Distance Covered Stats - Improvement Needed
Swansea City are currently well below their distance covered stats after 7 games in the Premier League so far in 2017/18 - compared to last season`s figures.
Paul Clement saw a significant improvement in that area when he first came in as manager back in January as he steered us to safety from what seemed an almost impossible position.
But those distance covered figures have dropped significantly again, so much so that they are way down compared to the total distance we covered after 7 games last season. 7 games when we were managed by Francesco Guidolin, when it was widely regarded that the squad`s fitness levels weren`t at the levels required during his tenure.
However, the Swans were more of a pressing team back then, particularly at home, where they pushed forward and onto the defensive lines of the opposition - against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City. High pressing helps to add to your distance covered, while Clement`s style of sitting back doesn`t.
The fact that we`ve covered 738km so far this season, which is almost 35km short of the 772.6km we managed this time last season, has to be something of a concern for Paul Clement - although not quite as much of a worry as his team`s severely lack of attacking quality and creativity.
The Swansea City head coach was openly critical of his side`s effort in the 1-0 home defeat against Newcastle United, saying that the distance covered figures in that game were way down compared to the figures that were recorded under him in the previous season.
"Our physical output could be higher too. Some of the physical statistics we were achieving at the end of last season were much better than what we`ve had so far this season, so that`s got to improve.
"The cohesiveness of the team and those movements wasn`t quite there and for me that`s understandable because we`ve got new players.
"That will come, but the other things have to be there now.
"Things like distance covered, most importantly the distance covered at speed. Some of those things are impacted on with the tactics of a game but in general they are lower than what we are capable of. So we`ve got to be better.'
The former Derby manager has also spoken about how the training work isn`t transferring to the pitch, as his side have lost a further two games since the Newcastle defeat.
You probably wouldn`t be too surprised to see that former midfielder Jack Cork tops the charts for distance covered so far in the Premier League. He was never the sort of player who would produce stand out performances, but he was a dependable and reliable midfielder who - as the stats suggest - would always put in a good shift in every game.
Recently, fans haven`t been impressed with new £16m signing Sam Clucas, who cost double the amount that we sold Jack Cork to Burnley for. It begs the question as to why we bothered with these two deals in the first place. Clement has also spoken about signing players that improve the squad, but Clucas has yet to prove that he has - so far he`s only convinced us that there`s a long way to go until he looks like a regular first team player.
The former Hull man has played in a deep-lying role, but I`m not convinced that that is his strongest or preferred position. He`s had two defensive moments that have stood out, and it would be interesting to see if he`s better in a more advanced position.
The problem Clement currently has is that he doesn`t really have one in-form midfielder who`s one of the first names on the team-sheet. Some fans calling for Leon Britton to start pretty much sums it up. You`d hope that Mesa and Sanches can quickly establish themselves as first team players. Carroll hasn`t matched last season`s form, Clucas - not sure of his strongest position and Leroy Fer is an impact player at best. In terms of attacking midfielders, Gylfi Sigurdsson hasn`t been replaced, and Clement may well have to turn to Jordan Ayew, Luciano Narsingh or even - dare I say it - Wayne Routledge to fill that huge gap.
What are your thoughts? Should the Swans have kept Jack Cork if we just replaced him with Sam Clucas, or is too early to judge the new signing? Let us know in the comments below…