Monday, 26 August 2013

Spurs 1 - Swans 0 Match Stats and Chalkboards

Two games in, pointless and bottom of the league doesn't sound too great, but to put it into a better context a point against West Brom next week would mean we'd have taken the same number of points in total (1) when compared with the three corresponding fixtures last season so there's an awful long way to go before needing to panic.

There's no doubt the better team won, but in games like this the margins between courageous draw and disappointing defeat are pretty small, especially when defeat comes as a result of a soft penalty.  Spurs had a few good chances, but a lot of their efforts were from long range that did little to trouble Vorm (who I thought had an excellent game).

The starting line-up was a bit of a strange one to some extent, not so much in not starting with Bony: when you're playing away at one of the top sides, it's perfectly reasonable to set up more defensively.  What I didn't quite get though was having both Shelvey and De Guzman: in a game where you're maybe setting up for a point then I'd arguably have Britton (or Ki) taking one of their places.

Overall, Swansea's passing didn't seem as fluid as it usually is but this has to be taken in the context of playing away at one of the top sides, you're not going be able to just turn up and spray the ball around.

Spurs' midfield were impressive in allowing Swansea little time on the ball around the centre circle, as can be see by the two sides passing charts, Swansea had plenty of the ball (even if a disproportionate amount of this was after the goal) but relatively little of it made its way into more dangerous areas.
Total Passes by each Team.  The key things of note here are the distinct lack of blue in the attacking third in central areas for Swansea compared to Spurs as well highlighting what attacking play Swansea did have was heavily down the left hand side
This can also be seen from the attempted forward passes from Shelvey and De Guzman with neither having huge success, as the passes were often rushed or played under pressure:
Forward passes by Shelvey/De Guzman
Pozuelo was impressive when he came on after the goal, but how much of this was a combination of fresh legs and the advantage of coming on when Swansea were forced to be more attacking is difficult to tell, but he certainly added a dynamism and willingness to take people on.  Before the goal, Swansea had attempted only 4 take-ons (attempted dribble past an opposition player) compared to 12 in the final 35 minutes or so after the goal.
Swansea attempted take-ons pre (left) and post (right) Spurs' goal.  Pozuelo had most successful take-ons for Swansea with 3.
The other thing that's noticeable from looking at the take-on's, is how much play went down Spurs' right hand side with Andros Townsend in particular involved in a lot of their attacking play:
Total take-ons by team, Spurs with plenty of take-ons in the middle and down the right
The level of involvement from Rangel is often a good barometer of the overall level of play from the team. As can be seen from where he received passes (and how many) vs. Spurs compared to the game against Man Utd, Rangel's role vs. Spurs was mainly a defensive one.
Rangel's Passes received vs. Man Utd (left) and Spurs (right), Rangel figured little in attack against Spurs, partly due to the difficulty in maintaining possession long enough to enable him to be included further up-field. 
Writing a regular blog about stats in football can sometimes feel like trying to suck the joy out of something beautiful.  Rational decision making based on solid quantitative analysis is arguably the way to get the most out of a team but cannot capture how much I love Chico Flores.

In terms of stats Chico won all 3 of his attempted tackles, won 6 of his 7 aerial duels and had the most clearances (14) of any player - next highest was Ash with 9.  This of course ignores his incredible volley, his dribbling skills around the Spurs area and picking fights with Jermain Defoe.  Chico plays like he's having a bloody great time being there and I have a great time watching him play.

Other Posts: Ki's shooting from last season reviewed

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