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Monday, 4 November 2013

Cardiff 1 - Swansea 0 Stats and Chalkboards

This wasn't a particularly great game and it was of course an even worse result.  It's a pretty big but, but without the goal it could be argued that neither side offered much and it would have gone down as a drab draw, Laudrup himself has said that the first half went how he expected (i.e, pretty non-eventful with the hope to nick the game in last half hour by bringing Bony on while still at 0-0).

Swansea started well with 3 shots inside the first 10 minutes but from then on it was a fairly flat performance:
Shots by minute: 4 of the 6 shots on Target (2 from each side) came in the last 10 minutes including Rangel's save
I wasn't surprised that Bony didn't start, Laudrup seems more often than not to err on the side of caution, I was surprised though to see both of De Guzman and Shelvey starting as to me it feels neither one thing or the other.  It's not the attacking mindset of including Bony and it's not the solid defensive/controlling strategy of Britton and Canas.

The only time Britton, De Guzman and Shelvey have all started the same match is the league cup defeat at Birmingham, obviously rotation is needed with the demands of the Europa league to content with but it did feel like there was a lack of understanding at times.

I still think there's an excellent player within Jonjo Shelvey but it'll take some nurturing (doing the 'Swim Away' gesture at the end of a match when you've lost and not played that well just seems foolish).  Looking at the stats the one that was one of the more disappointing ones was that none of the midfield 3 (Britton/Shelvey/De Guzman) attempted a take-on (dribble past an opponent) during the game.

Obviously you wouldn't expect it from Britton but for me it's one of Shelvey's strong points being able to go past players in midfield, which in turn makes space for others.  A lot of the time the ball would be played up to Dyer/Routledge who would be quickly bundled off the ball.

The details of where Cardiff recovered the ball by half show the areas Swansea tended to try to attack in, during the first half there was a lot more towards Routledge on Swansea's left but the second half was full of balls up the middle than didn't stick:
Cardiff's Ball recoveries by half (i.e., where Swansea lost the ball), second half activity concentrated far more in central areas and also more in Swansea's half
Another way of viewing this would be by looking at the forward passes played in each half which shows a marked difference in type of attack (and also success rate):
Swansea forward passes by half, fewer passes in the Second half (also 76% success rate in 1st half compared with 70% in the 2nd)
Michu also came increasingly deep as the match went on (while he was on the field) which then obviously leaves even less of a target further up:
Michu: Passes Received first 30 min (left) and 31-65 min (right), 3 of the 6 passes received in the first 30min came in the first 10 minutes which shows how little influence any striker often has in the Swansea system.
Off the field Cardiff may be a bit of a joke, but in Caulker and Medel they've gone for players who can help them keep things tight, I know they had a few extra weeks compared to Palace but the difference in recruitment strategy was huge.  I think if you put Caulker in any of the teams in the bottom 6 he'd provide a marked improvement in their performance.
Medel's pass activity, 20 more completed passes than any other player.  His 10 ball recoveries was 4 more than any other player (Rangel/Neil Taylor with 6 each)
By end of Thursday night we could be in the knockout stages of the Europa league, but whatever happens the rest of the season, this performance is one that will stay in the memory for some time and not for the right reasons.

Other Posts: Swans Players Shooting by position 

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Match Stats and Chalkboards: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka