Swansea City were massively disappointing in the 2021-22 EFL Championship, finishing 15th on the points table. Prior to the last season, they qualified for the promotion playoffs and even reached the final, only to lose to Brentford. Ahead of the start of the season, the Swans need to strengthen sufficiently if they are to challenge for a position in the top half of the table. To their credit, they have added the veteran, Joe Allen, from Stoke City on a free transfer. The midfielder signed a two-year contract with the club.
Allen played 44 matches for Stoke City last season across all competitions, including 41 in the EFL Championship. He was there on the pitch for 3,479 minutes, even captaining the team on multiple occasions. He did not score even once and provided just one assist. He attempted close to 39 passes per 90 at an accuracy of 85%. As far as ball progression is concerned, the Welshman completed 72% of his 5.3 attempted passes into the final third, ranking in the top 14% in the former category. He may have attempted less than 0.9 dribbles per 90, but his dribble success rate was a very respectable 76%. With 49% of his attacking actions being successful, he put himself in the upper quintile.
Allen’s natural position is a central midfielder, but he is very much capable of playing as a defensive midfielder. In fact, he played a lot more matches in a deeper role. As a deep-lying midfielder, he was tasked with defensive duties, such as providing cover, when the team was not in possession. When the team was in possession, he often played the deep-lying playmaker role, pulling the strings from the centre of the park and being the midfield metronome.
Allen won most of his duels in the centre of the pitch. In fact, as a pure midfielder, he won duels in the defensive third, the middle third and in the attacking third, though it was not as frequent in the latter. The Welshman won way more 50/50s and ground-based defending duels than aerial duels. Given his diminutive height of only 168 cm, this should probably come as no surprise. Adjusted for possession (PADJ), he attempted 13.4 defensive actions per 90, winning 79% of them. He also managed to make 5.41 interceptions per 90 and 10.8 recoveries per 90, again PADJ.
With nearly 200 games in the Premier League, Joe Allen will bring a wealth of top-flight experience to Swansea City. He could be one of the main men to guide the Welsh club to a top-half finish this season, if not even challenge for a spot in the promotion playoffs.