Revenge is a dessert best served cold. I never fully understood that quote until I looked it up a while back. In case you don’t know, what it basically means is that it’s better to get your revenge over somebody after a significant amount of time has passed, as you’ll enjoy it better having had more time to reflect on things and therefore revel in your retribution when it finally arrives. I’m guessing that at the final whistle yesterday, for those Swansea players who were beaten by a 4-2 score line at Ewood Park last December in a game they actually dominated more than they did at the Liberty yesterday in a comprehensive 3-0 victory, their revenge for that earlier defeat was indeed, sweet.
So how do the two games statistically compare? Well, in the game yesterday, Swansea attempted 612 passes, completing 549 for a 90% accuracy rate. In the away fixture, they actually passed the ball more – 694 passes – completing 618 for an almost identical accuracy of 89%. In terms of attacking intent, again, Swansea were more threatening in the away fixture with 47% of their passes forward against 26% yesterday. I remember walking away from Ewood Park in December, scratching my head that after such dominance, Swansea had managed to allow Yakubu the opportunity to score four goals from Blackburn’s five shots on target, in a game that Blackburn had offered very, very little. I wrote last week about a smash and grab by Newcastle United in their 2-0 victory at the Liberty, well that first Blackburn game was a mugging of Great Train Robbery proportions.
I have no doubt that at some point during the last week, Brendan Rodgers would have looked at the DVD of that previous game with the squad and pointed out the way that Swansea’s passing game had completely nullified Blackburn and, with a little tighter defending, should have delivered a certain and deserved victory. Swansea City are a better Premier League side now than the one they were back in December, I’m guessing Rodgers would have suggested to his players yesterday that Blackburn Rovers are not.
But one thing that I would have thought Blackburn would have been yesterday was hungry. Hungry and committed in a battle to attempt to secure their Premier League safety, but frankly they were neither, and I will be stunned if they now manage to avoid the drop. As most fans know, analysing the midfield is an area that is usually a relevant guide in understanding how a team performed and the stats are quite damning for Blackburn when the midfield players from both teams yesterday are compared.
Swansea’s midfield three of Britton, Allen and Sigurdsson combined yesterday to make 136 passes and only missing just six of them for an astonishing completion rate of 96%. When we add in Mark Gower’s stats after he replaced Britton on 69 minutes, the passes rise to 167 with 154 completed, which sees the accuracy drop slightly to just over 92%. How Blackburn would like to see accuracy like that. Their main midfield three of Dunn, N’Zonzi and Pedersen attempted 91 passes – over a third less than Swansea – completing only 65 for a success rate of just 71%. It doesn’t take a footballing Einstein to work out that with stats like that going on in the boiler house of your team, you are going to end up losing more games that you will win.
Next Page: Comparison between David Dunn and Joe Allen (click top right or bottom left for pages)