Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Half Season Analysis - Actual vs Deserved Points

Despite the Liverpool defeat, 28 points at the halfway stage is pretty impressive and for all the talk about the 'magic 40 points' target for safety, quite often mid 30's is enough, so as a whole, the first 19 games have to be considered a success in points terms at the very least.

Ultimately that's the stat that matters, but overall have we got what we deserved or been lucky/unlucky?  In any particular game you can say 'if only' and although 19 games isn't enough for everything to even itself out, it does start to provide better clues to the longer term performance.

In terms of shots per game, Swansea are actually 18th in the league, although this will in part be due to the amount of time Swansea have spent in front (generally speaking, the team leading takes fewer shots than the team chasing the game - although not necessarily good quality shots).

On a not overly scientific basis, I went through the 19 games and put a 'deserved' score down based on how I felt each match went in terms of shots/game state (i.e., scoring first) and overall performance.  This provides an rough estimate of what I thought we were worth in each match, with Liverpool being the lowest and West Brom being the highest.
No game is ever a 0 or a 3 but somewhere in between 
I tried to do this for each match without too much thought of the other games but was surprised as to how close to the actual total my estimate was.

You could probably pick apart any individual estimate above and everyone would have differing opinions on relative performances but I think the key this season has been beating the 'smaller' teams (along with the wins over Arsenal and Man Utd which were a bonus).

The first half of the season saw Swansea play Home to 5 of the current bottom 6 (all except Hull) which in part explains why Swans are 5th when looking just at home form so starting with QPR on New Years Day the away schedule should arguably get easier but the home one tougher.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Liverpool 4 - Swans 1 Stats and Chalkboards

It's probably been a while since we were so comprehensively outplayed.  Although it looked as if we'd weathered the first half hour with just a few minor scares, Liverpool's pummelling of the Swansea right eventually paid dividends for them.
Liverpool's passing in first 30 min, heavily down Jazz's side although arguably it was a much an issue of lack of support from Dyer than any issue with Jazz
Shot wise, Swansea didn't get going until 30 minutes in, and only a late flurry makes the shot count look a bit more respectable:
Shot Chart: Bony's shot almost immediately after Gylfi made it 2-1 could have seen an amazing turnaround but Liverpool in control from then on
Swansea ended up with 56% possession but this was certainly one of those cases where the statistic is misleading, yes Swansea made a lot of passes but most were sideways around the middle third. There's no problem with this when you're looking to control a game, but shouldn't be seen as any sort of consolation if you're behind for the majority of the match.
Plenty of the ball, but very little in any dangerous areas
With Fabianski's howler and Shelvey's own goal, this is arguably a game to forget about, a win against QPR and things will seem a lot better again or as Jazz has just put it on Twitter:
Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka

Friday, 26 December 2014

Swans 1 -- Villa 0 Stats and Chalkboards, lucky or not?

Another game, another hard fought 1-0. I haven't seen the comments/reports that prompted this response but I was a bit surprised to see a couple of tweets from Monk and team psychologist Ian Mitchell that seemed to bristle about being called lucky.

Any 1-0 victory usually involves the odd bit of 'if only' from the losing team and Swansea have Fabianski to thank in part along with Alan Hutton wasting a couple of good chances when he was in space in the box (both times seemed to be due to Routledge switching off).  You could also say Swans unlucky not to score when Ki and Dyer through on goal.

I'm a big fan of the saying (made famous by Gary Player) 'The more I practice, the luckier I get', preparation and hard work may not pay off every time (arguably the defeat to Spurs was the best performance of the last 3 games), but in the long run put you in the right position.

The same could be said about Gylfi's goal, it's not luck that he regularly scores great free kicks (there's plenty of examples on YouTube) but for any individual shot everything needs to be just right.  Watching the goal again, interesting to see Bony's leaning in to the wall, which didn't impact on the goal itself but arguably a bit more than a well placed nudge.
Swansea only had 7 shots in the whole game (from 7 different players) and 2 on target but that was in part driven by scoring first again so early on.
Cumulative Shots by Minute: Villa with a spurt just before and after Carroll's substitution, but as against Hull, it was good to see an opponent chasing the game but creating relatively little late on in the game (if you ignore the last few minutes!)
It's a real shame about Montero's injury, I feel he's been really well handled by the club as to how he was gradually introduced rather than thrown in from the start of the season, hopefully the injury will be a matter of weeks than months (i.e., you don't end up with a Pablo Hernandez type situation where there's a series of returns and relapses).

