Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Cardiff City

19th March 2021
First team
Connor Roberts Talking Tactics

Football stats experts take a look at the form of Connor Roberts, and examine what impact the local boy can have in this weekend's South Wales derby against Cardiff City.

A 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth on Tuesday night was hardly ideal for Swansea in their hunt of a top-two spot, but there would be no better way to bounce back than in a South Wales derby.

Coupled with Watford's 4-1 win at Rotherham in midweek, Swansea's defeat means the Hornets now sit three points and one place above them coming into the final round of games before the international break, albeit with a game in hand.

Nevertheless, given Watford's good form of late - they have earned more points (38) than any other Championship team since Xisco Munoz's  appointment in December - Swansea will not want to drop any further adrift and will view getting back to winning ways as of the utmost importance.

A meeting with fierce rivals Cardiff presents the Swans with the perfect chance to head into the international break on a high. The Bluebirds started well under Mick McCarthy, although a run of one win in five has seen them drop six points off the play-off spots.

On the road, though, Cardiff are on the current longest unbeaten streak in the Championship having won four and drawn three of their last seven away league matches. That said, Cardiff have won only one of their last six trips to Swansea, who themselves have lost just one of their last 15 league games at the Liberty Stadium.

And with bragging rights, along with three vital points, up for grabs, one of Swansea's local lads has a key role to play against Cardiff.

Connor Roberts has been one of the Swans' best performers this season, with the Welshman exceptional from right wing-back. In being deployed in a more advanced role, it allows the 25-year-old to maximise one of his three statistically calculated strengths of 'key passes'.

Only Norwich ace Emiliano Buendia (102) has created more goalscoring chances than Roberts (71) at the time of writing in the Championship this season and it has translated to five assists in 2020-21; only team-mate Jake Bidwell (seven) has more among Championship defenders.

He'll be looking to add to that record against Cardiff, and at least match his assist in the 2-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium earlier in the campaign.

Roberts' WhoScored rating of 7.72 in the 2-0 victory back in December was his fourth best this season, which bodes well for the South Wales derby this weekend. However, with Cardiff developing a statistically calculated style of play of 'attacking down the left', Roberts will also have a job to do defensively in order to stifle the Bluebirds offensive efforts down his side of the pitch.

Another exciting wing-back talent is set to take on Roberts in this South Wales battle, with Perry Ng making a solid impact following his January arrival from Crewe. Ng was one of the most exciting talents in Crewe's successful promotion to League One and he has continued his good form in the Championship, as evidenced in his rating of 6.99.

It promises to be an enticing clash between two attack-minded wing-backs at the Liberty Stadium but, given Roberts' fine form this season, Swansea supporters are hoping one of their own can help their side come out on top this weekend.