Talking Tactics | Wycombe Wanderers v Swansea City
As Swansea City prepare to take on Wycombe Wanderers, football stats experts WhoScored.com take a look at the form and strengths of defender Jake Bidwell.
Swansea City were held to a goalless draw by Birmingham at the Liberty Stadium last weekend and, while they may consider it two points dropped rather than one point gained, the one thing the Swans cannot afford to do is dwell too much on the stalemate as they look to the weekend's trip to Wycombe.
Gareth Ainsworth's side secured their Championship spot via the League One play-offs, but have had a tough start to life in England's second tier. Indeed, Wycombe are at the foot the very early table having suffered two defeats from two, including a 5-0 loss at the hands of Blackburn last weekend.
The Chairboys may have been unfortunate on the opening weekend of the campaign, falling to a late Michael Ihiekwe goal in a home defeat at the hands of Rotherham, but Ainsworth will be demanding more from his players after the heavy loss at Ewood Park.
Unfortunately, they come up against a Swansea side who are one of six teams yet to concede a league goal in 2020-21. Conversely, Wycombe are one of five teams yet to score a goal. Swansea had one of the better away defensive records last term and having shut Preston out at Deepdale, the Swans will be aiming to record a third-successive clean sheet when they make the trip to Adams Park for Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.
Only Millwall (10) have kept more away clean sheets than Swansea (seven) of current Championship sides since the start of the 2019-20 campaign, and a key player this weekend could prove to be Jake Bidwell in both Swansea's quest to keep the Wycombe offensive at bay, and in their quest to gain another three points.
In his opening two league appearances of the season, Bidwell has garnered an average WhoScored.com rating of 7.17. Bidwell provided the assist for Morgan Gibbs-White's winning goal at Preston earlier this month and boasting WhoScored.com strengths of 'crossing' and 'key passes', he has the means to help put Wycombe to the sword from his wing-back role.
One of Wycombe's 10 statistically calculated WhoScored.com weaknesses is 'stopping opponents from creating chances' and, if they are unable to prevent opponents from creating goalscoring opportunities, it will play into the Swans' hands, and Bidwell in particular.
Swansea have a style of play of 'attacking down the left', so it's clear 27-year-old has an important role to play in Wycombe.
The player tasked with minimising Bidwell's attacking influence will be Scottish right-back Jack Grimmer. The 26-year-old may have yielded a WhoScored rating of just 6.25 this season, but that in itself is the sixth best of all Wycombe players in 2020/21.
Ranking joint-top for tackles (five) of all Wycombe players from their opening two league matches this season, Grimmer will be ready for the task of looking to limit Bidwell in the final third and deny him the opportunity to put balls into the box, as shown by a WhoScored.com strength of 'blocking the ball'.
Yet Swansea will hope Bidwell's experience at this level can be part of a performance that helps them extend their unbeaten start.
Swansea secured a 2-0 win the last time these two met back in 2007 and Cooper would undoubtedly take that result were it to end up being the outcome of Saturday's lunchtime clash at Wycombe.