wary about signing him permanently as I think once on a permanent deal he’d have less to prove and his performances would tail off.
Verdict – B