Celina and the Magic Rectangle


Set-Piece Specialist
Staff member
Ok, so Celina's not happy. Probably because when he was told he'd be playing the Sigurdsson role at Swansea, he didn't think they meant Sigurdsson's role at Spurs. It's frustrating enough watching a playmaker pushed out wide, even more maddening when this squad started the season with 8 wingers* only to end up shipping most of them out on loan and misusing a #10 instead.

Cooper persists with 4-2-3-1 even though his wing options apparently are:

Celina (not a winger)
Garrick (previously injured for ages, now suspended)
Ayew (who plays where he wants regardless of what the team sheet says)

As good as Routs was earlier in the campaign, he's not fast anymore and neither is Dyer, and neither can score for toffee. Celina is wasted there, and you can pretty much play Ayew anywhere and he'd have the same impact. Goals mostly come from central positions which is something Laudrup understood and the reason he favoured inverted wingers. Celina was marginalised with the arrival of Gallagher (who has played better), but to push Celina so far out of the reckoning that he doesn't even make the (recently extended) bench is crazy given his talent.

So why not the Magic Rectangle?


Kalulu and Garrick can come off the bench as strikers, Routledge and Dhanda could sub either of the tens, Gallagher can drop back out-of-possession since he knows how to muck in, and either full back can provide width at any one time. I think it's more important to play your best players in their favoured positions than it is to push them out of their comfort zone.

I think part of the reason the Swans play is so slow is the shape - pushing the ball out wide only to wait for it to come back in gives the defence time to organise and mitigates any clever movement from the strikers, who need fast play to out-manoeuvre the defence. Crossing only works if it's done with and at pace (Carroll to Llorente that time for a textbook example), and even then it's mostly only effective on the counter. How does that help at home when you're meant to take the play to the opposition?

Also, despite having 8 wingers at the start of the season, by my reckoning only 1 of them can actually cross a ball worth a damn, and that was Montero. So why play a shape based on crossing and width when you have no pace or crossing ability out wide?

The Magic Rectangle puts the best players where they can be most effective and should allow the Swans to play a faster, directly progressive north-south game. Less faffing around the periphery, more through balls, one-twos and shots on goal.

If you're interested you can read a bit more about the magic rectangle here and here, but it's one of my favourites because the goal is, after all, in the middle of the field - why not put all your attacking talent in front of it?

* the 8 wingers? Peterson, Kalulu, Routledge, Dyer, McKay, Asoro, Garrick, Montero


Key Player
Forgot about McKay ... he had a good preseason showing ... then became the invisible man.

Forgot about Asoro ... is he back or still wherever we exiled him.

Forgot about Peterson ... what happened to him ... injured or exiled.

Garrick is packing too much bulk ... he's no longer a winger if he ever was. He'd better get his shit together and figure out how to attack full backs at this level, because if that was his best left hook he'd better stay out of the ring.

Montero ... he's still our property until the "end of the season". Did we get him back or did his contract not get extended on the normal expiration date.

Bottom line ... I know more about Bentley's 69-70 team than I know about our current lot. At least Roy had two wingers that could do it all in Brian Evans and Len Allchurch.


Key Player
Celina is a waste of space on the wing ... but frankly he doesn't do enough as a #10. Dhanda has had more impact there when he's played.

At this point our best "wingers" are our two full backs. We'd be better off playing 3 at the back and letting two of Roberts / Naughton / Bidwell rove up and down the lines. Then as @jackodiamonds suggests putting the other players where they are most comfortable.


Key Player
Utrecht want to sign Peterson but they want Swansea to lower their price for him.

The stats are interesting, McKay only played 77 minutes and had 2 assists so his G+A per 90 minutes is a staggering 2.34 with Swansea. It's .62 with Fleetwood Town down in League 1. He has good numbers but he was an infuriating player with us and Forest.

Routledge is 34 but his G+A is .55 with 2 goals and 3 assists in 811 minutes.

Ayew has a .44 minus his penalty goals in 3,275 minutes.

Gallagher is promising but he has a ways to go still. I would like to see Dhanda starting more. Routledge and Dyer are at the end of their careers but it's good to have veteran players.

Swansea City Stats | FBref.com

Dhanda has .40 G+A per 90 this season.

These numbers don't include passing, interceptions, crosses etc.

Here's a nice passing attack with Montero McBurnie and I think Celina.

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