Most Swansea City fans will agree that the 2018/19 season was better than many of us thought it would be.
Finishing nine points off the Play-offs was given the lack of transfer activity and age of the Swans squad, showed how difficult the Championship can be and, indeed, how difficult it is going to be next season with or without a raft of new signings.
But what do the numbers say about Swansea’s season? Is there anything we can learn and apply going forward?
The first port of call is the away form, especially against teams above Swansea in the table.
Just four points were taken in nine games from teams finishing 1st to 9th in the Championship, more worryingly, Swansea scored just five goals in those matches.
Things improved a bit in away performances against lower ranked teams, certainly in terms of goals scored, but still it is something that Graham Potter must address next season.
At the Liberty Stadium, there were also some struggles against teams above us, with Sheffield United and Middlesbrough the only teams leaving our home ground with their tails between their legs.
However, Swansea were formidable at home against lower-placed teams, with only that inexplicable 3-2 loss to bottom of the table Ipswich back last October blotting the team’s record.
Swansea are conceding early
In terms of timing of goals, Swansea took a while to come alive in games. They had a negative goal difference of -5 in the first hour of matches this season, but a positive of +8 in the final half hour of games.
While these sorts of stats are crucial for things like live betting in football, they should also be factored into the club’s strategy going forward into the new season.
Indeed, if we compare Swansea’s record to that of the favourites for the Play-offs, Leeds (13/10) and Aston Villa (7/5, odds from 888sport), then you will see that both sides had a ‘healthier’ spread of goals across the match.
Both Leeds and Villa had positive goal spreads for the first hour of games and last half hour. It’s important that this is addressed by management.
Potter must look to defence first
Of course, what the above tells us first and foremost is that the defence simply wasn’t good enough last season.
Swansea conceded the joint most goals (62) in the top half this season, and more than the likes of Stoke and Birmingham City.
Being involved with 59% of games with three or more goals was much more than the league average, but Swansea fans should perhaps hope that games are a little more boring, a few more 1-0 victories perhaps.
There was, of course, some good form shown towards the end of the season – and we must remember that this is one of the youngest sides in the league – so there is no reason to believe that it can’t be built upon.
In the last eight games of the season, Swansea increased their goals per game ratio to 2, up from 1.41 per game across the entire season.
The points per game obviously had an upswing too, with an average of 1.88 pts per game in the last being enough to secure a Play off spot should it be spread out across the entire season.
As it stood, the average of 1.41 points per game mirrored the goals, and it is just about right for 10th placed position.
Can Swansea do better next season? We know that the performances were there, at times, to make a case that they can.
A lot of work needs to go in on the training pitch and, perhaps, the transfer market however, as results like the 2-1 opening day victory at promoted Sheffield United were too infrequent.
But let’s hope Potter and his backroom staff can help a youthful Swans squad build on the positive elements of the season gone by and more importantly address the negatives.
First of all however the Swans are going to need to keep hold of Graham Potter.