Talking Tactics | Blackpool v Swansea City

13th August 2022
First team
Oxford away Ben Cabango

On the back of their Carabao Cup exit in midweek, attention turns back to league duties as Swansea City make the trip to Blackpool. Ahead of this one, preview the clash, looking at what to expect from Blackpool, the key battle and a key stat.

What to expect from Blackpool

Michael Appleton

Blackpool will have been disappointed to have fallen to a 2-0 loss to Stoke last time out as they failed to build on their opening weekend 1-0 win over Reading.

That said, it wasn't until their sixth game of the 2021-22 season that they earned their first victory, so there has already been immediate improvement on the previous campaign. However, the Seasiders have now won only two of their last five league matches at Bloomfield Road as they look to make it two wins from three league outings this season.

Having been deployed in a 4-4-2 system for the most part last season, Michael Appleton has stuck with a 4-3-3 formation in Blackpool's opening three matches of 2022-23, and similar is expected from Appleton's side against Swansea today. It's early days, but Blackpool have already developed a statistically calculated strength of 'attacking down the wings' with Josh Bowler and Jerry Yates able to stretch opponents.

Bowler in particular has been superb in his opening two outings, completing eight of Blackpool's 22 dribbles to reinforce a statistically calculated strength of 'dribbling'. If given the ball and the space to run in to, then the winger is a real threat for the Tangerines. Bowler was among Blackpool's best-rated players in the Championship last season, earning a rating of 6.82 in the process, so keeping the 23-year-old in check is vital.

Of the the wingers, it's clear that Bowler is the obvious threat with 45% of their attacks coming down the right flank across their two league outings. This season from two outings, Bowler has earned a rating of 7.15, that second only to right-back Callum Connolly (7.45), which further reinforces the impact the right flank has in Blackpool's game plan.

The idea for Russell Martin's side this weekend, then, should be to shut down that right-sided pair. Ensure Bowler and Connolly have quiet games, and the chance of returning to South Wales with a first league win of the season improves considerably.

Key battle

Oxford away Ben Cabango 1

Ben Cabango made his first appearance of the season for Swansea in their midweek Carabao Cup exit to Oxford having fully recovered from injury. His return is a huge boost for head coach Martin as he looks to shore up a defence that has shipped six goals in their opening three games of the campaign.

The 22-year-old has proven a solid performer for the Swans having broken into the first team in 2019, and a defence that has struggled in the opening weeks of the season should benefit from a player of Cabango's calibre at Blackpool.

The youngster is set to come up against Gary Madine at Bloomfield Road, even though the striker lasted just 21 minutes against Stoke last weekend due to an injury that ruled him out of Blackpool's midweek Carabao Cup defeat to Barrow.

Madine is the type of player that offers a physical battle and having developed a statistically calculated strength of 'aerial duels', Cabango won't have a minute's rest when Swansea take on Blackpool, but will surely relish the challenge.

Key stat

Sprinklers water the pitch at Bloomfield Road

Blackpool have struggled for a clinical edge in front of goal following their return to the Championship in 2021. They have scored just 30 league goals in 24 home matches on the back of their promotion last year and only three teams to have featured in the Championship last season and this have scored fewer on home turf.