Monday, 30 April 2012

Swansea 4 - Wolves 4

This game was certainly no drab affair with Rodgers choosing to scratch an itch he’s had about playing 3-4-3.

Although you could argue that the Premier League is no place to be trying new things, this game offered the perfect platform to trial it.  As Swansea were all but safe it offered reduced risk if it all went wrong yet at the same time there was enough riding on it (Premiership prize money for a higher table finish and Wolves’ pride after being relegated) that it would be more telling than bringing the formation out in a pre-season friendly.

Despite the almost perfect first 15 minutes, Swansea only had 11 attempts all game (to Wolves’ 17) and Swansea only had 3 attempts at goal in the second half, 2 of which came within a minute towards the start of the second half (Sigurdsson’s only efforts of the game) meaning only 1 attempt in the last 40 minutes.

Although almost every goal is usually down to an error somewhere along the line, some are more stoppable than others with the last goal in particular bringing back memories of the collapse against Wolves at Molineux with players out of position and goals conceded despite having numbers back.

1st Wolves Goal - 3 v 1 in the box but Fletcher in plenty of space
2nd Wolves Goal - Again plenty back but Jarvis with time to shoot
4th Wolves Goal - 4 Swans players within touching distance of each other and Jarvis ahead of them all
Whilst conceding 4 with his introduction alongside Caulker and Williams, Garry Monk’s stats at least suggest a decent performance winning 4 out of 4 tackles attempted, 9 out of 11 ground duels and 4 out of 5 aerial duels.

Being the centre of a back three meant that Monk's role was the most normal of the three, with both Caulker and Williams having to change aspects of their games.

For Williams the long diagonal to the right was unsuccessful 
Caulker played right of a 3 in the 1st half and a standard right back in the 2nd.  Only 60% (12 of 20) of his forward balls were accurate and a large proportion of his passes were backwards (40%) which is not surprising for a makeshift right back.

Vorm's pass success of 30% in the second half far below that of the 72% in the first half and 71% for season overall
This repeated loss of possession was made worse by an impressive display by Karl Henry and David Edwards with Henry making almost double the passes in the second half as the first.

In addition to Henry's passing, Edwards made 33 successful passes from 34 attempts in the second half
For me, the biggest surprise was not Rodgers playing 3-4-3 but having only one full back (Taylor) on the bench as cover, but this may in part due to Rangel's apparent injury which in itself may also have persuaded Rodgers to go for 3-4-3.

In games where there are a number of early goals, it may be the case that composure goes out the window and no matter the deficit, the opposition will feel that there are still goals in the game and the mentality of the side leading becomes one of protecting rather than extending the lead. 

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