Hi my dear readers, I am moving my blog to fmgaffer.blogspot.com due to the many functions constraints I have with wordpress. The thing I really need most from blogger is the ability to change fonts and fonts size with helps me to highlight headings inside my blog. I hope you will continue to support me in the future. Cheers!
The 2nd summer transfer season had not started off well due to the board’s stupid decision!
I am not saying that expansion is not good but they should have implement it at the correct time. Having already spent 4mil on training facilities, a further spending of 10mil on stadium expansion has deeply cut our pockets for the transfer window. Furthermore, Swansea does not even own the stadium. Why would anyone pay so much for renovation on the landlord’s property is beyond me. So this season I would expect to have a tight budget, again.
After the planned expansion, our finances looked miserable :(
This is an extremely long post so please bear with me. The 1st season of Swansea had ended well. The following picture promptly summarizes the season. A noteworthy point would be that Alberto Bueno was selected as the Signing of the Season Runner Up!
Now I will need to review the squad performance to prepare for the transfer policy for the next season. Each area of the squad will be examined in detail to understand the strengths and weakness of the current squad. Let us start off first with the team stats.
During the season, Swansea scored an average of 1.3 goals and conceded 1.4 goals per game and it creates an negative average goal difference of -0.1. This is not acceptable in my standards as this implies a lack of threat upfront and poor defending at our door. Ideally, I would like to have a positive average goal difference at least.
With 2 top goalscorers it implies that the team got through based on teamwork and we do not have privilege on relying on a star striker. I like this because it shows that I have formed a star team and not a team of stars.
The fact that a striker, in the form of Alberto Bueno, had given the most assists during season (and in half a season nonetheless since he was signed in January) shows our serious lack of quality in the midfield. In my opinion, strikers are suppose to score goals and midfield are suppose to provide goals. If a striker is providing goals, then he is not scoring.
The “most Man of the match” and “highest average rating” are won by defenders. This shows that the team’s greatest strength is in defense. For a team that is supposed to be strongest in defense but still concede over a goal per game really leaves it much to be desired.
Next, I shall review the squads’ player ratings.
There isn’t much to choose from between goalkeepers and Michael Vorm is my first choice goalkeeper. A good goalkeeper who pulls off instinctive saves at times but a bit inconsistent with form. Despite having pulled off 10 clean sheets, Swansea still concedes a lot of goals. I might need to consider getting another keeper to see if we can contain the leakage.
There is no question at who is leading the line upfront. That man is Alberto Bueno. He not only scores the most goals but provides the most assists as well. He is, without question, my signing of the season! Alberto Bueno also won the accolade of being the league’s Signing of the Season Runner Up. A return of 8 goals is amazing for the likes of Danny Graham, especially if you know how he scores it. Danny has all the attributes of being a good lone target man yet does not scores goals on his own. Instead, he relies on getting rebounds then poaches them into the net. A poacher with a slow pace (8). Talk about weird! Lucas Viatri had a decent start till he was sidelined for the rest of the season. Having scored 1 goal from feet and 1 goal from the head proved that he can be a valuable option upfront. Luke Moore got his chance when I finally got tired of playing Danny as a lone striker. He was decent in the few games he played but got out-muscled out of the first-team when Alberto came into the scene.
Having strengthen both upfront and backline during the tranfer seasons, midfield is the only area that is lacking of investment. Despite that, midfield has done reasonably well and I will like to single out a few individuals that aided to the cause. Andrea Orlandi has been the most consistent and definitely the best among all the midfielders evident from his high average rating of 6.90. Wayne Routledge was doing well in the 1st half of the season but his form declined during the 2nd half. Jordi Gomez proved a shrewd loan signing when he scored 2 critical goals from direct free kick positions. I would love to bring him in on a more permanent but his valuation of 2.2mil pounds seems to be grossly overvalued. Lastly, I would like to have special mention for Mark Gower. An experienced and versatile player, he proved his value as an impact player by scoring and assisting at the same level as Andrea Orlandi.
