Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Rotherham United

27th February
First team
Morgan Whittaker V Stoke

Swansea are back in action tonight as they welcome Rotherham to the Stadium. Ahead of this one, preview the league clash, taking a look at what to expect from the Millers, the key battle and a key stat.

What to expect from Rotherham

Matty Taylor

Rotherham may find themselves towards the relegation spots in the Championship once again, but they have given themselves a great chance of avoiding drop and breaking the cycle of promotions and relegations of their previous five seasons.

Coming into tonight's game at the Stadium, the Millers currently sit five points above the drop zone having recently ended a five-game winless run with a 2-1 victory over Sunderland.

Matt Taylor had big boots to fill at the AESSEAL New York Stadium following Paul Warne's decision to take over at Derby back in September and, to his credit, he has performed admirably at the Rotherham helm.

Taylor has favoured a three-man backline during his time at the club, yet of late has moved away from the setup to a four-man defence and a 4-4-1-1 formation for the win over Sunderland. There is no reason to suggest he'll move away from the system for tonight's game.

The system means top scorer Chiedozie Ogbene plays out on the right flank rather than through the middle, with the aim clearly being for Ogbene to be on the ball as much as possible to help pin opponents back.

Rotherham have developed a statistically calculated style of play of 'attacking down the right' and for good reason with 47% of their attacks coming down the right flank, the highest proportion in the Championship.

Ogbene ranks second for both dribbles (1.1) and key passes per game (0.7) of all Rotherham players, so one can appreciate Taylor's desire to get one of their most potent attacking threats in possession as frequently as possible.

As such, Taylor has designated midfield pair Oliver Rathbone and Conor Coventry with providing the protection for the Millers backline, and this in turn allows Ogbene to focus more on hurting opponents, rather than stopping them.

Both Rathbone and Coventry rank joint-top for tackles per game (2.6) of all Rotherham players this season, with the latter proving a fine addition from Premier League outfit West Ham.

Another January addition who has impressed is Tariqe Fosu-Henry, who ranks top for dribbles per game (3.3) of all Rotherham players, and it's evident that Taylor has an efficient but potent midfield to utilise in Rotherham's bid to beat the drop, and one that Swansea need to be wary of tonight.

Key battle

Morgan Whittaker Cele Stoke 2

The match forecast suggests that it is very likely Swansea 'will score a long shot' and that could benefit Morgan Whittaker.

The 22-year-old was recalled from his loan spell at Plymouth at the turn of the year after shining for the Pilgrims, where he scored nine and registered a further seven assists. Of those nine, four came from outside of the box, which remains the second most in League One this season.

Having recently netted the third Championship goal of his career, Whittaker will be desperate to follow up his strike against Stoke with another goal tonight, particularly if his team-mates are able present him the chance to test the Rotherham goal from range.

However, standing between Whittaker and a second league goal for Swansea this season is the Championship's busiest goalkeeper. Viktor Johansson has made at least 31 more saves (130) than any other goalkeeper in England's second tier this term, including 47 from outside of the box, more than any other shotstopper.

Unsurprisingly, the Swede is Rotherham's best rated player with a rating of 7.02.

Key stat

While Swansea rank top for pass success rate (87%), Rotherham actually have the lowest pass accuracy return (66.3%) in England's second tier this term, resulting in a weakness of 'keeping possession of the ball'.

If those trends continue tonight, Swansea will want to showcase a clinical edge in front of goal and make the most of their share of the ball, with Rotherham looking to defend diligently and hurt their hosts in transition.