Talking Tactics | Derby County v Swansea City
As Swansea City travel to face Derby County in the Championship this afternoon, football stats experts WhoScored.com preview Saturday's encounter.
Swansea City fought back impressively to come from a goal down to beat Hull City on home territory last week as they preserved their excellent home record. However, the fixture list doesn’t let up for Steve Cooper and the South Wales side as they make the trip to Derby.
Phillip Cocu, like Cooper, oversaw a 2-1 win on his Championship bow as the Rams earned victory at Huddersfield on Monday night to get their campaign off to a victorious start. Like Swansea, the quality of opposition doesn’t ease for Cocu with Cooper hoping to maintain his fine beginning to life with the Swans.
Indeed, Cooper has overseen a 100% start to life as Swansea boss when factoring in their pre-season assignments. The Swans are unbeaten in their last six league outings and are undefeated in four of their last six meetings with Derby, winning twice in that run. So history is on Swansea’s side coming into this clash.
Derby will be looking to go one better this season after their play-off final heartbreak in May and a win over Swansea might again have Rams fans dreaming of another genuine promotion tilt. However, in Freddie Woodman, Cooper has the ideal goalkeeper to ensure another three points head back to South Wales this afternoon.
Only two goalkeepers made more saves than Woodman (Three) in the opening weekend of the campaign and the 22-year-old loanee will look to follow up his solid debut with another strong outing in the East Midlands. The youngster earned a WhoScored.com rating of 6.77 against Hull last week and Cooper and Swansea will expect a similarly solid display between the sticks today.
It wasn’t just his shot-stopping ability that drew admirers from the Swans fanbase either. Cooper has hoped to implement a style of play that reflects the Swansea ethos of exciting, attacking football and Woodman proved he has the knack to help build attacks from the back as Swansea seek to dominate opponents.
Their possession return of 59.7% was second only to Brentford (70.3%) in the opening round of 2019-20 Championship matches with Woodman able to pick out a team-mate with ease as Swansea enjoyed the lion's share of the ball against Hull. Only David Martin (92.3%) had a better pass success rate than Woodman (90.6%) among Championship keepers as he found a Swansea player comfortably.
Woodman will need to be on his mettle at Derby and if Tom Lawrence replicates his strong showing from Monday, then it could be a challenging 90 minutes for the Swans number one. Lawrence netted a first-half brace against the Terriers with his WhoScored.com rating (9.54) better than any other player in the Championship last weekend.
The Welshman may have only netted six times in the Championship last season, but he set out his intentions for a prolific season with his brace at Huddersfield and Swansea need to keep on their toes to deny him opportunities.
Woodman, though, showcased his talents with great aplomb and if he is able to put in another sound outing between the sticks, then we could see Swansea put another three points on the board.