With another 2 games to come in the next 6 days (3 in 8 if you include the cup game at Tranmere), the whole squad will be tested but it feels like there are always options in almost every position.

There's much talk about the intensive Christmas schedule and I'd be interested to hear from anyone who knows more about these kinds of things than me but arguably Swansea (along with Liverpool) have the 'best' schedule.

QPR played the evening game on Boxing Day then start another match 45.5 hours later followed by us at 3pm on 1st Jan.  Swansea on the other hand play 3pm Friday/8pm Monday/3pm Thursday so have 29 hours less rest than QPR but don't have what is presumably a shattering impact of two games in under 48 hours.

All squads are likely to make changes but there's likely to be a few on any side who play all three games so a spread out schedule may be the optimal scenario.

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

Monday, 22 December 2014

Hull 0 - Swans 1 Stats and Chalkboards

Win, and nobody is too bothered about tactics or team selection. How much of the selection was down to 'niggles' for Gylfi, Leon and Montero and how much was the prospect of games Fri-Mon-Thurs coming up I don't know but this result helped to back up my thoughts that we have one of the strongest squads outside the big 6.

As things stand the whole 'big 6' thing is in a state of flux but deeper squads could have a real bearing on where teams stand after 1st Jan.

The difference between brave and foolish is often a fine line but Monk was correct in believing that the side selected was good enough to beat a struggling Hull side. A second goal would have been nice to kill the game off (Shelvey coming close a couple of times) but generally speaking Hull created relatively little.
Ash's Clearances and Hull's Crossing
Ash made a huge number of clearances for example but if you look at their location, most are well outside the box or at least nowhere particularly near the goal. More often than not, Hull just seemed to put the balls into areas where it was easily cleared and although Fabianski made a couple of good saves, he wasn't overly troubled.
Shots by Minute - Hull's last shot came in the 78th Minute, although after the ending of the Spurs game, I didn't feel comfortable until after the Final whistle.
A first away win in the league since the opening day of the season sees us with a 10 point gap over the relegation zone.  Looking in the other direction, the possibility of a Chelsea-Spurs league cup final could see an extra Europa league place become assigned to the League. If the FA Cup final was also between two of the top 6 in the league then 7th place could be good enough for a Europa League spot.

7th is a stretch target but not something that should be thought of as out of reach.

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

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

Monday, 20 October 2014

Stoke 2 - Swans 1 Video Analysis

Other posts: Corner Analysis

Following on from the match stats I've had a look at some of the issues from the game.  I've recently started doing some video analysis for my local non-league team which is a bit of an eye opener after being used to having detailed Opta stats on a plate.

With the Stoke game being in full on Sky, this gave me the chance to use Longomatch to try and look at a couple of areas in particular, some of the bad passing from defence as well as looking at the hold up play of Bony (and to a smaller extent Gomis).  Footage quality isn't the best but hopefully gives a rough idea.

Any compilation needs to be taken into context and just having the bad moments can seem overly critical, for the passing it was mainly wayward passes towards Bony.  Two of these were indirectly responsible for Stoke's goals: Fernandez lofting in a free kick after seemingly being unsure what to do with it led eventually to Stoke's pen (pass 009 on the video, they're labelled as bad long passes but the definition of long/bad is a loose one).

The second goal came as a result of a pass from Rangel being intercepted (last example in the video above) which in turn results in defenders being out of position, as much as Taylor shouldn't have let Walters across him, he does have two players at the back post.

Looking at the passes to Bony/Gomis, the next video is a selection of where the ball is played up to them with their back to goal, when it sticks it's great (number 007 is particularly nice) but other times the ball goes all over the place.
Watching the game back, the second half wasn't as bad as I first thought but to get nothing after scoring the first goal is a big disappointment.  Obviously the Stoke penalty decision overshadow's most other things but a persecution complex won't do us any favours.

