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Friday, 29 March 2013

Swans v Spurs Preview

It's only been two weeks since the Arsenal game (and five since the Capital One cup final) but both seem an age ago.  With both Swansea and Spurs coming off multiple successive defeats, the international break arguably came at a good time to provide a gap between what's gone before and the final part of the season.

As mentioned in the review of the Arsenal game, there's no shame in losing to a team of that calibre but it certainly felt like a flat performance with pretty much ever player (even Leon) guilty of some poor passing.

This season has seen a progression for Swansea in pretty much every area which can be seen in the fact that there are far more options available and the team seems less fixed to 'Plan A'.

I understand the mantra of 'Pick your best 11 and let the opposition worry about you' but I get the feeling that Laudrup takes a far more pragmatic approach and tailors the line up for each game with Swansea having 3 main strategies (albeit largely still based around 4-2-3-1 of some shape or form):
Option 1 - Essentially playing with Britton/Ki/De Guzman in midfield with Michu as lone striker.  Against Arsenal Ki was the furthest forward of the 3.  This is the most defensive line-up of the three.
Option 2 - Playing all 3 of Dyer/Pablo/Routledge. This is the most exciting option to watch but usually kept for playing against teams where a win is 'expected'
Option 3 - Play Michu as attacking midfielder with a more traditional striker (Graham/Shechter/Moore).  I expect to see more of this option next season if a striker of suitable quality is bought in the summer.  Roughly speaking Michu receives the ball twice as often when playing as an attacking midfielder rather than forward.
As with Arsenal's visit, Spurs are under huge pressure in the hunt for 4th and Champions League football, it'll be interesting to see if Laudrup goes for a similar tactic of keeping things tight and hoping to exploit a team looking over-committing in the later stages looking for a win.

Comparing some of the stats of the two teams, the one that struck me the most was the clear chance conversion (a clear cut chance is where the player would be expected to score), overall Swansea's in higher largely down to the hugely different figures of Adebayor and Michu:
Clear Cut Chances by Player - Michu's rate will be hard to repeat again next season, Graham's relatively disappointing figures are actually pretty similar to last year when he scored 7 of 22 clear cut chances (32%)
Obviously it doesn't take a huge swing in chance conversion rate for the difference for Michu and Adebayor to disappear (3 more for Adebayor, 3 less for Michu and they'd both have 40% success rate) and some chances will be more clear cut than others but with 60% of premier league games being draws or single goal wins, little things can make a big difference.


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Stats and Chalkboards: Created using EPL Index