As Swansea’s schedule starts to take a turn for the worse, many Fantasy managers had pencilled in a transfer out for Michu over the next couple of matches. Prior to last weekend’s win over Wigan, Michael Laudrup’s side had failed to pick up the three points since Gameweek 2, with their early season form all but a distant memory, but Laudrup’s decision to drop Danny Graham and move the Spaniard into the role forward role may perhaps force some to reconsider moving on the former Rayo Vallecano man.
Intriguingly, last weekend was only the second time this season that Laudrup has fielded his four new midfielders – Michu, Pablo Hernandez, Jonathan de Guzman and Ki Sung-Yeung – in the same starting XI. The first time occurred in Gameweek 5 against Everton, though there were clear differences in the set-up; with the Toffees 2-0 up at the break, Hernandez was replaced by Nathan Dyer on the right, while both de Guzman and Michu played deeper – this time round, de Guzman took the role in “the hole” and Michu led the line.
Graham, Michu and de Guzman
Looking at Michu’s display from the Wigan match, compared to his Gameweek 1-7 stats and Danny Graham’s over the season so far, he certainly has staked a claim to remain in the role up front. Understandably, he saw less of the ball overall (40 touches to 56.4) with less inclination to drop back and link up with the central midfield three, but considering Graham has averaged just 21.1 touches, it’s a significant difference. Michu’s final third touches were near-identical (19 to 17.7) but again Graham’s 11 fares a lot worse off, while the same applies to passes received in the final third; Michu received almost double Graham’s average up top (12 to 6.5).
In terms of playing style, Michu attempted 3 dribbles on Saturday – far superior to Graham’s 0.6, and also improved upon his own number of shots, up from 2.3 in Gameweek 1-7 to four against the Latics; Graham has managed 1.9 per game and has scored just once all season. Right across the board, from minutes per attempts and minutes per chance created, Michu’s stats last weekend were better than his own previous average and Graham’s for the season so far, suggesting Laudrup may well have solved his striking dilemma.
|Tchs||Tchs Final 3rd||Pass Rcvd Final 3rd||Dribbles||Pen Box Tchs||Shots||Mins/Attempt||Chances Created||Mins/Chance Created|
|Graham GW 1-8||21.1||11||6.5||0.6||4.4||1.9||38.5||0.5||144.5|
|Michu GW 8||40||19||12||3||5||4||23.8||2||47.5|
|Michu GW 1-7||56.4||17.7||10.1||0.7||4.4||2.3||37.9||1.7||50.6|
|de Guzman GW8||65||32||19||2||4||3||28||3||28|
Furthermore, analysing de Guzman’s stats from Saturday’s game suggests he could be more suited to the role in “the hole”, with Laudrup looking for a playmaker type to tuck in behind his lone forward, rather than the sheer goal threat afforded by Michu in the previous matches. The Dutchman had almost double the number of touches in the final third as Michu’s Gameweek 1-7 average in the same position (32 to 17.7) and received almost double the number of passes (19 to 10) in this crucial area. Both players’ penalty box touches are near identical when playing in the support role but while 1.6 of Michu’s average of 2.3 attempts in the first seven matches were inside the area, all three of de Guzman’s efforts on Saturday arrived from outside the box.
In addition, de Guzman’s stats in “the hole” are superior to Michu’s both in terms of minutes per attempt (28 to 37.9) and minutes per chance created (28 to 50.6). Further analysis of their respective distribution stats shows that de Guzman made 16 passes in the final third against Wigan – more or less double Michu’s in Gameweeks 1-7, while his pass accuracy was substantially superior in the final third; 94.1% compared to 76.9%. With his set-piece duties also factored in, de Guzman provided 11 crosses (Michu’s average was 0.3) and also returned a pair of assists in the 2-1 win – with the Spaniard also getting on the score sheet for the sixth time this term, Laudrup’s personnel switch seems to have been the perfect solution to his side’s recent woes.
Hernandez and Dyer
While Wayne Routledge continues to nail down the left wing role, with seven starts in the opening eight matches under Laudrup, the right flank berth seems to be a battle between Pablo Hernandez and Nathan Dyer at present. Looking at Hernandez’s average position when on the ball against Wigan (below left) in comparison to Dyer’s over the season (below right) suggests the Spaniard gives his side more width and attacking impetus – a fact which the stats back up.
Although the pair are virtually identical for touches (56 to 56.5), minutes per touch and passes made, Hernandez’s more offensive style of play saw him make 34 touches in the Wigan final third – a huge jump on Dyer’s season average of 23.2. Foraging forward into the opposition danger area, Hernandez received 29 passes in the final third – more than double Dyer’s 12.9 for the season – and as a result of playing higher up the pitch, he produced six crosses on Saturday, which is four time Dyer’s season average.
|Tchs||Tchs Final 3rd||Mins/Touch||Pass Rcvd Final 3rd||Drbbs||Pen Box Tchs||Passes Made||Crosses||Shots|
|Dyer GW 1-8||56.5||23.2||1.2||12.9||4.5||2.2||35||1.5||1.5|
The latter’s tendency to take on the opposition means he impresses more when it comes to attempted dribbles, though the former Valencia man looks to offer Laudrup’s side a greater goal threat – he managed six touches in the penalty area, compared to Dyer’s average of 2.2, and also grabbed his first goal of the season.
Swansea Team Involvement Stats
What is intriguing here is that Swansea, with just 46.8% possession against Wigan, had less of the ball than in any other game so far this season. Michu and de Guzman’s possession stats from the weekend suggest that Laudrup is looking for them to be more direct in their play, with less build-up from the back and more of a focus in getting the ball to the front players more quickly.
|Possession||Touches||Tchs Final 3rd||Tchs Penalty Box|
Swansea had just 668 touches on Saturday – this was the second lowest the Welsh outfit has registered thus far under their new manager, yet their attacking stats are impressive. In the final third, they had 203 touches, their third highest in 2012/13, while a total of 25 penalty box touches against the Latics has been bettered only once this term.
*The Technical Area is put together using the statistics and maps available in our members area. For access to such data and tools on every player, team and match of the 2012/13 season, and for exclusive members articles like this, click here for details.
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For Gameweek 38
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“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby