Talking Tactics | Middlesbrough v Swansea City

6th April
First team
Jamie Paterson Sheffield Wednesday

Swansea City travel to Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday (3pm Kick off) as they look to bounce back from defeat to Queens Park Rangers on Easter Monday. 

Ahead of the clash on Teesside, preview the contest, looking at what to expect from Boro, a key battle and key stat. 


What to expect from Middlesbrough 

Middlesbrough head into this fixture on a six-game unbeaten run, having won four of those last six in the Sky Bet Championship.

Michael Carrick’s side were 2-0 winners over Sheffield Wednesday in their last outing. Boro went in one goal to the good at the break thanks to an own goal, before doubling their lead through Isaiah Jones, midway through the second half. 

Over the season, Boro have actually proven more successful on the road than at the Riverside Stadium, with nine wins on their travels as opposed to eight at home. 

Carrick’s side have set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in 34 of their 40 league games so far this term, with 35-year-old Jonny Howson their most-frequently utilised player with 2,615 minutes under his belt.’s statistically developed strengths for Middlesbrough include creating chances using through balls and individual skill, while only Leicester City (89), Leeds United (82) and Southampton (75) have created more big chances than Boro (74) so far this term; the home side's creativity from open play is one of their core strengths.


Key Battle

Jamie Paterson applauds fans at Bristol City

Since making the move to Boro in the January transfer window, Finn Azaz has continued where he left off at the end of his loan spell at Plymouth Argyle over the first half of the season.

The 23-year-old has been a key creative outlet for Carrick’s side and has created a total of 13 big chances in the league this season, ranking sixth for that metric and tied with the likes of Leif Davis and Daniel James. 

For Middlesbrough, Azaz is averaging 1.1 key passes per game, as opposed to 2.4 per game at Argyle, and has scored two goals and provided one assist in his 14 appearances.

Skipper Howson has also significantly contributed to their chance creation. He leads the way for key passes for the Teessiders with a total of 56 this season. 

Swansea have a creative outlet of their own in Jamie Paterson. The Englishman has contributed 10 goal involvements in the Championship this season with six goals and four assists – the joint-highest such figure in the squad alongside Jamal Lowe and Liam Cullen.

Paterson is averaging 1.5 key passes per game which sets him above his colleagues, as well as contributing to the defensive effort with 57 tackles, the second most of any Swansea player. 

It could prove an interesting head to head between two important creative players in Azaz and Paterson, and whichever side can afford their respective player the space and time to cause damage will fancy themselves to come away with a positive result.


Key Stat 

The hosts rank highly for xG in the Championship with their total of 64.11 being the fourth-highest in the division this season. The Swans have accumulated 54.77 in comparison. 

That said, Boro are the third-highest under-performers in that regard, having scored 54 goals from their 64.11 xG, a negative differential of 10.11 goals.