Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Liverpool 5 - Swansea 0 Stats and Chalkboards

The blog's late due to half term with the kids rather than that performance on Sunday but I was sorely tempted to give the write up a miss, but for completeness I've put a few stats together.

Swansea only managed 3 attempts on goal to Liverpool's 35 and as Laudrup said it could have been 10-0:
Liverpool's efforts by half, 22 in the first half is an average of an attempt nearly every other minute
Shechter again seems to have taken a fair bit of criticism (even when the defence let in 5) and has now played 492 minutes in the league with only 7 attempts and just one of those on target.  Danny Graham took 397 minutes to score his first league goal but there was always the feeling with Graham he'd come good in the end.

An inability to retrieve long balls/clearances from the goalkeeper was in evidence for Swansea with little that went long from Vorm finding a team-mate.
Large proportion of Vorm's passes coming from Goal kicks
If come next Sunday, Swansea are League Cup winners then this defeat will be largely forgotten and Laudrup will have the remaining 11 games to work out who stays and who leaves at the end of the season.  7th would be better than 12th obviously, but especially if it's true that the league place bonus goes to the players then it's a bit easier to live with performances like that at Anfield if it helps sort out who is likely to be a key member of the squad next season.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Swans 4 - QPR 1 Stats and Chalkboards

This result is arguably the one that should have happened against Aston Villa a few weeks ago where only one goal was scored despite the dominance giving the opposition a chance to get back into the game.  This was a far more clinical performance, even if there was an element of fortune in Michu's opener.

With Leon not 100% fit, that probably encouraged Laudrup to return to playing all three of Dyer/Routledge/Pablo in what is an exciting and highly versatile attack behind Michu.  It may not be as defensively solid as playing both Ki and Britton but a more attacking approach certainly paid off.

The chalkboards for the 4 goals each have their merits and are good example of the inexact science of football stats, Routledge played a superb through ball to Rangel for the second, but as Rangel scored off the rebound and not the original shot, Routledge doesn't get the assist.
Chalkboards of the 4 goals
Overall, QPR actually had more attempts than Swansea (18 compared to 15) but all 18 of QPR's came in the second half and 12 of them after the score was 4-1.

It's never good to see a player get injured but given how much Chico has brought to the team this season it's particularly disappointing to see him stretchered off with only two weeks to Wembley.  Before being injured, Chico had a 100% pass success rate from 31 passes.
Passing from Chico (over 33 minutes on pitch)
Biggest pass combination by some distance was Ben Davies to Pablo with 30 passes, the next highest combinations was Rangel to De Guzman with 18.

Match Stats and Chalkboards: Created using Statszone 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Michu's Got Talent but Britton's Got The X-Factor

I've been meaning to write this post for a while but the news the Leon has signed a new contract taking him up to 2016 makes it more relevant.

Although most of the press this season has been around '£2m Michu', Leon is a player who is vital to the team but who (outside of Swansea at least) doesn't get as much praise as deserved.

Looking at the great videos put together by Dan Edwards for SCFC2, you can easily see how Michu has become so celebrated this season.
When you watch the video for Leon, it's far harder to pin down what it is that's so great. That's not a criticism of Dan's editing just that the things Leon does well, such as anticipating play so he's in the right position don't make as spectacular a showreel as Michu's.
Since challenging with Xavi last season as the most accurate passer in Europe, Britton has slipped slightly to 21st in Europe for pass completion (from with 'only' 91.3% as Swansea are less concerned with possession at all costs compared to last season (Ki is in 11th with 92.2%).

He's also only had 8 shots in the league this season, although that's double his total for last season but has yet to score in the Premier League or provide an assist.

0 Goals, 0 Assists yet he's an absolutely vital part of the team. The chalkboards from the last game against West Ham show how he keeps things ticking over, the passes received in particular don't look spectacular but it takes a real appreciation of what's going on around him to make himself an easy out ball for a team-mate.
Chalkboards of Passes made (left) and received (Right) v West Ham
Putting someone as small as Leon on the post at corners at first seems an odd choice, but he has more clearances off the line (4) than any other player in the league and at least some of that must be down to his ability to read a game and not just the ball bouncing off him (for now I'll ignore what that might say about our set piece defending).

There have been numerous other players who have put in great performances this season, but for me Leon is Mr Consistent.

Match Stats and Chalkboards: Created using Statszone / EPL Index

Sunday, 3 February 2013

West Ham 1 - Swansea 0 Stats and Chalkboards

This was another of those matches where the final score dictates the overall reaction, where maybe Swansea were slightly fortunate to get a point at Everton, West Ham was a game where Swansea could have got a point but ended up with nothing.

Looking at attempts for each team by half, West Ham had more in each half and Swansea only managed 1 attempt on target in the first 60 minutes, despite having the majority of possession:
First Half Attempts - Little of note from the Swans
Second Half Attempts, 4 of Swansea's 7 coming after the West Ham goal
It's easy to classify West Ham alongside Stoke as playing an 'efficient' style of football but you could argue there's a time and a place for different types of play.  Overall West Ham won 75% of Aerial Duels but the most striking comparisons were the figures for Carroll and Tomkins for West Ham and those of Davies and Moore for Swansea:
Aerial Duels compared with Davies/Moore winning 1 of 17 between them
Being good in the air is not the be-all and end-all, but the ability to retain (or regain) possession from restarts/clearances can be a useful tool.  Comparing the kicking of the two keepers again highlights this, if you know you are huge favourites to win Aerial Duels then it gives you the confidence to push up and force the opposition to kick long.
Passing from the two keepers compared, with West Ham being successful with most long balls from Jaaskelainen
Andy Carroll is far more than just a cart-horse but he does offer the ability to create problems in a defence, as seen by the goal and also by the fact that he created more chances than any other player (4, with the next highest creating 2).  The chalkboard shows that these weren't defence splitting passes but generally very short passes/knockdowns to others in space while the defence are concerned with him.

The passes received chalkboard also shows plenty of long balls received (keeper Jaaskelainen to Carrol was West Ham's highest pass combination).
Chances created (left) and passes received (right)
In terms of positives, Hernandez had a good game with 4 successful take-ons from 5 attempts and Tremmel had another solid game.

Much will be made of course about the departure of Graham without a replacement, but given how desperate Graham was to go the sensible thing to do was to let him move on and as such £5m is a decent amount to get.

As it was unlikely that a permanent striker would be available at the right price in the January window (the reported £50k a week for Kenwyne Jones making that deal a non-starter) then you're left with trying to pull a loan deal off for someone you consider good enough to improve the squad.  I would expect that the management team have spent the last few weeks (at least) seriously expecting Graham to go so it's not like they've just been running around like headless chickens on the 31st Jan.

It would obviously have been great to find a loan signing as good as Sigurdsson's last season (Guidetti from Man City would have been fantastic) but ultimately great players who aren't currently needed by their clubs are a rarity.

I remember last season reading it was rumoured that the league position bonus money was given to the players as their bonus pot, I don't know if this is true or not but could arguably in a way explain the clubs cautious behaviour.  If there's several hundred thousand pounds a league place then you might consider splashing out to make the difference between 9th and 12th, if however you as a club don't see any of that pot you may consider it prudent to put the money aside for next season.

Match Stats and Chalkboards: Created using Statszone