Monday, 15 December 2014

Swans 1 - Spurs 2 Match Stats

Even 24 hours later, this kind of result still feels like a kick in the nuts.  After neither the performance or the result against West Ham, at least against Spurs there were plenty of bright spots (in the middle 80 minutes at least).

Shot Chart - Affected by Spurs' early goal but little shot action in 1st half.  I was surprised that Swansea failed to have a shot in the last 20 minutes so maybe the nagging feeling I had that it wasn't going to end well was based on reality and not just pessimism
Ultimately it was a couple of basic errors that got punished and although there was some good build up play by Swansea in the second half, really big chances were a rarity.  I could spend an age dissecting this game but life's too short.

One thing I am confident of though is that at least once this season it'll all click for 90 minutes and we'll stick 5 past somebody.

If you haven't already, give the latest AI Analytics podcast a listen, Swans get a mention in the middle as possibly being in an inflated position given their overall stats this season.  I can't disagree with the numbers but overall I think our position is a fair one and due to the ability we've had generally to beat the 'poorer' teams in the league this season as well as generally keeping things tight (thanks in part to Fabianski who was missed yesterday).

Sunday, 7 December 2014

West Ham 3 - Swans 1 Stats and Chalkboards

I feel beaten up just watching that match so I don't know how the players must feel.  There was more to West Ham than just sticking it long to the big man but the certainly weren't afraid to be direct at times.

There seemed to be numerous occasions where Swansea seemed to give away soft free kicks (18 in total) and as a result had to pull everybody back deep to defend the long punt forward.  This meant Bony was spending an awful lot of time on the edge of his own box and even though he did a good defensive job it often made it difficult to gain any control of the ball.

Lots of free kicks conceded in non-threating areas but mean game stops for a minute or two as everyone moves to edge of the Swansea box for a long diagonal to be pumped in.  Bony often valuable in defence but  means difficult to get any flow in Swansea's game.
Swansea scored with their first shot of the game, after West Ham bossed the opening 15 minutes and the Swans then looked impressive for the next 15 minutes before West Ham ended the half well. After Fabianski's red, Swansea arguably had their best period of possession although to some extent we were lucky to keep it to just 3 conceded.
Shot Chart: Bursts of Activity from each side during the game
This certainly wasn't as bad as the performance at the Boleyn Ground last season but Monk calling it the first time the team having hit standards required is harsh but probably fair.

Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Swans 2 - QPR 0 Match Stats

It took a while but we got there in the end...Ultimately all you can do is look to put the performances in on a consistent basis and some days it'll come good like tonight and others like against Palace it doesn't quite come off.

Shots wise there was only 1 team in this game, although Fer did have a couple of chances (including one from a Barton free kick which he didn't seem fully committed to).
QPR with a couple of efforts at very start and end of first half but nothing in between.  Swans with a steady stream of efforts, although things did seem to be drying up shortly before Dyer's introduction
There's been the odd criticism of his defensive position a few times this season but I think Neil Taylor is starting to get back into his rhythm, especially going forward.  It was interesting to see how high up Taylor and Richards were with Ki almost playing as a 3rd centre back coming very deep to collect the ball.
Average Player Positions - via WhoScored.  An average over 90 minutes never tells the whole story but was interesting to see how high the full backs were
Swansea have now reached the 20 point mark after just 14 games, matching the performance of Laudrup's first season in 2012/13.  As a comparison it took 19 games in 2011/12 and 16 in 2013/14.  Sunday's game v West Ham is an intriguing one both in terms of matching 2 high flying teams but also is a return to the ground of Laudrup's last stand where the inability to deal with Andy Carroll and the lacklustre display was the final straw.

Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka

Monday, 1 December 2014

Swans 1 - Crystal Palace 1 Stats + QPR Preview

With 7 league games from now up to and including the return QPR fixture on New Years Day, there's a huge opportunity to get to 30 points and virtual safety by the time the 3rd round of the FA Cup comes along.

Games like QPR (and to a lesser extent Palace) are the kind where you'd hope to win but aren't going to be the kind of matches where you can just turn up and that's enough.

The first 20 minutes or so saw a range of great chances but only 1 goal for the Swans, where against Burnley earlier in the season, 1 was enough, thanks to Shelvey's challenge it was only good enough for a draw.
Shots over time: Swans starting very strongly but more even after first 20 min
Despite only gaining a point, there were a number of great chances created and if Gylfi and Bony are on form, we should have the ability to open up a 11 point cushion over QPR who at the weekend against Leicester took part in a game which had 51 shots, the most since Opta started collecting data in 2006.  QPR had 32 of these and in patches look a threat going forwards even if their defence looks wobbly.

That said, I'll be nervous each time Stephen Caulker comes up for a corner given what happened last season.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Man City 2 - Swans 1 Match Stats

This season has already seen wins against Man U and Arsenal along with scoring the opening goal away at both Chelsea and Man City which shows the level of ability in the side and sets a standard that needs to be kept up with a theoretically easier run of games to come in the next few weeks.

