Match analysis: Jonjo Shelvey

7th October 2013

After a defeat at St Mary's, Anthony Colangelo reflects on Jonjo Shelvey's performance via statistical analysis against Southampton.

Swansea City will be disappointed with their 2-0 defeat away to Southampton on Sunday given the way Michael Laudrup's side dominated the vast majority of the game.

The Swans created many good chances on Artur Boruc's goal, although the Saints managed to maintain their league-best defensive record.  However Swans fans should be pleased with the performance of summer signing Jonjo Shelvey, who again turned out an effective display for his team.

Michael Laudrup has made a smart signing in the former Liverpool player. He has the ability and skill to play the game in a more direct manner. The fact that he does so is not a hindrance to his teams much publicised technical style.

He has given Laudrup a more penetrating attacking option for his midfield; he is direct without being devoid of imagination or creativity. Shelvey is more than adapt at playing short passes, but when a longer ball is on he will take the opportunity to play it. He did so particularly well on Sunday as the chart below below shows.

Shelvey's willingness to play the ball long diagonally to the runs of either Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge was key too much of Swansea's forward play on Sunday.  He is ranked third in the Premier League for accurate long balls with eight, behind Phil Jagielka and goalkeeper Brad Guzan although both have made significantly more attempts at long balls than the midfielder.

Instead of always trying to play intricately through the middle, Shelvey's accurate long passing gives Swansea a point of difference in offensive situations.  When compared with his midfield partner Jose Canas's long ball chart, you can see how Shelvey differs in both frequency and variety of passes.

Shelvey made 59 passes in the game with 88% accuracy. This was the second highest amount of passes for Swansea and the highest rate of passing efficiency. 

Coming into the game Southampton had only conceded a staggering 14 shots on target for the entire season. Out of Shelvey's four attempts on goal he managed three on target.

Shelvey's effectiveness says a lot about Swansea's dominance of Southampton on Sunday, though the main disappointment was that Laudrup's side failed to make the most of their chances.