Monday, 20 May 2013

Swansea 0 - Fulham 3 Stats and Chalkboards

This was probably one of those games for people who say the only stat that really matters is the number of goals each team scores.  Despite Swansea having plenty of the ball and the vast majority of chances, the scoreline gives a very different picture.

In terms of chances this was a reversal of the game at Craven Cottage where it could be argued Swansea rode their luck:
Attempts by Side, Swansea with 3 times as many efforts with a significant number inside the box
Attempts from the game at Craven Cottage where Fulham had plenty of efforts but little on target
In the period between Fulham's 1st and 2nd Goals yesterday the difference in attempts for both teams was even more extreme with Swansea having 19 attempts to Fulham's 1:
Fulham weren't particularly adventurous (as they didn't need to be) and their passing was often picked off in their own half as can be seen by the location of interceptions:
Interceptions by Team - majority of Swansea's interceptions of Fulham passing coming in the Fulham half
With plenty of the ball, Swansea made far more crosses than normal (44 in total compared to an average in the league this season of less than 20), but with little success:

Similarly, Fulham's defence were far busier in terms of clearances, with an awful lot of activity around the penalty spot:
Hangeland was the busiest defender with 18 clearances in total
9th and a trophy means that this was a pretty amazing season even if the last 3 months have felt at times like going through the motions, although I'm more than happy to have avoided the 'excitement' of a relegation battle.

There's been plenty of speculation around arrivals/departures already and this will only increase over the next couple of months when there's no actual football to act as a distraction.  I personally think that this close season will relatively quiet as long as Laudrup stays (which I expect he will for another year at least), with Williams being the only regular first team player who may be somewhere else come August.

Some may have questioned the wisdom of selling Danny Graham in January, but £5m for a 1 goal per 3 games striker who was desperate to leave was superb business, as was not trying to buy a replacement at the same time when prices generally are higher.

Here's hoping for a relatively calm summer.

Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats and Chalkboards: Created using Statszone 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Man U 2 - Swans 1 Stats and Chalkboards

The Swans might not have 'spoilt the party' but certainly put up an excellent performance, especially in the second half.  The chalkboard below shows the passing areas by half for the Swans, the ball very rarely made its way anywhere near the Man Utd area in the first half, but after the break things were much improved:
Swans Passing by Half, almost identical numbers, but far more threat in 2nd Half
For the first 20-30 minutes especially, Man Utd seemed to be regularly playing balls in to the edge of the Swansea area, along with plenty of support play to create several threatening positions:
Man Utd Final Third Passing by Half - with huge pressure on the edge of area during 1st Half
This Man Utd pressure can also be seen by the areas the teams made their interceptions with Swansea often winning it back around the edge of the area and Man Utd winning the ball back several times far higher up the pitch:
Interceptions by Team
Conceding goals from a free kick and a corner is something that will be of a concern as I think it may be that we've scored the fewest and conceded the most of any team in the Premier League (as a % of total).  We've certainly scored the fewest with 5 (League average is 11 and Man U highest with 22).

The occasion and the late winner mean that Michu's superb finish may largely be forgotten by those outside of Swansea but anyone thinking he may just be a 'One-Season Wonder' would be overlooking both the quality of his technique and the fact that he was not too shabby last season for Rayo Vallecano.  August 1st can't come quick enough for me.

Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats and Chalkboards: Created using Statszone and Whoscored

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Wigan 2 - Swansea 3 Stats and Chalkboards

This was a pretty odd game (even without the fact that Shechter scored) and one that you could argue Wigan lost more than Swansea won.
Shots by Team - Wigan with double the number on target and Swans with 3 goals from 4 attempts on  target
Wigan were their own worst enemy, as well as some dubious defending for Shechter and Tiendalli's goals, a lot of Swansea's other chances came as a result of bad passing at the back.

