Talking Tactics | Bristol City v Swansea City

23rd October 2020
First team
Matt Grimes Talking Tactics

Football stats experts take a look at the influence of Swansea City captain Matt Grimes, and this weekend's meeting with Bristol City.

Swansea City were forced to settle for a point in midweek as they shared the spoils with Coventry in a 1-1 draw at St. Andrew's.

While Steve Cooper was disappointed with aspects of his side's performance, he will have taken a positive result on the back of the defeat to Huddersfield.

Now, attention turns to Saturday's trip to Bristol City. The Robins fell to defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough in midweek as George Saville's second half strike brought an end to their unbeaten start to the 2020-21 season.

Dean Holden will look to re-focus his players ahead of Saturday's welcome of the Swans in a clash that is well-poised between two play-off hopefuls.

Just two points separate the Robins and the Swans coming into the weekend clash and, while Cooper will be seeking a return to winning ways, history isn't in his side's favour.

Matt Grimes

Indeed, Swansea have won only one of their last six visits to the west country , but did come away from this game last season with a point in a hard-fought 0-0 draw.

It was a stalemate that saw captain Matt Grimes named the man of the match with a rating of 8.15. The Swans skipper has made a solid enough start to the season, forming a sound midfield partnership with summer arrival Korey Smith.

Grimes has a rating of 6.75 to his name for the 2020-21 Championship season, and his midfield qualities will be of the utmost importance at Ashton Gate.

Bristol have developed a statistically calculated weakness of 'stopping opponents from creating chances' and if they fail to keep tabs on Grimes, then the Swansea captain has the weapons in his arsenal to help his side to three vital points.

One of Grimes' seven strengths is 'key passes' and he has the knack for playing that final pass for a teammate to shoot, be it from open play or a set piece; a quick look at his pass to allow Jake Bidwell to tee up Andre Ayew on Tuesday night showed the ability he possesses in this area.

Considering Bristol City have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last three league outings, then Swansea will feel confident of adding to their record of scoring in five of their six Championship matches this season. Off the ball, too, Grimes will be important for Cooper's side, with the hosts developing a strength of 'finishing scoring chances'.

Matt Grimes

However, Grimes boasts strengths of 'tackling', 'ball interception' and 'blocking the ball', and his fine positional awareness and reading of the game will give him the means to try and limit Bristol City's chances in the final third.

Shutting down Jamie Paterson will be important for the visitors. The 28-year-old is one of a handful of players to win multiple man of the match awards in the Championship this season and, with Paterson himself boasting a strength of 'key passes', he has the talent and ability to pose questions for the Swansea defence.

If Grimes and those alongside him can limit Paterson's influence then the Swans will have the chance to get back to winning ways.

He did so impressively in this game last season as he made four tackles and three interceptions to reinforce his aforementioned strengths, and a captain's performance at Ashton Gate will only increase Swansea's chances of getting a rare win at the home of the Robins.