Other than the West Brom game, it's been fine margins that have decided the result one way or another (even though Chelsea in the end beat us comfortably the turning point was conceding so close to half time) and even though the fixture schedule looks daunting in coming weeks with Everton/Arsenal/Man City to come in the league I expect us to be in contention for points in every game.

Stoke 2 - Swans 1 Match Stats and Analysis

To get the obvious main talking point out of the way first, yes it was a dive by Moses and a cheap penalty but that can't hide the fact that it was a disappointing second half for the Swans.

After a fantastic first 10-15 minutes especially where a series of great passing moves with Bony as the fulcrum cut through Stoke a number of times the momentum was more with Stoke from Swansea's goal onwards.
Other than a late flurry of long range shots after Emnes' introduction late on, Stoke dominated in terms of  efforts on goal after Swansea took the lead
I think at some point having both Bony and Gomis on at the same time could cause real havoc, but was surprised it was a combination used in this game given Bony's international travels.  You could argue it was a positive move to try and win the game but it felt like it didn't work in this instance.
Pass volumes (per 5 minutes) by Team - Swansea with majority of the ball early on and in the lead up to the penalty.  Post double substitution (64 min) Swansea with another peak but then going more direct from about the 70th minute onwards
As much as Taylor gets the blame for Stoke's second, it stems from a misplaced pass out of defence from Rangel, one of the things that seemed noticeable in the game was the number of misplaced passes from defence into midfield/attack.

There was a lot of focus in the ball played into Bony's feet with his back to goal, a lot of the time it worked well and there was some great hold up play by him at times.  When it didn't work however, either through a bad pas or bad control Stoke often had the opportunity to then break on Swansea's defence.

In a follow up blog I'll be trying to put some video's together looking at this in more detail.

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

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Value of Corners - 94 clubs and 25,000 corners analysed

I was planning on looking at effectiveness from corners anyway but Swansea's stats in this regard make it even more pertinent.

From the 7 Premier League games so far this season, Swansea have had 12 corners with the next lowest team being Burnley with 25 (West ham are highest with 53). Why Swansea have had so few is for another blog but this one is concerned with the question of do corners count and who does them well.

Ben Mayhew from the Press Association tweeted me this image looking at Average Number of Corners per game and final position:
As with any stat there will be exceptions but averaging over 6 corners generally comes from a team in the top 8 not one fighting relegation.  Swansea's average so far of 1.7 per game is off the scale (but not in a good way) 
There appears to be some link between corners and final position although I'd expect it to be more 'Good teams win lots of corners' rather than 'Winning lots of corners makes a team good'.

There's a good piece by James Horncastle from a couple of years ago looking at a guy in Italy called Gianni Vio who is considered a set-piece guru.  He's recently joined AC Milan so is still making a career out of being a set-piece specialist.

There have been a number of studies looking at the value of a corner such as by Anderson/Sally in 'The Numbers Game' and on Statsbomb among many others.  One of the issues is how to credit a goal to a corner? It's easy enough if the goal comes straight from a corner crossed in, but what about the secondary phase after a corner is cleared or if the corner is initially played short?

Most previous analysis credits a goal to a corner if it is scored within 3 touches, what I've tried to look at is to use the match reports on the BBC that are generated using Opta data to try and analyse activity in the period after a corner is awarded. The data isn't perfect as the timestamp relates to when it was logged that a corner was awarded and not when taken, but is good enough for some rough calculations.

From this data I've gathered information on over 25,000 corners that have been taken in games involving clubs from the English leagues (includes League, Domestic and European cups to try and get as much data as possible even if it risks adding unfair comparisons).  These games took place between 1st Oct 2013 and mid-Sep 2014.

The first thing I looked at was corners that produce other corners, the aim of this was to remove double counting so at a later stage you could say 'If I get a corner, I'd expect this phase of play to finish in a goal x% of the time'.

Overall, from the 25,892 corners analysed 3,079 (12%) are awarded within 60 seconds of the previous corner being awarded so could crudely be classed as part of the same phase of play.  The linked corners could either be as the result of a shot or due to a defensive clearance (it's there in the data but that's for another day).