In the first half in particular, Swansea looked pretty pedestrian with Wigan looking the better team and an awful lot of their playing going to Callum McManaman on the right who was having an interesting contest with Ben Davies.  Second half however little came to McManaman and he was subbed in the 64th minute.
Passes Received by McManaman - First Half (left) and up to replacement in 2nd half after 64 min (right), one of the 2 passes received in the 2nd half is probably at kick off after Swansea equalised
It's always interesting to see Rangel playing further forward on the right but arguably too much of the ball went down the right in the first half (although this may be linked to the influence of McManaman attacking Swansea's left meaning the main outlet for Swansea would be down the right).
Forward Passes by Swansea in each half - far more play down the left in more advanced positions in the second half
Pablo and Routledge seemed to be more involved in the second half down the left hand side and in and around the Wigan penalty area.  Routledge gained another assist and is for me the most improved player this season compared to under Rodgers.
Chalkboard of the Rangel goal
As well as the luck from some of Wigan's shoddy defending, Swansea also had the benefit of the last 15 minutes (if you include injury time) with an extra man as Wigan substitute Ronnie Stam was injured not long after coming on.

This limited Wigan's attacking threat to some extent and also made it harder for them to retain the ball at the back due to more aggressive pressing from Swansea.  This can be seen from Wigan keeper Joel Robel's passing pre and post the stoppage for Vorm's injury (after which Stam was introduced).
Robles passing first 85 minutes (left) and post substitutions, most balls going long with no success
I guess it's sort of a footnote to the game now, but I can only assume Ashley Williams got the nod to take the  indirect free kick in the first half because he's the player that can hit the ball the hardest.

It's the kind of situation you might only get a couple of times a season so no point practising, but would have been interesting to see something a bit more inventive that just smashing the hell out of it.  As a replacement to the 'lottery' of penalties I'd like to see a shoot out of a series of indirect free kicks from 10 yards out as it gets the whole team involved and is one of those things like 21 man brawls and referee's falling over that everyone loves.

Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats and Chalkboards: Created using Statszone

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Swansea 0 - Man City 0 Stats and Chalkboards

Last again on Match of The Day, but this will be as much for the relative lack of importance as the quality of the football.  There's no shame in a draw against a team who may have had a disappointing season but are still comfortably in second place.

It's not often a team has significantly more of the ball than Swansea (especially at the Liberty), but Man City completed almost double the number of passes (560 compared to 310 for Swansea) and almost 3 times as many passes in the attacking third (162 vs. 57).

Only one of the top 10 players in terms of pass completion was a Swansea player (Rangel 7th highest) where normally you'd expect 7 or 8 to be Swansea players in the top 10 but obviously not against a side like Man City.

The top level stats of only 1 shot on target for Swansea suggest a quiet day for Joe Hart, but in the first half in particular Swansea created some good chances, most of which came via Dyer.  Dyer created 4 chances in the game and no other player created more than 2.

Pablo continues to frustrate at times but I have a feeling that next season he will be one of the stand-out players in the side with Michu playing deeper (assuming we get a new forward) I think their interplay will be a key part of the hopeful progression of the side.

The second half was more Man City (Swansea only having 2 efforts at goal in the 2nd half, both from outside the box and both off target) but even with more of the ball Man City only managed 3 efforts on target all game (although to call Dzeko's miss a sitter is an understatement).

Milner was arguably one of Man City's more influential players with a lot of play going through him, in the second half he had a more central role and as a result the focus of Man City's attacked moved from left to right.
Swansea Interceptions by half - Showing the areas of attacking focus from Man City
Michu being out for the season is obviously a blow but an extra couple of weeks rest will probably do him the world of good, especially if Wigan end up winning the FA Cup and our Europa League campaign as to start in early August.

Wigan on Tuesday is arguably the last game of any major consequence this season and a win there will almost certainly guarantee a top half finish.  It's essential to seek to continually improve and things have maybe been a bit flat in recent weeks but you'd have to be mad to think of this season as anything other than an incredible success.

Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats and Chalkboards: Created using Statszone / EPL Index