Talking Tactics | Bristol City v Swansea City

29th October 2022
First team
Nathan Wood

In buoyant mood following their south Wales derby win over Cardiff, Swansea turn their attention to the other side of the River Severn as they take on Bristol City in today's lunchtime kick off.

Ahead of this one, preview the action, looking at what to expect from the Robins, the key battle and a key stat.

What to expect from Bristol City

Nigel Pearson

Bristol City have proved to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the Championship, and will be frustrated to not have more points on the board.

Nigel Pearson has favoured a three-man backline this season, with a 3-4-1-2 his preferred setup. As with any side that uses such a system, there is a desire to maximise the use of the wing-backs and spread the ball out wide as quickly as possible.

As such, Bristol attack through the middle of the field just 21% of the time - only Middlesbrough (20%) do so less - with wing-backs Mark Sykes and Jay Dasilva vital to the way they play down the right and left, respectively.

As such, Bristol have developed a statistically calculated strength of 'attacking down the wings', with Dasilva particularly impressive. He ranks top for key passes per game (1.4) of all Bristol City players. He has one assist to his name so far this season and could easily have more.

Maximising the wing-backs is evidently a tactic that works, too, given only Burnley (30) and Sheffield United (26) have scored more goals than the Robins (25) in the Championship this season. However, as effective as they have been in the final third, so there has been frustration at the other end of the pitch.

Only Hull (31) have conceded more goals than Bristol City (26) in England's second tier this term, so it's no shock that the six weaknesses of theirs are defensive.

Despite those frustrations, the Robins are still just five points off the play-off places and Swansea will know a tough test awaits them.

Key battle

Watford away Nathan Wood

With Bristol City as effective as they are going forward, defender Nathan Wood and the fellow young players in the Swansea defence will need to be on top of their game to keep the Robins attack at bay.

Wood, 20, has been a regular feature for Russell Martin's side following his arrival from Middlesbrough, with his distribution meaning he has slotted in seamlessly for the Swans.

Head coach Martin demands his team dominate matches with the ball, and Wood has been abiding to the wishes of his boss, developing a statistically calculated strength of 'passing' as a result.

That said, it's the work off the ball that will be every bit as key for Swansea today, especially as Wood and Swansea look to keep Nahki Wells quiet. The 32-year-old has scored seven goals this season, three of those coming across five starts at Ashton Gate.

Key stat

Russell Martin Cardiff

Swansea are one of the form teams in the Championship, that goes without saying. Over their last seven matches stretching back to mid-September, no team has collected more points than the Swans.

Indeed, they have earned 18 points from 21 available, with defeat at Burnley the only blip on the record in that run.

Swansea also won this game last season, and will be desperate to do so again this term and keep that good run going.