Talking Tactics | Millwall v Swansea City
Football stats experts WhoScored identify full-back Connor Roberts as a key man in Swansea City's Championship fixture against Millwall at The Den this afternoon (5pm).
The Luton defeat was a setback, that goes without saying, yet Swansea City have the perfect chance to bounce back as they quickly return to action today.
Indeed, Steve Cooper's side make the trip to London as they take on fellow play-off hopefuls Millwall. The Lions have made a stuttering start to life post-lockdown, first losing to Derby on home turf before being held to a 0-0 draw with relegation-threatened Barnsley at the weekend.
As such, Swansea gointo the away clash one point and one place above Millwall in the table. Cooper will be hoping for a repeat of their trip to Middlesbrough earlier this month, where they ran out 3-0 winners, and build upon their solid away record.
Indeed, 27 points on the road is the sixth best return in the Championship this season as they look to close the gap on rivals Cardiff in sixth. They look to be facing Millwall at The Den at just the right time, too. Gary Rowett has overseen a five-match winless on home turf, that the third longest current streak of its kind in the Championship, which doesn't bode well against a Swans outfit that has excelled on their travels.
Swansea also boast a decent record at Millwall and are unbeaten in their last three trips to London, winning two, including a battling 2-1 win in this match last season. Connor Roberts put in a solid shift at right-back in that victory, earning a WhoScored.com rating of 6.79, and the right-back has a big role to play once more this evening.
The 24-year-old has the necessary tricks of the trade to ensure Millwall see as little of the ball as possible at The Den. Rowett's side have developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com weakness of 'keeping possession of the ball', which plays to Roberts' strengths.
The right-back boasts WhoScored.com strengths of 'passing' and 'holding on to the ball', both of which are deemed to be very strong, so he'll know when the best time is to release the ball and retain possession for the good of the team to ensure Millwall are starved of possession as possible down his side of the pitch.
What's more, starting Roberts evidently has a positive effect on how Swansea fare in the league this season with their win ratio increasing from 23.1 per cent to 42.3 per cent when he features from the outset in the Championship this term. He's expected to start at right-back today and that should be a boost for the Swans.
Shane Ferguson has the tough task of getting the better of Roberts, and it remains to be seen whether the 28-year-old is up to the task. Ferguson has just three assists to his name this season, though two of those three have come in his last three league outings, and a WhoScored.com rating of just 6.44 is one of the lowest of all Millwall players this season.
Ferguson boasts statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strengths of 'crossing' and 'key passes', and the winger can maximise his delivery to utilise Matt Smith's towering presence in the 18-yard box to good effect.
However, Roberts is experienced enough to limit Ferguson's influence to help Swansea move to within one point of the play-offs today.