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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Swansea 2 - Man City 3 Stats and Chalkboards

The Christmas period of 4 games in 11 days comes to an end with arguably the best Swansea performance of the period but no points again.  This season has already seen single goal defeats against, Arsenal/Chelsea/Everton/Spurs and now Man City so there are fine lines between positive and negative results.

That said despite the performance, there was still the feeling that Man City had plenty left in reserve if needed and stepped up in the first 15-20 minutes of the second half and were pretty clinical when required.
Swansea might have had more shots but generally the better opportunities were Man City's
Total Shot details - Swans with plenty from distance which is not necessarily a bad thing if it's Bony doing the shooting but Canas shooting from range is optimistic to say the least
Even without his last minute goal, Bony was one of the best players on the field yesterday but that long range finish will hopefully hammer home the fact that the guy knows where the goal is and if he's given opportunities he'll score plenty.  As well as the goals, the thing that equally impressed me was his strength on the ball and also his link up play.

He's more than just a big guy up front, but his ability in the air is an advantage as seen from his passes received yesterday where of his 31 passes received Tremmel was the joint highest provider with 6 passes.
Bony Passes received vs Man City and previous game vs. Villa.  Higher possession vs. Villa meant fewer balls from back to front.  In neither game was there much service within the box but De Guzman's pass for Bony's goal yesterday a perfect example of the kind of service he can thrive on 
Build up for Bony's goals
One of the downsides of the game was that with the injury to Pablo, this game showed that I don't think either Lamah or Routledge look comfortable playing on the right wing and with a couple of weeks before Pablo's back (which given his recent history may be optimistic) and Dyer a while from returning I'd be tempted to play Rangel at right wing with Tiendalli/Jazz at right back.
Attempted Take-ons for Lamah and Routledge, Routledge's only attempt was the unsuccessful one that lead to Man City's third goal 
Pablo has had plenty of criticism this season for his injury record where last season barring a couple of weeks off in the middle of the season he was pretty much ever present, looking at minutes played over the 4 games during the Christmas period he was one of the players who played the most minutes (given he would have been expected to last around 60 minutes yesterday that would have put him as having the 6th most minutes of any Swans player.  It's obviously easy to be wise with hindsight but maybe that was too many minutes for him.
Minutes played by Player over the four games
Credit as always has to go to Ashley Williams, who's appearance record over the last few years is phenomenal.  I think Britton's illness meant that Shelvey played more than would have been expected although I would have like to have seen Pozuelo come on for him when Man City had made it 3-1.

With Man Utd and Spurs next in the league, there's a real possibility that league form could be 1 point in 6 games with 5 of the following 6 league games being '6 pointers' against Fulham/West Ham/Cardiff/Stoke/Crystal Palace (along with the game against Liverpool and the Napoli tie).

Anyone from Hull in 10th downwards could end up in trouble but as long as there's no more major injuries, there's enough in this squad to be comfortable.  It's sad in a way however that what not so long ago would have been the match of the season (away to Man Utd in the FA Cup) is possibly now seen as more of a chore, not least coming on the back of the Christmas fixtures.

The game should be more about glory than just mid-table survival but the pragmatic view would be the odds of actually getting as far as Wembley again (i.e, Semis or beyond) are fairly large and a mini run of 3-4 games (including possible replays) doesn't bring glory but just a fixture pile up.

Laudrup (unlike Rodgers) took the League cup seriously from the very beginning in his first season and was handsomely rewarded for it, this season priorities are different and it may be that with the Europa League tie with Napoli to come, the FA Cup (at least for now) is given less focus.

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Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka