The Weakest Link?

Wednesday, 26 September 2001, 0:01
2 mins read
Compare that to the championship season where we kept 22 clean sheets and it makes more worrying statistics. Colin Addison’s preferred line up is clearly five at the back but which is our best central defensive three? We have in reality four clear options in that position – Matthew Bound, Jason Smith, Kristian O’Leary and Chris Todd. You could argue that Nick Cusack or Andrew Mumford are also capable of playing in a three man defence but the first four are possibly the better options.
At the moment, choices are limited due to Smudger’s injury but we need to look at how the team perform with and without any of the four names mentioned in the side to see who statistically produces the best three man defence.
This first table looks at how the side have performed in the league over the past season and a bit with each of those four players in the team.
Overall Record 56 10 17 29 63 93 47 0.84
Jason Smith 22 5 7 10 20 32 22 1.00
Chris Todd 19 3 8 8 25 27 17 0.89
Kristian O’Leary 31 6 9 16 41 59 27 0.87
Matthew Bound 46 9 12 25 53 74 39 0.85
It could be argued from this table that Matthew Bound is the weak link of the four although intertestingly, the team has performed better with any of them in the team than it has without them.
Naturally, if we are looking at defensive qualities, it is important to consider the number of goals the team has conceded with each of the four in them compared to how many they have conceded without them in the team.
In Team Out Of Team
Goals Avg per Game Goals Avg Per Game
Chris Todd 27 1.42 66 1.78
Jason Smith 32 1.45 61 1.79
Matthew Bound 74 1.61 19 1.90
Kristian O’Leary 59 1.90 34 1.36
From this you could argue that Kristian O’Leary is the weak link with the defence being notably stronger without him in it than with him there. You could argue that the statistics are misleading due to the number of games missed by both Todd and Smith.
It’s hard to draw exact conclusions from the defensive statistics although you would have to say that Jason Smith is being sorely missed by the Swans. He has missed 34 games from 56 since the start of last season and we have kept just 3 clean sheets in those games. Compare that to 8 in the 22 games that he has played and that would tell it’s own story.
Now, Addison is clearly intent on a three man back line with wing-backs. My preferred central defensive trio (with all fit) is Todd, Smith and O’Leary. Bound seems to have lost whatever he had two years ago and it is costing us at the moment. Of course, in a three man back line we have to have two wing backs with Jenks and Frankie currently occupying those positions. Are they the right men for the job? I think so, but others would disagree. Could Appleby or Coates fill one of the places? Wouldn’t be convinced myself but it is a possibility.
As I said at the top maybe Cusack or Mumford could do a job at the back. Could they be any worse than what we have at the moment? It’s a tough call and one that thankfully I don’t have to make. With this kind of formation, it’s going to take a little time to get the players in the right positions but time is something that we don’t have much of on the basis that the more games without winning, the further down the table we get dragged. We need a win and soon to kick things off.
Those are the statistics that I provide. My full back line would be Jenks, O’Leary, Smith, Todd and Howard but that is just my opinion. Voice yours on the Message Board
But don’t just read the statistics – have a vote in the current question of the week and tell us who you think is the weak link out of the 6-man back line that we fielded last night. Vote now by clicking here
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