You have to give credit to manager Garry Monk. Swansea haven't had much to play for in terms of silverware or survival for some weeks now, yet Monk has found ways to keep his side motivated. Crystal Palace's Alan Pardew has even suggested that Monk ought to follow Jose Mourinho in consideration for manager of the year honours. Mourinho will almost certainly scoop that award, but Swansea's man has still had a season to celebrate; in fact, there's almost a danger he'll set the bar too high to top...
As we approach the midway point of the 2014-15 Premier League season, it's time to have a look back at the campaign so far. We asked our ESPN FC bloggers to tackle seven questions on their sides. Who's your side's unlikely hero and who has work to do?
Premier League Report Card
2. Your Season So Far -- In A Sentence
5. Surprise Star
6. Must Do Better
7. Great Expectations
Each team's grade for the season so far is below -- click on the team name for a comprehensive summary.
LIVERPOOL, England -- A trio of observations from Liverpool's 2-1 win vs. Swansea in the Capital One Cup fourth round.
1. Balotelli finally delivers
When Mario Balotelli jogged onto the Anfield pitch in the 79th minute, Liverpool were going out of the Capital One Cup and were exiting without a whimper. Indeed, for the second time in three seasons, Brendan Rodgers faced the prospect of elimination by former club Swansea.
Yet one of the benefits of having an unpredictable character is that his impulsive,...
Swansea picked exactly the right time to break a five game winless streak. After Saturday's 2-0 victory over Leicester, the Swans will face Everton, Arsenal and Manchester City with only a cup game for relief -- and that's against Liverpool.
Saturday's opposition might not have been as challenging, but the Swans win was nevertheless the result of renewed focus, concentration and confidence. Here are three talking points from the match:
Montero shines in first start
Garry Monk finally made the change...
Last week's post-match tirade from Garry Monk might have generated a few more headlines had the midweek Champions League matches not been so interesting. As things stand, most of the fuss Monk made about referee bias and cheating players has died down; Monk has been given until Oct. 27 to "respond" to the FA, which presumably means "apologise to the FA" or at least soften his position, which the Swans boss has adamantly stated he will not do.
In the meantime, the season marches on. Saturday's...
It's refreshing to see a manager speak his mind. Mark Hughes criticised Garry Monk's post-game rant following Stoke's 2-1 victory over Swansea but at least Monk's tirade will force the FA to think about his comments. The price of 'professionalism' -- when managers play it safe and talk around controversial issues instead of addressing them directly -- is that those issues are then conveniently ignored and left for another team to suffer on another day.
Monk does have a point. Swansea's penalty...