1.Selection and Personnel.
The Blues made two changes with Coleman and Drenthe coming in for Cahill and Gueye. Osman was deployed just off Saha in a 4-2-3-1. The injury to Coleman meant that Gueye played wide left and Drenthe moved across to the right flank. Swansea played in a similar 4-2-3-1 system although their attacking midfielders were often dragged back into more orthodox midfield zones. The average position graphic below (everton blue/Swansea orange) gives a better view of this.
Passing wise, as we expected Swansea moved the ball well, making more passes than us (520 v 440) with a higher accuracy (82% v 74%). Crucially, of the successful passes made 27% of ours were made in the final third whilst only v 16% of Swansea’s occurred in our final third as shown below.
As predicted in the preview, Swansea played out from the back with Vorm crucial .The key factor was us closing down the passing angles from Vorm to the defence which Saha and Osman did well. As the image shows the bulk of the game was played in the Swans defensive area with the key result of this being that Swansea’s attacking mids were pushed back and their lone forward Graham was left isolated.
As the Swans had more of the ball it was crucial that we worked hard when not in possession. Fellaini was sluggish on Saturday but put in a much better shift yesterday, winning 9 of his 10 personal duels including all his aerial challenges as shown (above)
As noted in previous weeks, our pressing deep in the opposition half gives our defence great protection. Yesterday was a similar scenario with 50% of our tackles coming inside Swansea’s half. As the below table shows at home we comfortably concede fewer shots than any side in the league because of this approach.
5. Final thought
This was a much needed victory for the Blues and deserved also. Leon Osman is a gem of a player and his return to form in recent weeks has been a real tonic, as is the directness of Royston Drenthe. Swansea are a really good team to watch and made the game much more of a spectacle compared to some of the sides who have come to L4 in the past month and they will win friends as well as points due to their style.