Thursday, 31 October 2013

Swans Shooting Positions by Player

As we've now had 9 games I've started to have a look at some overall season stats for the league and the first one I've looked at is shots.

There's a ton of stats out there but couldn't find anything looking at shots across a season by player rather than individual matches so have put some together myself.

These are available in an interactive presentation here (requires flash) but thought it also worth going through some of the main players in a bit more detail.

Overall, Swansea are 10th in terms of shots per game (120 so far, averaging 13.3 per game), in terms of location, it's a mix of the sensible good quality opportunities for Michu/Bony and then the more speculative from Shelvey (and a couple of once in a lifetime attempts from Chico).

One of the things that stands out is De Guzman's goal (the black circle about 25-30 yards out) being the only one outside the box and that almost all the goals come from pretty central inside the box, the only other exception being Shelvey's goal vs. Liverpool (to the right hand side of the goal).
Overall League shots (the two own goals vs Sunderland aren't included)
Michu has most shots so far with 27 overall, most tend to be in good positions, it's rare for Michu just to have a punt for the sake of it:
Michu's Attempts: Michu's shooting style is quite unusual as he often seems to get lots of power with little backlift which gives goalkeeper's less time to adjust
Next is Bony with 20 attempts, positions have generally been good (1 of the goals was a penalty and the other the good finish vs. Man Utd), 6 of the 20 were headers, and his aerial ability combined with that of Michu offers something extra this season.
Bony's attempts, think we'll see more made of his aerial ability as the season goes on
Next is Shelvey with 13, Jonjo certainly isn't afraid to have a shot (his original miskick that started his goal against Liverpool isn't classed as an attempt).  In terms of positions there's not many in great locations, the two on the right hand side of the box are from his goal vs. Liverpool and most are either from distance and/or not a great angle.
Shelvey arguably the Swansea player most willing to 'have a go' which has brought mixed results so far this season but at least provides something different
Fourth on the list in terms of number of attempts was a bit of a surprise as it's Chico with 12 which is actually as many as Dyer (8) and Routledge (4) combined.

Only 3 of the 12 were from headers and include 3 attempts that you'd describe as 'hopeful' if you were being generous, one day maybe one of these long range thunderbolts will go in (Sunday?) and he'll be able to dine out on it for the rest of his life but are the kind of shots that if you were looking for the 'optimum action' you'd look to keep possession which is where the dilemma comes in between doing the 'best' action and just having a bloody go.
Chico's Attempts: Chico isn't lacking in confidence and certainly has the ability to hit a good shot, his volley vs. Spurs was superb
There's a fine balance between being patient and retaining possession in hope of a better opportunity to come (it also stops the opposition from having the ball) and procrastinating and avoiding having a shot. Cardiff have concede the highest number of shots so far in the league this season (174: 19.3 per game compared to 12.1 by Swansea who are 14th highest) so the game on Sunday will hopefully give us some target practice.

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

Monday, 28 October 2013

Swans 0 - West Ham 0 Match Stats and Analysis

4 points from home games against Sunderland and West Ham is a decent (if not spectacular) return and matches that gained from the equivalent fixtures last season.  As Laudrup mentioned, West Ham are in 'our league' and even if they don't play the most sparkling football, they are no mugs and a point is an OK result from a match that could have gone either way.

The passing maps show the differences in approach, Swansea with lines everywhere but very little in the penalty area, West Ham with few passes but more activity in the opposition box:
Swans with most of the ball, but going side to side, West Ham going long and straight and with the ball going more into the danger area.
Looking at shots over time in the match, there are large periods of flat lines for both sides with Swansea only having 2 attempts in the whole of the first half and no attempts between the 17th and 54th minute.  Similarly West Ham have only a single attempt at goal between the start of the second half and the 86th minute.

Swansea only had 10 attempts all game, 4 of which came in a couple of minutes in part due to a couple of blocked/shots clearances in quick succession.
At half time the shot count was 11 to 2 in West Ham's favour despite Swansea having most of the ball, in some ways not playing a striker in a 4-6-0 formation can be thought of as negative but it also means that when you do counter attack, you have the benefit of space that isn't afforded to the team with most of the possession.

I'm currently looking at shot location for the Swans so far this season and it's noticeable the lack of goals from outside the box (as has been the case in previous seasons), this combined with the low number of goals from set pieces (even allowing for last week vs. Sunderland  ) means that the Swans have to work pretty hard for each goal where other teams might have a greater number of 'lower effort' goals (whether that's long range shots or set-pieces).

Premier League Shots (prior to West Ham), Chico's effort v. Sunderland officially classified as an off-target attempt (and Fletcher Own-Goal)
The black dot that stands out in the chart above is, De Guzman's vs. Sunderland as almost all the Swansea goals so far this season have come from 'Prime' positions.  Shelvey's vs. Liverpool the other exception.

