Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Cardiff City

23rd October 2022
First team
Ollie Cooper

Swansea City produced a rapid response to the loss at Burnley to make it five wins from six at Reading's expense in midweek, attention now turns to the south Wales derby.

Here, take a look at what to expect from Cardiff City, the key battle and a key stat.

What to expect from Cardiff

Mark Hudson

Since Steve Morison was sacked as Cardiff boss last month, caretaker manager Mark Hudson has flitted between a number of systems, chopping and changing between a 4-4-2, a 4-3-3 and, most recently, a 5-3-2.

The latter result didn't have the desired effect as the Bluebirds fell to a 3-0 loss at QPR in midweek, though their quest for a result in west London wasn't helped by Jack Simpson's first-half red card.

Nevertheless, Hudson is tipped to revert back to a 4-3-3 for Sunday's south Wales derby as Cardiff look to improve one of the worst away records in the Championship.

Indeed, the Bluebirds have picked up just seven points from their eight games on their travels this season and have conceded 13 goals.

Going forward, Cardiff have not found the net with the regularity they would have hoped for.

Only Preston (9) and Coventry (10) have scored fewer goals than Cardiff (12) in England's second tier this term and their issues in front of goal has seen Hudson's side develop a statistically calculated WhoScored weakness of 'finishing scoring chances'.

Nevertheless, if Cardiff are to score at the Stadium on Sunday, then the danger man, particularly in a 4-3-3, will be Callum O'Dowda. The 27-year-old has been directly involved in five of their 12 goals, returning a rating of 6.88.

O'Dowda is able to play on either flank, though he has featured down the right in Cardiff's last three league games, so expect that run to continue this weekend.

The Bluebirds do boast a style of play of 'attacking down the right' and for good reason, with 42% of their attacks coming down the right flank, the fourth highest such ratio in the Championship.

Two of O'Dowda's three best-rated performances this season have come in games he has started on the right wing, so Swansea will want to avoid giving the wideman the freedom to maximise his attacking output if they are to continue their good recent run in this fixture.

Key battle

Ollie Cooper cele

Ollie Cooper's breakthrough following a successful loan spell with Newport last season has been one of the stories of Swansea's season to date.

The energetic attacking midfielder has two goals in his last two home games and would love to keep that run going on derby day.

Cooper, whose father Kevin did have a spell at Cardiff as a player but will surely be cheering on his son and the home side this weekend,  is set to keep his spot in the Swansea XI, with Joel Piroe absent once more through suspension.

The 22-year-old has been directly involved in three league goals this season, all of which have come at home, including those decisive goals in recent wins over Sunderland and Reading.

Playing on the left side of the attack line, it's likely that Perry Ng will be the man tasked with marshalling Cooper, and it could prove a vital individual battle.

Key stat

Cedric Kipre

Cardiff have been fairly resolute when playing at home, but have not been as effective defensively on the road.

Not only have they shipped 12 times on their travels, but only Middlesbrough, Huddersfield and Millwall (all 0) have kept fewer away clean sheets than Cardiff (1) away from home this season.

Improving that record will be vital for the visitors.