Dissecting Swanselona

My take on Swansea City’s season so far.

Well, I like watching Swansea and I think they’ll stay up in the Premier League. And I’m not saying this because my dad’s cousin sister lives in Swansea and her husband, being an Arsenal fan, has given me Man United jerseys, T-shirts and even Socks.

My prediction is purely based on their performance in 16 games. 8 Home and 8 Away.

Beyond everyone’s expectations, Swansea are sitting comfortably in 12th position with 18 points after 16 games. They have won 4, drawn 6 and lost 6. All of those 4 wins have come at home, along with 1 loss and 3 draws. Swansea’s away form has been nothing but disaster. They have lost 5 and drawn 3 games. 

It is important for any club to keep your starting XI play together for most of the season except in case of tactical changes, injuries and suspensions. And it is a dream for any manager to have their best players in the starting XI, injury free and without suspensions.

Swansea have just managed to do that. They have used only 24 players for their 16 games. Only Man City, Norwich and Wigan have used lesser (23).

Their back four has been consistent for most of the games with Rangel (13 starts), Ashley Williams (16), Monk (10) and Neil Taylor (15). The U-21 Steven Caulker has replaced Gary Monk for the last 6 games and has helped to keep 4 clean sheets.

Talking of clean sheets, their £1,500,000 signing Michel Vorm has been excellent shot stopper and has quick reflexes. He has kept 8 clean sheets, making Swansea, the only team along with Man United to have kept maximum clean sheets so far in the season. As far as the returns of investment is considered, 8 clean sheets in 16 games is a perfect answer.

The midfield too has been consistent. Nathan Dyre, Leon Britton, Joe Allen, Mark Gower and Wayne Routledge have started maximum games. Scott Sinclair and the summer signing Danny Graham have featured up front.

What has impressed me is their passing game and fluidity in passing, which got them their nickname Swanselona. The passing accuracy too has been incredible for a newly promoted team.

The problem area, however is the goals. For all their passing in defense and midfield, the shots on goal have been less. In 16 games, they have fired only 167 shots (90 on target and 77 off target), lesser than Blackburn, Wigan and Bolton. Scott Sinclair has fired 45 out of 167 shots in 16 appearances (27%, 23 on target and 22 off target). Their main striker Danny Graham has fired 27 shots in 14 appearances (16%, 10 on target and 17 off target). What that means is out of 22 out field players used by Swansea, 43% of the shots have been fired by these two and rest 57% by 20 other players.

The conversion of Shots on target to goals too has been low. Danny Graham is the leading goal scorer having scored 5 (out of 10 shots on target) league goals, followed by Scott Sinclair on 4 (out of 23 shots on target). 3 of Sinclair’s goals have been from the penalty spot. 

They have scored just 16 goals in 16 games. The average of goal per game still might sound decent, but the reality is different in Home and Away games. 10 out of 16 goals which The Swans scored, have come at home. Out of these 10, 3 have been penalties. Swansea have failed to score in 4 of their home and away matches. Just 6 goals in 8 away matches is low.

They are defensively solid at home, keeping 6 clean sheets and letting in just 2 goals. Only one conceded against Man United has resulted in a their only home loss. 

On road the situation is worrying though. In 8 games, Swansea has shipped 18 goals, averaging 2.25 per game and have kept only 2 clean sheets (at Ainfield impressively and St. James’ Park). Michel Vorm has been busy in the away fixtures. He has made 58 saves in 8 away matches (7.25 per game), compared to just 33 saves in 8 home games (4.13 per game).

Swansea’s remaining 3 fixtures are against Everton (Away), QPR and Spurs (Home), before the reverse fixtures start. As far as the form of these teams are concerned Swansea can expect 4 points out of 9, which can propel them to 22 points, leaving them to get 18 points in 19 remaining games.

It is true that you will not lose if you don’t concede goals but it is certain that you will not win if you don’t score them.

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