After match day seven only two teams remain with perfect defensive records at home. One is Manchester City and the other is Swansea City. Through four home fixtures against Wigan, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City the Swans have been solid at the back, recording two 0-0 draws, a 3-0 win and a 2-0 win. In looking over their defensive statistics for the season, and contrasting them against their overall defensive stats, it appears the Swans are better at preventing shots, and forcing shots to be taken from outside the penalty area.
It is not simply that this team is working hard to prevent space inside the penalty area. Swansea are also attacking the ball on the ground and maintaining a significantly higher tackle success rate in their home matches. Additionally, the ball possession figure was significantly worse for Swansea on their travels. They kept 50.4% of the possession against Chelsea, and 57.6% of the possession against Manchester City. The only match this season where Swansea has held less than 50% of the possession was their loss to Arsenal where they had just 43.4%. While the quality of the possession and the competition is clearly an issue, and one that we’re not covering except with this cursory nod, the reality is that Swansea have to play every club twice and if they’re unable to replicate their home success when they travel to play these four opponent they will undo all of the good work they’ve done to date.
The chart below shows that Swansea are putting in a good shift every time they take the field at Liberty Stadium. And it is not just goalkeeper Michele Vorm that can be credited with the four clean sheets that Swansea have kept.
While the quality of the chances being conceded is clearly an issue, they are also preventing chances from being taken at home. In the three away matches against Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea Swansea defense resulted in 30 chances conceded, 19, and 15, respectively. Those 64 total chances are 17 more than the 47 chances that Swansea have conceded in their four home matches. This has left Michele Vorm facing fewer shots and even fewer clear cut chances. While he did have the penalty save in the first home fixture against Wigan, Vorm’s 28 saves are largely coming on the road, with 11 of those saves having been recorded in the 4-0 loss against Manchester City in the opening weekend. One stat that has not been consistent is the interceptions made. In that horizontal column there is a +/- indicating their game total against the Swans season average. For their four home fixtures they’ve been as high as ten over their average and as low seven interceptions fewer.
Overall their home numbers have been better, occasionally they are substantially better. In addition to routinely maintaining 60% possession in a match, Swansea is often attempting more tackles per minute and always winning a higher percentage at home. This effort has resulted in eight points taken from the four matches, with a home record of 2-2-0. If the Swans are to stay up they will need to build on this early defensive record, emulating their success of a season ago.
This team, with Dorus De Vries between the sticks for all 46 Championship fixtures, allowed just 11 goals in their home fixtures last season. Their effort was the best defensive record in the Championship, with four fewer goals allowed at home than champions QPR.
With De Vries playing for Wolverhampton this season, Vorm and the Swansea City have not skipped a beat and continue to put defence first at Liberty Stadium. With two away fixtures following the international break the Swansea City faithful will have to wait until 29 October v. Bolton for the continuation of their impressive home streak. If Brendan Rodgers is able to instill on the road the defensive discipline that is so evident at home the Swans may be chasing a fourth consecutive EPL victory on the 29th.