Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Reading
With Carabao Cup duties a welcome distraction from the league, Swansea City boss Steve Cooper will look to get his team’s domestic campaign back on track against Reading today.
Following a first home defeat of the campaign against Nottingham Forest, Cooper’s Swans reacted with a worthy point at Bristol City last weekend.
Back in South Wales against a Reading outfit that has now lost their last three league outings to leave them just two points above the relegation zone, Cooper should be confident of overseeing a return to winning ways today.
History is on Swansea’s side coming into the clash too. They are unbeaten in their last six meetings with the Royals, winning five, and have lost only one of their last 13 Championship outings.
On top of that, Reading have won only two of their last 23 games away from home, with their travelling woes cause for concern ahead of their trip to Wales to face a Swansea side that has lost just one of their last 15 league matches at the Liberty Stadium.
Reading have kept just two clean sheets from eight league games this season, with their defensive resolve nigh-on non-existent, while Swansea have netted eight times in four home matches, so will fancy their chances of piling further misery upon a downtrodden Reading side this afternoon.
And with his two goals coming in his last five league outings, Bersant Celina must fancy his chances of adding to his record today.
The Kosovan has gained a respectable WhoScored.com rating of 6.97 from his eight league outings this season as he seeks to build on a fine debut campaign with the Swans. Whether he starts in the number 10 role or from the wing, Celina has the means to put opponents to the sword as he aims to maximise a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘long shots’.
Given Swansea have developed a strength of ‘creating long shot opportunities’ and the WhoScored.com match forecast suggests it is likely that Swansea ‘will score a long shot’, the 23-year-old can expect to be handed plenty of opportunities to test Reading goalkeeper Rafael Cabral from distance.
The hosts, though, can’t simply rest on their laurels in their bid to get back to winning ways and a professional performance is required in order to put another three points on the board in their promotion push.
Celina may have the ability to hit the back of the net from outside of the box, but if he does start behind Borja Baston, then he’ll have tough-tackling Pele to get the better of in the final third.
The 27-year-old boasts a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘tackling’, which is little shock as he averages the second most tackles per game (2.8) of all Reading players, and if he is able to exhibit this quality of his game then Celina needs to put in a top-quality performance to add to his two league goals this term and ensure Swansea earn all the spoils here.
A master at working space for himself, however, Celina has what it takes to shake off his marker and find himself in positions that’ll allow him to go for goal from distance. If given the chance to test Cabral, then it could prove a long afternoon for Reading and a fourth successive league defeat to boot, with Swansea more than capable of getting their promotion quest back on track this afternoon