At 3.15 yesterday, I’d already written this column. Swansea City 3-0 up, and surely cruising to at least a six or seven – nil victory, to provide their fans with a home version of the demolition of Fulham, against an extremely toothless Wolves.
How wrong was I?
Such is the analysis of football available to us these days by experts on TV and radio, replay after replay, and articles like this that use detailed stats to try to prove or disprove footballing theories, that we all feel the need to demand to know the detailed reason why this or that happened during a football match.
– How did we concede so many goals?
– Why did we defend so badly?
– Why didn’t we pass as well as usual?
– Why didn’t we score more goals?
And so on. But sometimes, you witness a football match that makes you simply hold your hands up and realise that you have just watched an old-fashioned contest where detailed analysis is almost pointless because it was simply a game where plans went out the window, players reverted to instinct and the result – for the neutral anyway – was an exciting 90 minutes where either team could have won, or the score could have easily ended up as seven all. There is something to be said for games like that, as they happen so infrequently these days, and yesterday’s offering at the Liberty Stadium was certainly one of those that was almost a “throw back” game to a more innocent time in football history. But despite all that, we can still try to make some sense of what went on.
In truth, there was little pattern to the game after that first 15 minutes of Swansea dominance that had convinced me that Wolves were in for a slaughtering of monumental proportions. Instead, the game began to ebb and flow constantly with Wolves showing an appetite for the game that surprised those of us who thought they might roll over, as relegated sides often do. Clearly, neither side will be happy with their defending for most of the eight goals, and it was obvious by the sacrifice of Orlandi at half time, which followed an on field re-organisation after about half an hour, that Brendan Rodgers didn’t feel the back three of Williams, Monk and Caulker was an experiment worth continuing with, such was the success that Matt Jarvis in particular was having down Swansea’s right hand side.
It was particularly hard on Orlandi. Injured for such a long period since his excellent performance in the Swans first away win at Aston Villa in January, his classy touch was clear in the first move of the game that he started and finished himself with a neat header from Scott Sinclair’s cross. Then he turned provider ten minutes later with a great run and nutmeg followed by a cross that was met by Dyer’s goal bound header. Orlandi’s match stats show how unlucky he was to be sacrificed as Rodgers reverted to a back four that had served him so well this season. The Spaniard provided two of Swansea’s seven shots that were on target – scoring one goal – supplied an assist, and of his 25 passes, 24 (96%) were completed. There was nothing to suggest during his first half performance that those stats wouldn’t have been continued or even improved after the break. As disappointed as he no doubt would have been by being withdrawn, perhaps he can take some comfort from match stats as positive as that.
Next Page: Match Stats Analysis from the 4-4 draw…