Monday, 29 September 2014

Sunderland 0 - Swans 0 Stats and Chalkboards

I think Ki's description of  the game as 'a bit boring' hits the nail on the head, some matches you just take the point and move on to the next week, especially after having to play from the 80th minute with 10 men.

Even without the sending off, this, like the other 5 league games so far this season was another game where the opposition had more shots.  Shot volumes aren't everything but Swansea's success so far in the league has been due to taking the odd very good chance that's come along rather than creating a multitude of average chances.
Sunderland with 15 shots overall, but almost half of those coming from a couple of short spells of pressure (around 35 min and 88 min)
Pass wise it can be seen how post the sending off Swansea retreat into a shell:
Passes per minute (by 5 min period), Sunderland with very little of the ball in the first 25 minutes, Swansea with little of it post 60 minute mark
When looking at the cumulative figures, Swansea had double the passing volume of Sunderland in the first half but Swansea's control goes long before Rangel's dismissal:
The change in passing volumes ties in with Jordi Gomez's introduction. Gomez made 27 passes after coming on in the 58th minute with Cattermole being their highest passed with 42 passes over the 90
Despite only playing a third of the match, Gomez also made more final third passes than anyone else, although this will have been helped by the sending off as the pass figures from the 85th minute onwards show a total (and understandable) defensive mindset from Sunderland.

Pass Volumes from 85th minute to end of the match, Sunderland working mainly down Swansea's right
Getting to double figures after just 6 games is a great achievement (this took 8 games in both seasons under Laudrup and 10 games in 11/12 under Rodgers) and all is pretty rosy at the moment although a few more shots per game wouldn't hurt,

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

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Swans 3 - Everton 0 Match Stats

After two defeats in a row, this win both gives confidence in the short term before the match against Sunderland on Saturday but also longer term shows that the likes of Everton on not out of reach (admittedly Everton have had to play Thu-Sun-Tue and it wasn't a fully first choice XI but it's still a great result).

Shot wise Everton had the better of the first half but only 2 efforts in the second half and only managed 2 shots on target all game.
Swansea again getting outshot but arguably having the better quality opportunities
No Statszone/Squawka data available for Capital One cup games but there were plenty of positive performances again highlighting the depth of the squad.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Swans 0 - Southampton 1 Match Stats and Chalkboards

This game obviously hinged on the Bony sending off and as such makes it hard to read too much into it other than Swansea looked the better team at 11v11 so there's not too much to be downbeat about with the added bonus that Bony's suspension will be for a game he would have been on the bench for anyway (it'll be interesting to see if Modou Barrow gets any game time v Everton where Everton's fixture schedule of Thu-Sun-Tue give us a great chance to get one over on one of our bogey teams of recent years).

Shot wise, all of Swansea's 5 shots we with Bony on the pitch and all bar 1 of Southampton's efforts were after he was sent off:
Southampton with relatively consistent shot volumes over the course of the 2nd half, although 10 in a 45 minute period isn't a huge number
Pass wise the figures are equally bleak in the 2nd half for Swansea:
There's a major change in the gradient of the two lines in the second half (especially the last half hour where Swansea passing volumes almost flatline)
This can be seen in even more detail when looking at individual 5 minute periods:
There's a large period of the 2nd half (around 55-85 min) where Swansea are averaging less than a couple of passes a minute as Southampton have near total control
The next two league games are against Sunderland and Newcastle both of whom have form that you could consider to be erratic at best, although points wise things are still looking good, with another international break looming after those two games, a couple of points at least would help to keep the focus up rather than down the table.

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

Friday, 19 September 2014

Swansea - Southampton Preview

Saturday's match sees the meeting of the two teams seen by the bookies as 'The best of the Rest' outside the top 7 (time will tell if Everton's Europa League campaign means they get dragged back in to the 'others' as opposed to those chasing Champions League places).

Southampton are a bit like Swansea in that to outside observers this season might have appeared to be one in which they would struggle but look deeper and there's still a good team there. I've always had a soft spot for Southampton, not least because of Matt Le Tissier and this piece on his goal v Newcastle in 1993 is fantastic.

