Talking Tactics | Cardiff City v Swansea City
The international break is over and Championship action returns with Swansea City making the short trip to south Wales rivals Cardiff City on Saturday.
Ahead of the action, WhoScored.com preview the derby clash, taking a look at what to expect from Cardiff, the key battle and a key stat.
What to expect from Cardiff City
Erol Bulut was appointed as manager of Cardiff in the summer and has taken four points from his first five games in charge of the Bluebirds.
It wasn’t just the manager that changed over the summer break, Cardiff also made a plethora of signings as they welcomed the likes of Yakou Meite, Aaron Ramsey and Karlan Grant.
There were also a number of departures with Max Watters and Sheyi Ojo (loan) amongst those to leave.
The Bluebirds have won just one of their opening five in the league. Bulut’s men recorded a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday with a 97th-minute penalty sealing all three points on home turf.
They have suffered defeats to Queens Park Rangers, Leicester City and Ipswich Town, but did manage to pick up a point on the road against Leeds on the opening weekend.
Outside of the Championship, Cardiff have won both of their EFL Cup fixtures so far with victories over Colchester United, after a penalty shootout, and Birmingham City.
The WhoScored.com calculated strengths and weaknesses outline that Swansea are strong in aerial duels, with the Swans ranking fifth in the division for aerial battles won per game with an average of 20.2 so far in the league, winning 54 per cent of their aerial duels compared to Cardiff’s 38 per cent.
It is also likely that Swansea will have the larger share of possession, with Michael Duff’s side currently averaging 55.3 per cent of the ball in their opening fixtures against Cardiff’s average of 46.3 per cent, which ranks the latter 17th in the league for that metric.
Swansea saw 59.4 per cent of possession when they won at Cardiff City Stadium back in April, and their figures this season underline that they remain a team who have most of the ball under Michael Duff.
A key player to look out for in this fixture is Charlie Patino, who is Swansea’s highest-rated player in the Championship so far this season with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.36.
The midfielder has really hit the ground running since signing on loan from Arsenal, with three assists in his first four matches. He ranks fifth in the league for key passes per 90 minutes, averaging 4.1 so far.
The 19-year-old is likely to come up against Wales captain Ramsey, who coincidentally is Cardiff’s highest-rated player this season with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.12 from his opening five appearances.
The Welshman, and ex-Arsenal player, has scored two goals and provided one assist so far this season. The creative abilities of Patino and Ramsey have the potential to go a long way to settling this contest.
This is a rivalry with a rich and storied history, but there's no denying Swansea have enjoyed much the better of the recent meetings between the sides.
The Swans have lost just one of the last nine derbies, and are on a run of four wins in a row.
Cardiff's last win on home soil against their rivals came nearly a decade ago, and they have scored just three goals to Swansea's 18 across those last nine fixture.