With Bristol City 12 points out of the playoffs and 13 out of the relegation zone, the Robins have little to play for in the closing weeks of the season and are likely to finish mid-table. However, Nigel Pearson will take his men to south Wales on Sunday with the aim of securing all the loot to earn bragging rights on his side of the River Severn.
For the most part, Pearson has favored a three-man defense, but he recently switched to a 4-2-3-1 setup, and that’s likely to continue here. The system has Nahki Wells spearheading the attack, the 32-year-old their top scorer this season with 11 league goals to his name, and Andi Weimann as support.
No player has registered more assists than Weimann (4) of all Bristol City players in England’s second tier this term, with up-and-coming Alex Scott operating as one of two central midfielders in the base midfield. There is a solid core in this Bristol City squad, but one that has been hampered by injury.
Robert Atkinson and Kal Naismith sit first and third respectively as the Robins’ highest-rated players in the Championship this season, but the central defender pair are out of the game at Swansea.com Stadium. As such, swap left-back Cameron Pring is set to feature at the heart of the defence, with Jay Dasilva on the left side of defence.
However, this is not so bad. Dasilva ranks first in key passes per game (1.1) of all Bristol City players this season, while one of his strengths statistically calculated by WhoScored.com is ‘attacking on the wings’. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that only 21% of his attacks come through midfield, the lowest proportion in the Championship, so keeping the ball on the flanks is crucial for Swansea.
Furthermore, a Bristol City style of play is also ‘attacking on the left’ and for good reason. Dasilva not only ranks first in key passes per game for the club, but left winger Anis Mehmeti ranks first in dribbles per game (2.5) for Pearson’s team. That left flank could be vital for Bristol City at Swansea on Sunday, making it imperative to close that route to goal.
However, once Swansea are in front, Russell Martin has the players at his disposal to cause damage. Bristol City’s five WhoScored.com weaknesses focus on defence, one of which is ‘defending against deep ball attacks’. With ‘creating chances using through balls’ one of Swansea’s strengths, WhoScored.com’s match forecast suggests that Swansea are likely to ‘score as a result of a through ball’ – and this is where the captain comes into play. Matt Grimes.
‘Through the balls’ happens to be one of Grimes’s two strengths on WhoScored.com, and understandably so. Only Josh Cullen (7) has made more accurate passes than Grimes (6) in the Championship this season at time of writing, while his seven assists are fifth best in the division. Swansea will be hoping for a captain’s performance this weekend.