The post-match press conference is a blur, a distant memory even just 36 hours later. All I remember are my final words; “I am very pleased with the win, but it is only one match and there is a long way to go.” I stand by every word.
A training ground can be a lonely place at 7 am on a Monday morning but after having an actual day off on Sunday (the players also have the day off), I’m back in to watch the video of the weekend fixture with our data analysts.
Initially, the stats aren’t brilliantly weighted in our favour. 18 shots for Bristol City compared to our 15, although we did have one more on target and had what I’d consider a decent amount of possession for an away side.
There are three areas I’m focused on. The first is that when I look at the player ratings, our analysts have our best performing players as Sam Clucas and Nathan Dyer. What they have in common is that they are wingers, which is one of the changes I made from Stuart Reid’s formations and that looks to have paid dividends. Especially when you consider that Nathan Dyer got our goal, that’s a big box ticked for me.
The second area is our shots conceded, which is an odd thing to be pleased about but bear with me. One of the massive concerns I have is the defence, I’ve mentioned before that we’ve conceded more goals than anybody in the Premier League. One of the ways to avoid conceding if we are suffering shots on goal is to funnel the strikes straight at the goalkeeper because that’s the safest place. It’s part of the Burnley low block strategy. If the central defenders cover the areas either side of the goalkeeper, the shots that come in should be channelled in the middle. As you can see, the majority were either wide or in the middle of the goal where you’d expect a goalkeeper with the experience and quality of Fabianski to throw his cap on.
The final point for me to talk about is the debut of Courtney Baker-Richardson, who is a 22-year-old prospect signed in the summer from Leamington after several seasons in the lower leagues with the likes of Kettering, Redditch and Romulus. He came on as a substitute for Wilfried Bony. He was joined on the substitutes bench and also in making an appearance by Cian Harries, who is a 20-year-old Welsh defender. He was signed from Coventry for an undisclosed fee in the summer and I can confirm I did not select a young Welsh player to win favour with the supporters. Me? No way…
The clean sheet is important, of course, it is. You can’t win with just a clean sheet, but you won’t lose. I don’t know exactly yet who will partner Alfie Mawson in central defence when we play Watford on Saturday. It’s a toss-up between Federico Fernández, Mike van der Hoorn and Kyle Bartley. During the season the Spaniard has predominantly played but with that defensive record, is he the best man for the job? That might be something I need the supporter’s views on later in the week.
The goal was a fairly simple affair, Martin Olsson sent over the free-kick from wide on the left and Dyer, who must be one of the smallest players on the pitch at five foot four inches tall, headed into the corner of the net. Perhaps his height is the reason why he wasn’t marked so tightly.
What the win over Bristol City means is that we’ve moved onto the fourth round of the FA Cup. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your standpoint, for contractual reasons I am attending a lunch with our sponsor Letou, so tomorrow I’ll be able to look back upon who we were drawn against in the next round.
I’m interested though, as loyal Swans fans, who would you prefer? A top team or our Welsh rival Cardiff for example? Have your say in the comments below or on twitter @thehighertempo and we’ll see how close you were tomorrow.