No Surprises - Time to next corner is most likely to be shortly after you've been awarded a corner.  There will be a variable time between the awarding and actual taking of a corner but things level out around the 60 second mark
As you'd expect, the 12% isn't a uniform figure and there are some major differences by team, ranging from 18% down to 7.5%:
10 Highest and 10 lowest clubs in terms of % of corners that are awarded within 60 seconds of previous corner. Everton's and Arsenal's corners per game figures are much closer when factoring out linked phases with multiple corners (I'm guessing Everton favour in-swinging corners towards near post more than Arsenal)
When charting average number of corners per game by % of corners that are awarded within 60 sec of a previous corner a few teams stand out:
In terms of raw average Corners per game Burnley and Scunthorpe are pretty similar but Scunthorpe have far more 'Linked' corners. Overall Chesterfield have the highest number of 'Corner Phases' per match with Man City in second with Leeds the bottom of the 94 teams analysed (the 92 from 2013/14 along with Luton and Cambridge)
Corners are all well and good, but ultimately it's goals that count, you know you're clutching at straws if you say '..but we won 8-2 on corners'.

If we look at the last corner in a sequence (where no corner awarded in previous 60 seconds), we are left with 22,813 corners from which to analyse the subsequent goal return.
The presence of 3 goals occurring the same time the corner is awarded shows the data isn't perfect but similarly to corners, goal response tends to tail off just after the minute mark.
Again as with subsequent corner activity, there's huge variation in number of corner phases that lead to a goal:
Top/Bottom 10 clubs by % of their corner phases that end with a goal within 70 seconds
When plotting Number of Corner Phases by Conversion rates you get some major differences:
Performance ranges from Man City who were had the 2nd highest number of Corner phases and 5th best conversion to Dagenham & Redbridge who had 3rd lowest number of corner phases and lowest conversion
All of the above looks at the attacking impact of a team but this can be reversed to see how well each team fares when facing corners:
These figures just look at Goals Scored/Conceded per match without taking into account volume of corners.  Reading show the ideal combination of High scoring and Low conceding from corners while Dagenham & Redbridge are the worst of 94 clubs in both aspects.  Those below the blue line are 'Corner Positive' in that they score more than they concede from Corners
One of the main questions from anything like this is 'Is this repeatable?' are clubs that were performing particularly well/badly in this analysis doing the same previously (and more importantly are they likely to do so in the future)?  I only have approx 1 season's worth of data in this format but it's interesting to see that the Stasbomb piece that is from Aug 2013 also mentions Newcastle at being bad from corners over a totally separate time period.

In an ideal world if you had the Prozone data for example, you could code up all corner scenarios where at least 1 centre back enters the opposition penalty area and link all activity as part of the same phase until that player has returned to his own half.

Also, all the timings of events relate to when events entered in to the system and the 60/70 second cut-offs are arbitrary as is the decision to include all games and not just league but the analysis shows the kind of things you could look out for when creating your own bespoke metrics at a club.  There's also the risk of conceding on the counter-attack from your own corner that needs to be factored in, Stoke's winner and Chelsea's goal v Man City at the Etihad this season were both breakaway's from Man City Corners.

The next stage will be to try and look at what teams that have a higher scoring % do.  If the answer to the question 'How do I score as many goals from corner situations as Man City' is 'Buy Silva, Aguero and Dzeko' then that's no use to anybody.

Similarly if Reading's strength in scoring from and not conceding from corners is due to having centre backs who are terrible at everything else that's not much use either, but given there are plenty of less glamorous clubs with high returns from these situations suggests that it could also be process and not just personnel that matters.

Corners alone won't win you a title or get you relegated but in a game of fine margins, if everything else remains unchanged, well executed corners (and set pieces in general) can make a difference.

