Talking tactics: Bersant Celina

17th August 2018
First team

Football stats experts focus on new recruit Bersant Celina as Swansea City get set to face Birmingham City tonight (7.45pm).

Two wins from two stands Swansea City in good stead coming into tonight’s trip to Birmingham City.

A hard-fought 2-1 success at Sheffield United was followed up with a 1-0 victory over Preston at the Liberty Stadium last week and Graham Potter will be keen to oversee a third successive league win at Birmingham City’s expense.
The Swans sit level on six points with Aston Villa and Leeds near the top of the table ahead of the trip to St. Andrew’s, which gives Potter’s team the opportunity to move to the Championship’s summit.

Birmingham have taken just one point from their opening two matches and were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in midweek by fellow Championship side Reading.

Confidence is low in the Midlands and Swansea must look to capitalise.

With a settled starting XI, Potter will look for consistency in his selection in order to come away from Birmingham with three crucial points, and that should mean Bersant Celina gets another chance to impress.

The 21-year-old has gained a rating of 6.93 from his first two league starts, which is commendable following his permanent move from Manchester City.
The youngster has been an effective addition to the side and Swans supporters will hope he can churn out another solid display against Birmingham.

Garry Monk’s side have developed a statistically calculated weakness of ‘defending against skilful players’, which is deemed to be very weak.

This plays into Swansea and Celina’s hands, with the Kosovan a capable performer at bringing possession through from midfield into the final third.
One of his statistically calculated strengths is ‘dribbling’ as only Barrie McKay (2) is averaging more successful dribbles per game than Celina (1.5) of all Swansea players.

This should go some way to putting the Birmingham backline on the backfoot, especially if his team-mates get him on the ball as quickly as possible.

Birmingham come into the tie in the midst of selection uncertainty too, which won’t help here.
Cheikh Ndoye left the club to rejoin French side Angers on Thursday morning and with Craig Gardner suspended, there is pressure on brother Gary Gardner to thrive in the middle of the park.

The 26-year-old started Birmingham’s midweek 2-0 loss to Reading and could struggle again here on his league debut for Monk’s side.
Crucially, one of his statistically calculated strengths is ‘tackling’ and he should be the ideal midfielder to stop Celina from breaking forward to support the attack.

However, the Swansea man has started life in South Wales brightly and morale is high ahead of tonight’s match.

Celina has the quality to control proceedings in the midfield. Should he excel, Swansea could well end the night top of the Championship.