Date:Saturday October 12 2013
Come On You Swans.com analyses Swansea City's defeat at Southampton.
Swansea City were punished for lacking a clinical edge at St Mary's as despite dominating most of the game, Southampton scored either side of half time win 2-0 to see their impressive early form continue in the Premier League.
Swansea's slow and sluggish start to the game saw them inevitably go a goal down within 19 minutes, as Lallana - who looked likely from the first whistle, fired in from inside the penalty area. The goal spurred Laudrup's side into action, as they dominated the remaining 26 minutes of the first half.
Despite the dominance, which continued into the second half, the Swans couldn't get through an organised defence, but a lack of finishing plus some good goalkeeping also cost them at least a point - and those factors are the main focus in this match analysis.
Laudrup was fortunate to welcome back Angel Rangel to the side. It was no surprise to see Nathan Dyer perform better on the right flank following the return of the Spanish defender, as the two players have formed an excellent partnership over the last few years.
A lot has also been said lately about the poor crossing in the team. Ben Davies has been truly excellent since his debut last season and the only thing lacking in his game lately has been his crossing ability - but he's not the only one.
In the game against Southampton, Swansea delivered 9 successful crosses out of a total of 29. Of those 29 (which include corners), only 7 of them came from the last side - of which none were successful.
To sum up their partnership in the game, all 7 accurate crosses came from either Dyer (5) or Rangel (2).
Above shows the distribution of crosses in the game, with the majority delivered from the right flank.
Rather surprisingly, Laudrup decided to keep Wilfried Bony in the starting line-up, as the club's record signing played two games consecutively for the first time since his £12m move from Vitesse after playing three days earlier in the Europa League.
Fans had questioned the manager's decision to leave such a player on the bench against Arsenal, but the Swans were still on the losing end when naming a more attacking side, with Bony up top - and Michu dropping back in the hole.
'A poor start saw Swans playing catch-up'
The Swans began poorly, made some unforced errors and just looked slow and sluggish early on and the danger signs were there when Southampton created an early chance that they should have converted.
The move for the Saints starts thanks to Jonjo Shelvey putting himself under pressure. He hesitates when making a pass and in the end he curls a left-footed shot that's difficult to take for Ben Davies. In the screenshot above, Davies has volleyed the ball straight back in field, but it's over Canas' head and Southampton can gain possession and look to exploit the gaps left behind.
Below, shows the mess the Swans have put themselves in, as Lambert has two options to play a through ball but fortunately the Swans defence could recover in time and a shot goes off target.
Where the game was won/lost:
A collection of poor mistakes and missed chances. Yes, the Southampton goalkeeper made a couple of great saves but the Swans still created more than enough chances and got into enough good positions to equal the opposition's goal tally at least. Some credit has to go to the hosts, they took the few chances they had, scored their opener during their best spell, rode their luck at times but looked a very organised and difficult side to break down in the second half.
Their two banks of four were difficult to get beyond in the second half and Swansea's slim hopes of getting an equaliser were ruined after a poor mistake by Chico Flores.
It's not like Chico Flores to make such a basic error as this one, and you have to wonder whether Ashley Williams' absence and leadership is seeing a drop in the Spaniard's level of performances. In hindsight, you'd like to think that the club captain would have instructed his defensive partner to simply head the ball back to the goalkeeper.
In the screenshot above, the ball (circled, small) has been headed on by fellow centre back Jordi Amat. It's not the best of headers, but Chico is covering and we've drawn in the flight of the ball and where we would have liked it to end up - headed straight back into the safe hands of Michel Vorm.
With Rodriguez not giving up on the loose ball and sensing a potential opening, he's in luck when Chico allows it to bounce, giving him the opportunity to challenge. Chico then tries to be clever, attempting to block Rodriguez and bring the ball down and distribute it as the team like to do from their first third. We've seen him to do those type of turns and recoveries before, but this time it went horribly wrong.
The opening goal gave Southampton a small lead from the 18th minute, meaning the Swans had to recover from a poor and slow start to try and get back into the game. If they had gone in at half time with the scores still unchanged then they'd have put themselves in a far promising position to get at least point.
However, poor mistakes gifted the home side the lead.
A cross from Lallana - who ends up scoring, is headed away by Chico Flores, but Canas is slow to react to the aerial ball, he loses out and the ball is headed back into the danger area. At the bottom of the picture above, Ben Davies is far too high up the pitch, and Lallana has a good 2-3 yards head-start, and runs into a massive free area (shaded) picking up the ball and firing in an unstoppable shot past Vorm.
Was the scoreline a fair reflection on the game?
It wasn't a 2-0 game in any means. Swansea had more possession, created more chances and made more passes - dominated large spells in both halves of the game but Southampton remained disciplined in defence, made no errors and finished the few chances they had, which you can't say the same for the Swans unfortunately.
Date:Saturday October 12 2013
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