Other Posts: Premier league Shot LocationWorld Cup Shot Location World Cup Distance + Sprint Stats
Twitter: @we_r_pl
Stats: Created using BBC Sport

Monday, 6 October 2014

Swans 2 - Newcastle 2 Match Stats

I think you'd be taking positive thinking too far not to be disappointed with just a point after taking the lead twice against a team with a recent record like Newcastle's.  Shot wise this was the first league game this season where we'd had more than the opposition:
For a match with 4 goals, only 20 shots is a pretty low number but least Swansea got slightly higher than the 9 efforts per game they're averaging in the league
Positives from this game will be Bony's first of the season and another 2 Gylfi assists taking his league total to 6 (only Fabregas on 7 has higher, with a number of players next closest with 3).

Random stat of the season of the season so far is that every other Premier League team has at least twice as many corners as Swansea.  Swansea have 12 from 7 games (av. 1.7 per game) with the next lowest being Burnley with 25.  Top of the pile is West Ham with 53 (7.6 per game).

Off the top of my head 5 of Gylfi's 6 assists have been through balls to create 1v1s against the keeper, as was Jonjo's goal v Chelsea (via a Bony Assist).  The John Terry own goal has been the only 'scrappy' goal scored so far this season in the league.

Although 1v1 are great opportunities to score is the lack of corners the result of not mixing up play enough, a result of sitting back in some games (either protecting a lead or having 10 men) or just a bit of a freak number?

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

Monday, 29 September 2014

Sunderland 0 - Swans 0 Stats and Chalkboards

I think Ki's description of  the game as 'a bit boring' hits the nail on the head, some matches you just take the point and move on to the next week, especially after having to play from the 80th minute with 10 men.

Even without the sending off, this, like the other 5 league games so far this season was another game where the opposition had more shots.  Shot volumes aren't everything but Swansea's success so far in the league has been due to taking the odd very good chance that's come along rather than creating a multitude of average chances.
Sunderland with 15 shots overall, but almost half of those coming from a couple of short spells of pressure (around 35 min and 88 min)
Pass wise it can be seen how post the sending off Swansea retreat into a shell:
Passes per minute (by 5 min period), Sunderland with very little of the ball in the first 25 minutes, Swansea with little of it post 60 minute mark
When looking at the cumulative figures, Swansea had double the passing volume of Sunderland in the first half but Swansea's control goes long before Rangel's dismissal:
The change in passing volumes ties in with Jordi Gomez's introduction. Gomez made 27 passes after coming on in the 58th minute with Cattermole being their highest passed with 42 passes over the 90
Despite only playing a third of the match, Gomez also made more final third passes than anyone else, although this will have been helped by the sending off as the pass figures from the 85th minute onwards show a total (and understandable) defensive mindset from Sunderland.

Pass Volumes from 85th minute to end of the match, Sunderland working mainly down Swansea's right
Getting to double figures after just 6 games is a great achievement (this took 8 games in both seasons under Laudrup and 10 games in 11/12 under Rodgers) and all is pretty rosy at the moment although a few more shots per game wouldn't hurt,

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

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Swans 3 - Everton 0 Match Stats

After two defeats in a row, this win both gives confidence in the short term before the match against Sunderland on Saturday but also longer term shows that the likes of Everton on not out of reach (admittedly Everton have had to play Thu-Sun-Tue and it wasn't a fully first choice XI but it's still a great result).

Shot wise Everton had the better of the first half but only 2 efforts in the second half and only managed 2 shots on target all game.
Swansea again getting outshot but arguably having the better quality opportunities
No Statszone/Squawka data available for Capital One cup games but there were plenty of positive performances again highlighting the depth of the squad.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Swans 0 - Southampton 1 Match Stats and Chalkboards

This game obviously hinged on the Bony sending off and as such makes it hard to read too much into it other than Swansea looked the better team at 11v11 so there's not too much to be downbeat about with the added bonus that Bony's suspension will be for a game he would have been on the bench for anyway (it'll be interesting to see if Modou Barrow gets any game time v Everton where Everton's fixture schedule of Thu-Sun-Tue give us a great chance to get one over on one of our bogey teams of recent years).