Man City may have had the majority of the shots but the start and end of the match saw plenty of attacking from Swansea with Gomis missing a great chance at the end to take home a point.
Shot Chart: only 3 attempts in total from both sides in the first 35 minutes
You may well by now have seen the stat that Bony has scored more premier league goals (17) than any other player in 2014.  He'll be missed during the Africa Cup of Nations, but I'm convinced it was something that put clubs off buying him in the summer so may be a blessing overall.

Tom Carrol had a good game and it's gutting to see that the only misplaced pass all game (he completed 38 of 39 passes) ended up with Man City scoring their winner.  Fabianski may have been beaten twice but his save from Clichy was top class.

I already thought we had a pretty quick wingers last season, but Montero and Barrow seem to have taken that to another level.  While results are obviously important, I think regardless of how scores finish it's going to be a fun and entertaining season and I don't think you can ask for much more than that.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Swans 2 - Arsenal 1 Stats and Chalkboards

With this win Swansea have now registered parity in Premier League games against Arsenal (3 Wins, 1 Draw, 3 Defeats), while most of the mainstream media will be focusing on Arsenal's demise, this was an excellent Swansea performance with Arsenal creating relatively little.

It was a sign of respect that Arsenal's approach seemed to have been to keep it tight and hope to nick a winner on the counter (this plan worked well in part thanks in part due to a terrible piece of control from Bony to start the counter attack).

Looking at the shot charts by time, Arsenal offered little until a flurry towards the end of the half (and again little after their goal until a few nervy moments at the end of the game).
Shots by Minute Chart - The level of response by Swansea following Arsenal's goal was impressive
Montero's monstering of Chambers was something that caught the eye right from the beginning, the seeming lack of willingness to change things from Arsenal was almost an act of cruelty.  Montero has now made 29 successful dribbles in the Premier League compared with 9 for Dyer and 11 for Routledge (if this was done on a per minute basis, the difference would be even bigger still given Jeff''s lower playing time).

It doesn't always work but gives the option of a more direct approach, Montero received 27 passes but passed only 16 times where the more usual approach would see Routledge/Dyer interact more with Sigurdsson.

As good as Montero's play was, I was particularly impressed by the support play of Neil Taylor who linked up really well with him (I'll gloss over his reckless yellow given the final score).

The other player who stood out for me was Ki, it's great to have Leon back but Ki's been doing a pretty decent job in his absence. I'm in the middle of reading 'The Nowhere Men' by Michael Calvin which talks about scouting and someone mentions dismissively Britton often getting 100% pass rate in that it's meaningless without context (which is true in part but for me misses the point).

As with Ki's pass map below, the point is not the difficulty of any pass, it's the ability to be in the right place to receive the ball in the first place and also the willingness to accept the ball in pressured positions.
Ki's Pass map, lot's of lateral passes, but quietly keeps things ticking over
You may not always want to repeatedly recycle the ball but having the ability to so so when it suits you is hugely advantageous.

7 points in 3 games has turned what was starting to look like a mini-wobble into a distant memory and gives everyone two weeks to enjoy the result and to face the Man City game with an air of anticipation rather than nervousness.

Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Everton 0 - Swansea 0 Stats and Psychoanalysis

Given the recent talk of American investment, if there's ever a rebrand, maybe the name will get changed to '10 man Swansea' as it seems to have been in use a lot so far this season.

I like Jonjo, pretty much everyone likes Jonjo but he really drives you crazy at times.  Even ignoring Saturday's red card there was an incident in the game at Leicester which I felt summed up the negative part of his psyche.

A Leicester play drove into the box and either stumbled (if you're being generous) or made a weak attempt at a dive, play then continued just outside the box and Jonjo couldn't resist having a dig, giving away a free kick in a dangerous area and standing over his opponent furious at what he felt was an attempt to con the ref.

I wrote about Jonjo in a match preview about a year ago which offers a casual psychoanalysis of someone I've never met:

Overall this was a great point even if it does maintain the stat that Swansea against Everton is the longest playing streak between two league times without a win which now stands at Swansea's 19 league games without beating Everton.

Although Bony's early chance was arguably the best opportunity of the game, shot wise Swansea offered relatively little with Roberto grumbling a bit that he expected a bit more of an open contest although to be fair to him he did praise the way Swansea defended.

Swansea with only 3 shots in the last 70 minutes and none after Shelvey's red.  There were a flurry of efforts from Everton immediately after the sending off and also within injury time, but it's impressive to see generally a flat line of Everton chances over the last 20 or so minutes of the game.  
5 Clean sheets in 10 league games is something to be proud of but at the other end having around half as many corners as any other side and only Villa having fewer shots per game are things that might cause a little concern, although given we're 6th after 10 games I'm not going to get too worked up about them.

If you're interested in watching the game again, Everton do a good service on their website where you can watch a 3, 5 or 20 minute highlight version, you need to register but free to watch.

Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka