'Taking Liberties'?

It is always interesting after a match, in the cold light of day, to see if the statistics match up to what we saw with our own eyes.

What came out of of the Swansea match according to BBC Statistics is the following;

Possession                    NUFC 32%     Swansea 68%

Total Shots                   NUFC 5          Swansea 19

Shots On Target           NUFC  4        Swansea 13

Corners                          NUFC 0          Swansea 7

Goals                              NUFC 2            Swansea 0

I think this is a match where statistics can only tell a fraction of the match story.

Yes Swansea might have had an overwhelming percentage of possession but the TV stats showed that the vast majority of the match was played in the middle third – well away from the goals!

Watching on TV later I also noticed the commentator raving about Swansea midfielder Leon Britton being ‘the most accurate passer in Europe’!

The reality is that he isn’t hitting 60 yard defence splitting balls every other minute, rather he is dropping back every other minute and doing half a dozen one-twos with his goalkeeper and centre-backs!

It’s the David Batty syndrome, he was always flying high in the Opta ratings because he never tried to pass the ball more than five yards.

Anyway, this isn’t a have a go at Swansea article because I actually really like them and it shows that if you instil a footballing mentality you can get a relatively average group of players to all be comfortable on the ball, a bit of a Barcelona shandy.

As well as our match showing the necessity for high class strikers such as a Cisse or Ba, what the stats don’t tell you is that for all Swansea apparently had 19 shots, Tim Krul’s most anxious moment was a softish shot taking a deflection off Williamson.

Most of Swansea’s attempts were from way out as they struggled to get through our defence and as for them having 13 shots supposedly on target, much like Liverpool I think most of these were dealt with by blocks form committed outfield players.

All credit to Swansea for what they are achieving but you can’t beat having the class of players like Cabaye and Cisse who only needed two decent situations to wrap the match up.