Shot wise, all of Swansea's 5 shots we with Bony on the pitch and all bar 1 of Southampton's efforts were after he was sent off:
Southampton with relatively consistent shot volumes over the course of the 2nd half, although 10 in a 45 minute period isn't a huge number
Pass wise the figures are equally bleak in the 2nd half for Swansea:
There's a major change in the gradient of the two lines in the second half (especially the last half hour where Swansea passing volumes almost flatline)
This can be seen in even more detail when looking at individual 5 minute periods:
There's a large period of the 2nd half (around 55-85 min) where Swansea are averaging less than a couple of passes a minute as Southampton have near total control
The next two league games are against Sunderland and Newcastle both of whom have form that you could consider to be erratic at best, although points wise things are still looking good, with another international break looming after those two games, a couple of points at least would help to keep the focus up rather than down the table.

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

Friday, 19 September 2014

Swansea - Southampton Preview

Saturday's match sees the meeting of the two teams seen by the bookies as 'The best of the Rest' outside the top 7 (time will tell if Everton's Europa League campaign means they get dragged back in to the 'others' as opposed to those chasing Champions League places).

Southampton are a bit like Swansea in that to outside observers this season might have appeared to be one in which they would struggle but look deeper and there's still a good team there. I've always had a soft spot for Southampton, not least because of Matt Le Tissier and this piece on his goal v Newcastle in 1993 is fantastic.

Southampton (along with Liverpool) have conceded the fewest shots per game (8.25: 33 from 4 games), within that there's games against Shot-Shy West Ham (4 Shots) and the more attack minded Liverpool (12 shots), but looking at the shot map of chances conceded suggests a decent defensive display so far this season:
Southampton have only conceded 3 goals in their 4 league games to date
At the other end, Southampton have scored 8 from 34 shots so far including 4 in a thrashing of Newcastle:
Southampton League Shot Chart
Looking at Southampton's shot chart, there's quite a bit of activity at the edge of the 6-yard box, delving deeper a fair bit of that is due to headers, with 8 of their shots (and 1 goal) coming this way.
Southampton's Cluster of Headed shots - possibly an area to watch 
Where Southampton have a lot of activity close in, Swansea's chances have tended to be a bit further out, although a number of them have been the result of through balls to create 1v1s:
Swansea Shots - JT own goal not included.
Although I'm hoping for an exciting game, unless there's a goal in the first 20 minutes I can see this being quite a cagey match with both sides happy with a point.  I'd expect both teams to finish somewhere between 8th-12th but good results in matches like this could give hope that 7th isn't out of reach.

For more on the game - injury news/projected lineups check out The Swansea Way

Other Posts: Premier league Shot LocationWorld Cup Shot Location World Cup Distance + Sprint Stats
Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Chelsea 4 - Swans 2 Stats and Chalkboards

Top of the league for 20 minutes, it was fun while it lasted.  Although 4 goals (and 29 shots) conceded there was plenty to take encouragement from although the last half hour felt like a slow suffocation.
A great first 30 minutes but a tough 2nd half
Ki in particular seemed to find himself in acres of space during the first half but the introduction of Ramires made things a lot tougher in midfield:
Chelsea ball recoveries by half, far more advanced in the 2nd half (right image)
The change in the flow of the game can also be seen by the pass volumes over time, Swansea with plenty of the ball early on (even if it was in relatively unthreatening areas most of the time) but from about 65 minutes it was one way traffic.
Cumulative Pass volumes by minute (Statszone data for last 10 not fully available but trend clear from 65 minutes on)
Costa now has 7 goals from just 14 shots which is pretty incredible:
A 50% conversion rate isn't sustainable but you'd expect him to finish with 25+ goals by the end of the season comfortably
Costa obviously gets the headlines and Fabregas another two assists but it was arguably Hazard who ran the show for Chelsea from an attacking point of view.  He had 9 successful take ons (from 10 attempts), 5 more than Gomis who had 4 from 5 and who I thought had an excellent game turning Cahill on a regular basis.

It'd be easy to say if only we'd held on until half time or if only Gomis had taken his 1v1 to make it 2-2 that things could be different, some weeks you get the breaks, other weeks you don't.  What large parts of this match showed is that we can give any team a run for their money.

Other Posts: Premier league Shot LocationWorld Cup Shot Location World Cup Distance + Sprint Stats
Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka