Swansea slump against rampant Leicester leaving Monk in firing line
Swansea City 0-3 Leicester
While Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri can look forward to testing his Premier League leaders against the top flight's "big dogs", Garry Monk stands on the brink of losing his job at Swansea after Saturday's 3-0 home defeat.
Their humbling by the in-form Foxes made it just one win in 11 Premier League games for the Welsh club, six points from a possible 33 and a drop to within two points of the relegation zone as the season approaches halfway.
Swansea were in the top four after beating Manchester United at the end of August, but their bewildering slump since has tested chairman Huw Jenkins and his board, who had no desire to sack a man who has served them so well as player and manager across 12 years.
Monk led the Swans to their best ever Premier League finish of eighth last season and was rewarded with a new three-year contract. Barely six months later, the men who handed him that deal are discussing ending his tenure before Saturday's testing trip to Manchester City.
David Moyes has already been heavily touted as Monk's possible successor, but it is believed there are reservations at the Liberty Stadium about the style of football Moyes deployed at Everton and Manchester United. Rangers manager Mark Warburton is seen as a more comfortable fit, having impressed with his work at Brentford and the way he launched the NextGen Series, a competition for Under-19 players. A remarkable move to bring former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers back to Swansea has not been ruled out either.
While Monk insists he is still the man to lead Swansea out of trouble, it is a decision no longer in his control. "Those who know me will know I will never walk away - never. No one knows the principles of the club more than myself and no one will fight harder than myself," he said. "Of course I am worried. It is not a good situation that we are in. People need to step up to the plate now. It is so frustrating. I don't know what more I can do. I am trying to find all the ways to make it better and produce."
About the only positive for Swansea on Saturday was that they managed to end Jamie Vardy's remarkable scoring sequence. Unfortunately for the home side Riyad Mahrez took the opportunity to score his first hat-trick on these shores as Leicester ripped their opponents to shreds.
The Foxes now sit two points clear at the top of the table before a four-game run which will provide the clearest indicator yet of their title credentials - games at home to Chelsea and Manchester City either side of successive trips to Everton and Liverpool.
"It is very important because I want to see how we play against big, big champions," Ranieri said. "We have to play very well to get through this period against the big dogs. It will tell us a lot.
"We made some mistakes against Swansea and if we make those mistakes again we will pay for them against the big teams. It is not important how the top sides see us; it is all about Leicester and continuing to improve. Sometimes you can improve in football and lose."
If Vardy and Mahrez, who between them have scored 24 of Leicester's 32 league goals this season, continue to fire, there is every chance Ranieri's men will keep pace with the head of the pack.