In terms of plus points from the game, as well as Ash's return, Pablo was also impressive in his half hour or so on the pitch with more take-ons than any other player (5 from 5 attempts) and offers something more direct, not in a lump it forward way, but in a willingness to try the killer ball (which is in some ways why some people get on his back as when it doesn't work it can look wasteful).

It was surprising to see Bony's form raised as a talking point from the weekend in the Guardian.  I think being a club's record signing by some distance means that big things are expected but I think the line in the piece about Laudrup not being sold on Bony is hugely overstating things although I've no idea if Laudrup will look to keep it tight and controlled with both Leon and Canas starting v. Cardiff or if he'll think that a game that might be high-tempo (and high-tempered) would benefit from a more attacking line up to exploit the likely spaces.

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

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Swans 4 - Sunderland 0 Match Analysis

Reading Twitter before the match predictions for this game were a mix of 3-0's and 'happy with a draw' comments, for me there's a big difference between predicting 3-0 because you're confident and being disappointed or thinking that the wheels are coming off if we'd had just ended up with a draw.

I thought De Guzman's comment that the win was 'mandatory' is a case of just being focused on this one match rather than a cause for panic if we'd failed to win, I guess as a footballer you have to go in with the attitude that the game you're about to play is all-important otherwise you won't perform to your optimal level.

To score twice from corners was a bonus (even if they were both possibly own goals - I've seen Chico's both given to him and an o.g.), for me De Guzman is the most technically gifted player in the squad and has scored some delightful goals but his corner taking has in general been pretty average since he joined.

The first half hour was pretty flat but like Arsenal did to us a few weeks ago, a burst of activity in the quarter of an hour after the break put us in a comfortable position:
Shots by minute, Swans taking 30 minutes before first shot
It was good to see Leon back, I was asked after the Southampton game about the relative performance with/without Leon (prior to yesterday these were the league stats per season):

The overall comparison is that Swans have a slightly higher loss rate when Leon doesn't start but it's relatively small numbers and in part down to comparatively worse results this season (which is in part due to strength of fixtures so far).

The thing that stood out for me though, was how few games he's failed to start in since we got to the Premier League, the strength of squad now along with Europa League however means that he's bound to start fewer league games.  If Canas and Shelvey start in Leon and De Guzman's place on Thursday that shows the strength in that area (and why it was sensible for Ki to move on for this season at least).

There's an interesting piece looking at Bony's contribution on the Swansea Official Site I think because of his transfer fee people expect something spectacular every week but Swansea frontman is often a lonely role and although his link up play is looking good so far, his main job is to finish chances at a higher rate than managed by Graham and Shechter and I'm pretty confident he can manage that with plenty to spare.

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

Monday, 7 October 2013

Southampton 2 - Swans 0 Match Stats and Chalkboards

I'm not a believer in Karma or even the mantra that 'luck evens itself out over a season' but given the number of escapes Swansea had against St Gallen on Thursday it's difficult to get too downbeat about this result.

Overall, the performance was pretty good but a slow start, a defensive omnishambles towards the end along with a good display from Boruc meant that this time we enter the international break on the back of a defeat.

In terms of shots, Swansea had 17 compared to Southampton's 12, 6 of the 17 were headers (Southampton had 1) which was a rarity from Swansea but with Bony's presence is a useful extra weapon.
Shots by Minute, Southampton with only 3 attempts (but 1 goal) in the 2nd half
In terms of quantity, Swansea certainly had more in the 2nd half but arguably the better quality chances came in the first including the excellent move that saw Dyer hitting the post.  Of the 7 saves Boruc had to make, 6 came in the 1st half.

With regards to passing, Southampton's certainly looked more fragile in the 2nd half as they struggled to put much together with Swansea dominating possession:
Pass Stats by Half showing a big swing in volume and also a large drop off in completion rate for Southampton

Apart from the absence of Williams in the starting line up due to injury, this was arguably the first choice side that started against Southampton with the only areas for discussion being would you have Britton instead of Canas (someone asked me on Twitter about the relative win rates with/without Leon which unless anyone already has the answer I'll probably look into sometime over the international break) or using Britton/De Guzman as an extra midfielder instead of playing Bony.

One of the plus points from the match was Dyer's performance, last season it was a rarity for Dyer to play the full 90 minutes but he's done so for 3 of the 5 league games he's started this season.  With Pablo hopefully back to fitness after the break it'll be interesting to see whether Routledge is the one of the 3 who misses out on a starting spot.

The next 5 games see home matches against Sunderland/West Ham/Stoke along with visits to Cardiff and Fulham, while the 'no easy games' mantra should of course be trotted out and the Cardiff game will be 'interesting' to say the least, the other 4 are ones that offer real opportunity for points.

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