The star of defense is definitely Neil Taylor. Having played and started the most number of games in this season and STILL get the highest average speaks volumes of this player’s ability. As Swansea does not have cover at fullback positions so we are lucky that Stephen Kelly and Neil Taylor did their job admirably. Matteo Ferrari is the rock at the center of defense. This ex-Roma player had been the heart of Swansea’s defense, evident by the 4 MOM awards since joining from a free transfer. That being said, we cannot ignore Ashley Williams who had provided a much consistent performance judging by the higher average rating. Due to his flexibility, captain Alan Tate is mostly used as a utility player at wherever he’s needed. Mostly at fullback positions. Unfortunately, Arne Friedrich had failed to blend and perform well so far. This is mostly because of his poor passing ability; always giving away the ball and putting the team under pressure.
Swansea has managed to make good profit due to the low wages of its players. Having already budgeted 4mil for the upgrading of training facilities, I will expect a good portion of at least 10mil cash for my next transfer season.^^
As requested by Sam (Swansea 1st Eleven)
Please note that I change my tactics frequently and this is just one of the formations that I used
Swansea’s first season is finally over! Man City had won the treble and Wolves and Sunderland had gotten into Euro Cup. Initially predicted to relegate, Swansea has done a great job at finishing 10th on the mid-table and being the only promoted side to stay in the Premier League. :) Here are the final standings of the 1st season.
The striker transfer policy in winter worked well and created many goals for Swansea. The number of losses has been reduced from 6 games lost in 2 months (Nov-Dec) to 6 games lost in 5 months (Jan-May). Unfortunately, There is still a problem with defense with the team conceded stupid goals.
Swansea’s first win since the winter transfer window had been against Newcastle in the league. Alberto Bueno made a splendid start on his debut by scoring in on the 3rd minute. Matteo Ferrari then extended lead with a 8th minute header. We would have kept a clean sheet if Ashley Williams didn’t give away a penalty in the 39th minute. But to his credit, Ashley William had provided pretty much consistent performances and this mistake was just a notch on the line. Another interesting note is that Swansea had played with Newcastle 3 TIMES consecutively; having 1 draw, 1win, 1 loss. I can am glad to say we managed to get the win on the most important match. I would rather win 3 points in the league than proceed a round into a cup anytime.
The match against Chelsea is another interesting match. It’s not everyday where you can dominate the field against a team like Chelsea but Swansea did just that during this match. Using a 4-3-3 formation with Danny Graham, Lucas Viatri and Alberto Bueno leading the front, Alberto Bueno is again instrumental to this spirited draw by providing an assist to Danny Graham‘s goal. Lucas Viatri also scored a debut goal in this match.
Swansea’s top crowning achievement had to be this 2-0 home match against Liverpool. This is evident by the clean sheet kept by Swansea against a team which contains the premier league’s top scorer of the season in the form of Luis Suarez. With Matteo Ferrari holding the back line and Alberto Bueno being lethal upfront, this game will remain in the memories of Swansea’s fans many years to come. The only downside is that Lucas Viatri had been sidelined till the end of the season from an injury.
In my next post, I will go through a season review and plot a new direction for season 2’s summer transfer!
P.S. does anyone know how to change the font size in wordpress?
In this winter season, I have splashed the cash and utilized the whole transfer budget in an attempt to reverse Swansea’s downfall in form. My priority for this transfer window is to get good quality upfront and I am pleased to say I have made a good deal so far. Here are the INs and OUTs of this winter transfer window.
Lita Leroy (Striker)
Lita was sent on loan with a view for a permanent move for 1.8 million pounds. Although he contributed 3 goals to Swansea’s cause, I need to get someone off my wage books to free out wage budgets to bring in strikers of better quality.
Garry Monk (DC)
The ex-Swansea captain failed to force his way back into the first team ever since he had recovered from his injury. Especially so in the beginning, due to the initial stellar form of Matteo Ferrari. When Matteo had gone through a bad form, Garry failed to impress as an adequate cover.
Alberto Bueno (Striker/AMC)
Alberto Bueno is brought in as a natural scorer of goals. Good pace (16), flair (16) and technique (16) attributes will allow me to use him in a flexible manner as either a poacher, advance forward or a trequartista. Alberto has already starting to repay my faith in him by contributing 2 goals and 1 assist in 4 games, including a debut goal! Comparing to Lita who only scores 3 goals in half a season, Alberto looks like a bargain already!
