Talking Tactics: George Byers

27th April 2019
First team

Football stats experts take a closer look at the attributes of Swansea City's George Byers as Graham Potter's men look to keep their play-off hopes alive against Hull this afternoon (3pm).

With just three games of the regular Championship season to play, Swansea kick off their final run of matches with today’s welcome of Hull. The Swans will hope to make a late play-off surge - they still welcome Derby to the Liberty Stadium next week - but three points is of the utmost importance against the Tigers.

Nigel Adkins oversaw a significant upturn in form across the festive period that thrust Hull into play-off contention, but three successive defeats has seen them fall off the pace. Now against a Swansea side that has won five of their last six, and are unbeaten in nine at home, Graham Potter will be looking to exact revenge upon this Hull side and make amends for the 3-2 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Swansea’s current home winning run of six league matches is the longest in the Championship and, against a Hull side that have lost seven of their last eight away Championship games - the sole victory in that run coming at table footers Ipswich - suggests all signs point towards a home victory.

If the Swans are to make a late push for a top-six finish, then extending their fine home run is pivotal.

The Tigers’ away possession return of 46.1% is one of the lowest in the Championship this term and. having developed a statistically calculated weakness of ‘keeping possession of the ball’, George Byers has a key role to play in the middle of the park this afternoon.

Only Cameron Carter-Vickers (91.6%) has a better pass success rate than Byers (88.3%) of all Swansea players this season to reinforce a statistically calculated strength of ‘passing’. By keeping possession from the Hull midfield, it limits the opportunities the Tigers have to get the ball to attacking stars Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki, with the former netting more goals (21) than any other Hull player this season.

Limiting Jackson Irvine’s time on the ball may also prove vital this afternoon in that regards. The Australian is expected to start in midfield today and having averaged 0.9 key passes per game, that the third best return of all Hull players, denying him the chance to provide for Hull’s attacking players will the home side's their quest to secure three points today.

With Byers impressing in the middle of the park in Potter’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, the 22-year-old is set to dictate proceedings from midfield. The match forecast suggests it is likely that Swansea ‘will dominate possession’ this afternoon and doing so will significantly improve their chances of landing a seventh successive home league win.