A Review of 2015: Part Three
31st December 2015
As 2015 draws to a close, it's time to reflect on another 12 months here at Swansea City.
In the third of a three-part special, we look back at the first half of the 2015-16 campaign...
When the fixtures were released back in June, the computer couldn't have handed Swansea a tougher start than a trip to reigning Premier League champions Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho's side - who lost just three games on the way to winning the title in 2014-15 - were many pundits' tips to retain their crown when the campaign got underway on August 8.
However, the Swans turned on the style in front of the live Sky cameras and got their season off to a hugely positive start.
Despite going behind to Willian's goal, the visitors hit back with Andre Ayew scoring his first goal for the club before the home side fortuitously regained their lead following an unfortunate own goal from Federico Fernandez.
But the second half belonged to Swansea and after Thibaut Courtois brought down Bafe Gomis in the box, the goalkeeper was shown a straight red card and the French striker stepped up to score from the spot to make it 2-2.
The Swans had chances to win it after that but they had to settle for a draw at Stamford Bridge in what was an impressive start to the campaign.
A first league win followed against Newcastle at the Liberty as goals from Ayew and Gomis earned a comfortable 2-0 win, before a draw at Sunderland was followed by a third-straight victory over Manchester United; Ayew and Gomis again finding the net as the Swans soared to fourth in the Premier League table.
However, as good as August was, the first international break of the season coincided with a dip in form for the Swans as they started to slip down the table.
A winless September saw defeats against Watford and Southampton - as well as a Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Championship side Hull - but there was renewed hope with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Everton at the Liberty.
There was to be just one victory in October - a 2-1 success at Aston Villa - but further home defeats against Stoke and Arsenal meant that the Swans arrived in November on the back of just one win in eight matches.
Narrow defeats to Liverpool and Norwich were sandwiched either side of a 2-2 home draw against Bournemouth as the Swans came from two goals down to earn a point against Eddie Howe's side.
But as December began, a 3-0 home defeat to high-flying Leicester saw the Swans slip to 15th place and just two points above the bottom three.
That defeat was also significant in that it marked the end of Garry Monk's tenure as Swansea City manager, with Monk being relieved of his duties along with three members of his coaching team.
Club stalwart Alan Curtis was placed in caretaker charge and Swansea looked on course for an impressive draw at Manchester City in his first game but a deflected stoppage-time strike broke the visitors' hearts.
But a 0-0 home draw against West Ham marked the beginning of a three-game unbeaten run - which included a crucial home win against West Brom on Boxing Day - as the Swans hauled themselves out of the relegation zone.
So as 2015 comes to an end, 2016 begins with a trip to Manchester United on Saturday (January 2) as Swansea City begin what could be their most important five months of their Premier League tenure.
You can share your own memories of 2015 on Twitter by using the hashtag #Swans2015
READ MORE . . .
- Curt urges Swans to "be bold
- A Review of 2015: Part One
- A Review of 2015: Part Two
- VIDEO: Today at training