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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.

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Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka