Talking Tactics | Matt Grimes
Football stats experts WhoScored focus on the top tackler in the Championship this season - Swansea City captain Matt Grimes.
For any side, a battling captain will always go down well, not only with team-mates, but supporters, too.
For Swansea City, this is very much the rule rather than the exception. Matt Grimes was named captain last summer upon Steve Cooper's appointment as head coach.
Grimes' WhoScored.com rating of 7.14 is second only to Andre Ayew (7.29) of all Swansea players in the Championship this season as the 24-year-old takes his game to the next level.
Now, with the Swans within touching distance of the play-off spots, securing a spot in the top six is possible with Grimes leading by example.
At present, Grimes boasts a total of five statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strengths, all of which are ideal for any central midfielder. 'Holding on to the ball' and 'passing' are deemed to be Very Strong, while 'taking set-pieces', 'crossing' and 'tackling' round up those five qualities to his game and it's not undeserved for a player of his calibre.
Grimes is a player who is more than prepared to get stuck in to win possession back for Swansea. For that a side that boasts a possession average of 51.6 per cent, that the eighth best in the Championship this season, any player to go to any lengths and win the ball is an obvious bonus
Indeed, Grimes has made more tackles (110) than any other player in the Championship this season with the midfielder not one to shirk his defensive responsibilities.
Not only is this an added benefit to the team, but it's helped Grimes endear himself further to supporters and shown that he has thrived off the added responsibility that comes with being captain of the south Wales side.
Of course, for any player who wins the ball, the ability to successful recycle possession is key. This isn't lost on Grimes, who has maximised his distribution qualities to good effect. He has attempted more passes (2,255) than any other Championship player this season and finds a team-mate with impressive regularity having mustered a solid pass success rate of 81.9 per cent.
This ability to pick the right pass in order to retain possession has seen Swansea develop a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com style of play of 'short passes'. It has also helped the Swans to a pass success rate of 78.1 per cent, that the sixth best in England's second tier this term, and as one of six outfield players to play every Championship minute this season, Grimes' performance levels haven't dropped as the skipper shows remarkable consistency, not only in playing time, but his numbers to back up his strengths, too.
Once football is back, Grimes has a vital role to play in hauling Swansea towards the play-off spots and having already excelled in the middle of the park, you can expect a number of captain's performances from him in the push to help the club back to the Premier League.