Lucas Viatri (Striker)
Lucas Viatri is brought in for 1 sole purpose, air support. Standing tall at a height of 1.85 meters with good jumping (15) and heading (15) attributes, he will provide the air power that Swansea is seriously lacking upfront. Just like Alberto, Lucas has started to impress with a goal in his debut match.
Arne Friedrich (DC / DR)
Available on a free transfer, this pacy defender is a great marker who doesn’t let many opponents slip past him due to his high marking (17) and positioning (17) abilities. He is signed to provide competition to Matteo Ferrari, Ashley Williams and Stephen Kelly. Unfortunately, He hasn’t blended well in the squad yet having gotten an average rating of 6.40 for the past 3 games played. Being the highest earner in the squad, I would expect him to live up to my expectations.
With these new signings, I now look forward to better Swansea’s position in the league. Wish me luck =)
Unfortunately, Swansea has lost some drive since my last post. Here are the current standings as at the winter transfer window.
While we are still sitting comfortably in the safe mid-table and had still surpassed my initial target of the 16th position, I have since change to set a new personal target of 13th position.
Now let’s analyse the fixture history to see what had caused Swansea’s freefall.
Having won all away games in my previous post, now we had lost almost all away games. Our home form has improved slightly with 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. Our previously stalwart defense had faltered with Arsenal mauling us at 5-0 away. Arshavin was outstanding against us; scoring a hat-trick in the process.
The main reason that our defense has started faltering is because of a loss of form from Matteo Ferrari and captain Garry Monk unable to provide adequate cover during Ferrari’s downfall. The following match against Norwich promptly summarizes Ferrari’s current form.
We would have won the match if not for Ferrari’s own goal… =(
Another noteworthy match would be the away match against Man City as shown below.
Notice the overwhelming stats against us. Playing against Man City at the Emirates Stadium with Man City having 32 shots at us and enjoying 63% of possession. In contrast, Swansea only had 37% of possession, 31% defense passing rate, and 59% tackling. I wondered how on earth did we manage to survive the onslaught with only 1 goal against us.
With the winter transfer window at hand, I will be looking forward to bring in better quality upfront and maybe get 1 more defensive cover. Swansea had been too reliant on Ferrari thus far. My top priority however would be to bring in a striker since Swansea’s current best striker has only struck the net 3 times in all competitions thus far. Though with only 5 mil pounds of transfer funds with no room for wage manipulation and a low club reputation, I wonder if I could even find a good net hitter.
Do you have any recommendations for good and cheap strikers? Let me know! =)
Having played 9 games into the league, I am pleased and surprised to say that Swansea is now sitting at the edge of european qualification!
Considering that we are ranked bottom in the form of stats, I think this is an exceptional feat from Swansea and it shows how much ambition and drive the players have!
Now let us take a look at the fixtures history to see how is this being achieved.
There seems to be a very strange pattern over here! All of Swansea’s losses thus far had been home games! Swansea had gotten 1/5 home wins and 4/4 away wins; with the only home win be against Man United who is sitting near the top of the table now =)
After examining various factors, I have come to the conclusion that Swansea’s current stella form is influenced by 2 key points.
1) A highly successful transfer policy
Both defender signings have blended well into the squad and providing a rock hard defense. This can be seen from the fixture history where you will notice that in no game that Swansea has conceded more than 2 goals. To top it off, Matteo Ferrari even contributed a precious goal which resulted in a 1-0 away win against Chelsea! (Matteo Ferrari’s factsheet can be seen in my Transfers post )
Johan Andersson also made a good contribution; having scored 1 goal in the 3 games he played in. Unfortunately, he got injured in Everton match and had been sideline for 3 months.
2) An unlikely hero
Andrea Orlandi was transfer listed before I joined Swansea as head coach and was offered to clubs when I decided that he was not in my first team plans. However as no club would want to pay the right price for him, I decided to give him a chance. Andrea grabbed it and repaid my faith when he replaced Scott Sinclair on the left wing after he was injured and scored 1 goal and provided 2 assists thus far.
While everything has been rosy for Swansea thus far, I cannot be too complacent. The reason we are successful right now is because of the rock solid defense we had but we had a great difficulty to scoring goals, especially from upfront. I will have to look to remedy that during the winter transfer window.
How have you enjoyed my Swansea Journey thus far? Is the blog easy to read? This is my first attempt at blogging so please let me know how can I make this more enjoyable =)