Southampton (along with Liverpool) have conceded the fewest shots per game (8.25: 33 from 4 games), within that there's games against Shot-Shy West Ham (4 Shots) and the more attack minded Liverpool (12 shots), but looking at the shot map of chances conceded suggests a decent defensive display so far this season:
Southampton have only conceded 3 goals in their 4 league games to date
At the other end, Southampton have scored 8 from 34 shots so far including 4 in a thrashing of Newcastle:
Southampton League Shot Chart
Looking at Southampton's shot chart, there's quite a bit of activity at the edge of the 6-yard box, delving deeper a fair bit of that is due to headers, with 8 of their shots (and 1 goal) coming this way.
Southampton's Cluster of Headed shots - possibly an area to watch 
Where Southampton have a lot of activity close in, Swansea's chances have tended to be a bit further out, although a number of them have been the result of through balls to create 1v1s:
Swansea Shots - JT own goal not included.
Although I'm hoping for an exciting game, unless there's a goal in the first 20 minutes I can see this being quite a cagey match with both sides happy with a point.  I'd expect both teams to finish somewhere between 8th-12th but good results in matches like this could give hope that 7th isn't out of reach.

For more on the game - injury news/projected lineups check out The Swansea Way

Other Posts: Premier league Shot LocationWorld Cup Shot Location World Cup Distance + Sprint Stats
Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Chelsea 4 - Swans 2 Stats and Chalkboards

Top of the league for 20 minutes, it was fun while it lasted.  Although 4 goals (and 29 shots) conceded there was plenty to take encouragement from although the last half hour felt like a slow suffocation.
A great first 30 minutes but a tough 2nd half
Ki in particular seemed to find himself in acres of space during the first half but the introduction of Ramires made things a lot tougher in midfield:
Chelsea ball recoveries by half, far more advanced in the 2nd half (right image)
The change in the flow of the game can also be seen by the pass volumes over time, Swansea with plenty of the ball early on (even if it was in relatively unthreatening areas most of the time) but from about 65 minutes it was one way traffic.
Cumulative Pass volumes by minute (Statszone data for last 10 not fully available but trend clear from 65 minutes on)
Costa now has 7 goals from just 14 shots which is pretty incredible:
A 50% conversion rate isn't sustainable but you'd expect him to finish with 25+ goals by the end of the season comfortably
Costa obviously gets the headlines and Fabregas another two assists but it was arguably Hazard who ran the show for Chelsea from an attacking point of view.  He had 9 successful take ons (from 10 attempts), 5 more than Gomis who had 4 from 5 and who I thought had an excellent game turning Cahill on a regular basis.

It'd be easy to say if only we'd held on until half time or if only Gomis had taken his 1v1 to make it 2-2 that things could be different, some weeks you get the breaks, other weeks you don't.  What large parts of this match showed is that we can give any team a run for their money.

Other Posts: Premier league Shot LocationWorld Cup Shot Location World Cup Distance + Sprint Stats
Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Chelsea - Swansea Stats Preview

There would always be plenty of excitement when it comes to playing your fellow table-topping team, but with the publicity around the Jack To A King film and Garry Monk awarded Premier League Manager of the month (and finding fame in Italy as one of the 'New Wizards' of European football  - article from Gazetta here)

All this, along with the extra week of waiting due to internationals has meant the anticipation for this game has mushroomed.

League wise, Stamford Bridge hasn't been a great place to visit in the Premier League era (P3 L3), but the Capital One Cup Semi First Leg was one of the highlights of recent years, where the usually excellent Ivanovic had a bit of a shocker.
Danny Graham with the second goal in the Semi (photo from Nicky Hayes Photography)
As someone who writes a football stats blog, I'm well aware of the concept of luck impacting on the result of any given match but also that stats can sometimes be misleading.  Swansea have scored 6 goals from 30 shots but conceded only 1 from 42 faced.

Although we were maybe a bit fortunate to survive the second half against Burnley unscathed and if Rooney's free-kick at 1-1 had gone in instead of hit the post things could be different, but overall I'd argue Swansea were the better team in each game (Man Utd might have dominated the shot count 14-5 but created relatively little).

I'd argue that the chances Swansea have had have been of a higher quality, largely down to Gylfi's assists, with Ki's calmly taken finish at Old Trafford with no defensive pressure (thanks to Bony's block on Jones) along with Dyer's 3 goals all of which have been 1v1s.
Swansea's shots in the league so far: 3 Dyer goals on the right hand side
Of the 42 shots Swansea have conceded, only 8 have been on target, Fabianski's made some good saves and generally commanded his box well but overall hasn't been tested too much which is credit to the side as a whole but Williams and Amat in particular.  It may be that at some stage it's Fernandez who comes in as well to make a 3 to enable both Bony and Gomis to play in a 3-5-2 but that's something for the future, as things stand it'll be either Amat (who it'd be harsh to drop even it it was the right decision) or Fernandez and up front either Bony (who has played well but has the leagues highest total for shots without a goal - 10) or Gomis.

