Date: 26th September 2017 at 9:21pm
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Following captain Federico Fernandez’s comments this week that the team ‘don’t feel comfortable on the ball’ and how we need to get back to a possession and passing-based game, I thought it would be worth a look to see just how much has the ‘Swansea way’ declined over the last 6 years.

Following last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat against Watford, which saw us produce one of our worst performances at the Liberty Stadium since Bob Bradley was in charge, Fernandez – now captain and probably our most consistent performer so far this season – has come out and told BBC Sport that ‘we don’t feel comfortable on the ball’, and he also briefly mentioned that the team need to ‘press high’ and ‘keep the ball our way’.

The Argentinian defender said:

‘I think in some moments we don’t feel comfortable with the ball, we don’t pass three or four times,’

‘That’s hard because our style was always to keep the ball and find the space.

‘When we’re at home we need to start well, press high, keep the ball our way.’

‘The [Manchester] United game was different, but Newcastle and then (against Watford) we made mistakes and gave away cheap goals,’

Manager Paul Clement has done some fantastic work, keeping us last season was a miracle but he’s adding some unwanted records to his name, lowest possession and attempted passes in games, as well as being the first time in our history that we’ve lost our first three home league games.

Saturday’s game saw the Swans as negative as they’ve probably ever been at home. Fernandez’s words above were backed up by the performance. We did look uncomfortable on the ball as we continuously made careless passes that kept conceding us possession. We still can’t get back to being a true footballing side, but it would be harsh and unfair to blame that on the manager, because recruitment of players is crucial to being able to implement a desired style.

The charts below demonstrate – firstly our possession, attempted passes and shots per game – in every game we’ve played so far in the Premier League. It’s clear to see there’s a downward trend.

The closer the dots – the great the consistency, and looking at the first chart – possession, our consistency in possession has dropped in the last year in particular. We’re also averaging less shots and less passes per game. It’s worth mentioning too that in Michael Laudrup’s second season – albeit when he later got sacked, saw the Swans have 52%+ possession in every game, before you notice a nosedive when Garry Monk was appointed in early 2014.

The charts below also shows a pie chart for home and away game split, managers, and results, which allow you to cross filter between the multiple graphs – allowing for comparisons etc.

Let us know what you think of the charts, and if you’d like to see similar charts or charts looking at different stats – just let us know via the comments…


2 Replies to “Swansea City Passing & Possession 6-Year Trends”

  • The charts are great for showing where our style has changed over the seasons. it clearly shows how we altered our approach under Monk and maybe we haven’t been so good possession wise since then. But I think the key factor in where we have been going wrong is our pressing game. Our defenders tend to sit very deep to give themselves more space to pass the ball between themselves and this tends to pull the midfield back as well. Against Watford it was very clear this was happening as we hardly pressed forward at all until Mesa came on. This lack of a high press makes us vulnerable to any mistakes we make because if we lose the ball by a misplaced pass then it is usually in the danger area. I think this lack of pressing coincides with the loss of Leon Britton. He forces us to go forward by his style of play. Mesa can do it as well as it showed in the second half against Watford. Until we shift the focus and position of our defenders higher up the pitch we will continue to struggle.

  • Hi Phil, glad you like the charts, our passes and shots in particular have come down and the consistency of possession is all over the pace, compared to say when Laudrup was in charge. Think you’ve hit in the nail on the head as well regarding our pressing, even Guidolin adopted quite a high press last season at home against likes of Liverpool and Man City and that helped to keep things tight for the first hour or so at least. I miss a high press and hate seeing us inviting teams on to us at home, it’s just not our way of playing.

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