Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea City earned numerous plaudits for their style of play in 2011/12, and the manager has subsequently been rewarded with his first big football management role. But what exactly was it about his management of a smaller team like Swansea that convinced John W Henry and co. that the Ulsterman was the right man for the enormous job at Anfield? I have taken a look at the Swans’ statistics to try to find out.
The stand-out figures for Swansea came in their passing numbers; from the top five European leagues, only Barcelona (with 88.5% pass accuracy), Bayern Munich (86.3%) and the English champions Manchester City (85.9%) had a better pass success rate last season than Swansea (85.7%) did.
At the same time though, the Swans were guilty of retaining the ball a little too much in their own half; they had the lowest percentage of their actions (22%) in the attacking third of any Premier League side this season, and they made more passes per shot attempted (62) than any side too (Fulham were next with 45). That said, as a newly promoted team, their primary aim in most games would be to avoid defeat, so retaining the ball was an eminently sensible strategy – but more on that later.
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