As Gomis is fresh compared to an international weary Bony who will have barely trained with the club over the last 2 weeks, it may be Gomis who starts with Bony coming on to wreak some havoc in the last 30 minutes.
Hopefully we'll see more of Bony in command on Saturday
Chelsea, with 10 goals (+1 o.g.,) from their 50 shots have the same shot conversion rate (20%) as Swansea but on significantly more shots:
Chelsea's shot chart in the league in 2014/15
Much has obviously be made about Chelsea's lack of a finisher in recent years and how Costa will make the difference and that's certainly happened so far with Costa being named player of the month after scoring 4 goals in 3 games (from just 9 shots).
Costa has almost already matched Torres' league stats from last year where he scored 5 goals from 61 shots.
When you look at Chelsea's league goal map from last season you can see plenty of goals from deep within the 6 yard box and also loads from the edge of the area (largely due to Hazard's 14 league goals) but relatively little from around the penalty spot.  How much of Costa's activity will be incremental as opposed to reducing the return from Hazard/Oscar will determine where Chelsea finish this season but it would be a surprise if they don't end up in the top 2.
Chelsea with a far higher number of goals from the edge of the box compared with other top teams
As I wrote back on the eve of the season opener with Man Utd, Monk (and Huw Jenkins) have a different approach to the big games, where Laudrup was maybe more pragmatic and looked to keep things tight, Monk seems to have a more optimistic view.

I think it'd be wrong to consider matches like this as 'David v Goliath' as although financially Chelsea dwarf Swansea, it's not like they're a group of accountants and bus drivers, most are regular internationals for their country with a number having been bought from £5m+, the margins at this level are small and with a fair wind anything is possible.

Other Posts: Premier league Shot LocationWorld Cup Shot Location World Cup Distance + Sprint Stats
Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka

Monday, 1 September 2014

Swans 3 - WBA 0 Stats and Chalkboards

With a two week break between the third and fourth league games, the outcome of those first 3 games could well define the narrative for the rest of the season.  In my head I was hoping for 6 or 7 points from those games but willing to consider 4 points an OK start, to get 9 is superb.

In the review of the Burnley game I mentioned that had we got a second goal that we arguably deserved from the 1st half play in that game, it could well have turned out to be a comfortable 3-0 rather than a case of riding our luck a bit.

Against West Brom, that second goal came along (and how! I still can't quite get my head around how Routledge gets the power on the shot but still ends up landing on his feet) with the third following mid way through the 2nd half.
West Brom with a late flurry but already 3 down by then. Swansea have had fewer shots than the opposition in all 3 games but mainly from a position of protecting a lead
As great as Routledge's goal was, and as encouraging as it is to see Dyer with 3 goals already, the main story has to be the impact Gylfi Sigurdsson has had on the season so far.  Of the 6 league goals scored so far, he's scored 1, assisted 4 and also crossed the ball in that was only half cleared for Routledge to work his magic.

I remember those brief few days in Summer 2012 when Brendan was still manager and Gylfi had agreed to sign, such was his impact my first thought was 'We're safe next season then'.

I'm certainly glad it didn't happen but there's a parallel universe somewhere in which Pulis managed to sign Gylfi and is still in charge of Crystal Palace.  It's always difficult to know what's true and what's rumour but I can imagine Pulis felt pretty much the same in that having someone like Gylfi in your team pretty much guarantees goals and that failing to land targets like him was making his job harder than he wanted it to be.

To put those 4 assists so far this season into context, it's as many as any player managed for Swansea in the league during our first season in the Premier League 2011/12 (Gylfi himself had 3 from half a season), and already closing in on the 6 in 2012/13 and 7 last season from Pablo.
After 3 games this season Gylfi is joint top of the assists chart in the league with Cesc Fabregas with no other player having more than 2 assists so far in the league this season
There's no reason to be afraid of anyone this season and with arguably the strongest squad we've had over the 4 seasons in the Premier League the target has to be top half or even the 'best of the rest' title for 8th place, that said safety is always the first target and considering West Brom were able to stay up with only 7 wins (and 15 draws) that's a long way towards being achieved already.

Twitter: @we_r_pl
Match Stats: Created using Statszone , Whoscored  and Squawka
Other Posts: Premier league Shot LocationWorld Cup Shot Location World Cup Distance + Sprint Stats