Monday, 23 April 2012

Bolton 1 - Swansea 1

Damn you QPR!  Their Saturday evening victory over Spurs mean we have to wait until Tuesday at least (when Bolton play Villa) to be mathematically sure of staying up although it would take an (almost) unimaginable string of results for us not to be in the top flight next season.

The game against Bolton saw Swansea having 26 attempts on goal, their highest in the league this season and have had 3 games with over 20 attempts, their last 2 games (Bolton Away and Blackburn Home) as well as Bolton at the Liberty.  It was also the biggest positive differential between goal attempts between Swansea and the opposition with Swansea having 16 more efforts than Bolton’s 10.

The second half in particular saw Swansea dominate with 16 efforts to 5 (although 3 of those from Sinclair were within the same passage of play).

Scott Sinclair’s shooting has been something of a frustration this season and it was fantastic to see a calm well struck finish rather than an attempt to smash it into the net as has been the case so often this season.  It’s been a strange season for Sinclair with some calls from some Swans fans for him to be given a rest (as a proverbial kick up the backside) to replaced by Routledge with some general observers mentioning Sinclair as a possible for England Euro 2012 squad.

Sinclair is certainly seen as a vital player for Rodgers, playing the 4th most minutes in the squad only behind Vorm, Williams and Taylor.  Partly due to minutes played (and the fact that Sigurdsson only arrived mid season) he is the Swansea player who has had the most attempts this season with 94 attempts (with 8 goals, 4 of which from penalties). 

Excluding penalties, I have looked at the comparative shooting of the three main goalscorers this season: Graham, Sinclair and Sigurdsson.

Despite playing only half the game time of Graham, Sigurdsson already almost has the same number of Shots
Looking at the same figures but looking at percentages rather than values shows the difference in accuracy: 

Of all shots made, Graham hits the target on almost half of all efforts compared to 22.5% for Sinclair
Of course not all shots are equal opportunities to score, but looking at efforts within the box gives a slightly more even comparison as the vast majority of Graham's shooting happens in the box.

It's off a relatively small base (20 shots inside the box) but the high proportion of goals to shots from Sigurdsson is impressive
Back to the game on Saturday, Swansea looked composed and at ease with Allen and Britton completing 99 of their 104 passes.

Accurate passing as usual from Leon and Joe, with Allen being involved all over the pitch.
The big question now is going to be where can Rodgers find players next season to match the input of Caulker and Sigurdsson (whilst keeping the likes of Vorm and Allen at the club).  

The hope is that we can use our loan options to become both a finishing school for top talent (Caulker) and an excellent shop window for talent (Sigurdsson - I expect Hoffenheim to sell him for a tidy profit in the summer). 

It’ll be a number of years before we would be able to buy players of this talent outright but every chance that some of Europe’s big clubs will entrust us with their prospects (even if it maybe hasn't gone as planned for Josh McEachran).

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