Bradford City will start Sunday's Capital One Cup Final as massive outsiders to win silverware for the first time since 1911 but having armed himself with a notebook in the stand, our chief scout Matty Briggs believes there is reason for Phil Parkinson to be cautiously optimistic...
By Matt Briggs
Last Updated: 22/02/13 10:30am
Ahead of Sunday's Capital One Cup final at Wembley Matty Briggs has been cast in the role of Bradford City chief scout as he looks to find possible weaknesses in Michael Laudrup's classy Swansea City outfit. The Bantams' journey to the home of football has been arguably the story of the season and while Phil Parkinson's side will start the game as real outsiders, our man in the stand believes there are reasons to be optimistic for the League Two promotion hopefuls.
Swansea City scout report
Premier League position:
8th - W 10, D 9 L 8.
Probable line-up: Vorm, Rangel, Williams, Monk, Davies; Ki, De Guzman; Dyer, Hernandez, Routledge; Michu.
Swansea were comprehensively beaten 5-0 by Liverpool at Anfield last Sunday, but the performance and result can be disregarded. Michael Laudrup made seven changes to his starting line-up - leaving out star striker Michu, centre-back Ashley Williams and widemen Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge.
Swansea were totally outplayed and the scoreline did not flatter Liverpool, who had 35 shots on goal - a Premier League record this season. Laudrup claimed he was 'embarrassed' and apologised to the fans for the performance, but there will be a strong desire to put that display behind them against Bradford at Wembley.
The 6ft 3in striker has scored 17 goals this season and is Swansea's most potent threat. He is strong in the air, has an excellent chance conversion rate and possesses good hold up play. He doesn't venture away from the centre of field much and is heavily reliant on service provided from his team-mates. The targetman does like to drop into deep positions and help out his midfield, but he can be prone to giving away free-kicks when doing so.
A right winger with terrific pace who has netted four goals so far this season. Despite being a wideman he does not provide a prolific amount of crosses, but likes to cut inside and often looks for short passes. He is a dangerous dribbler, direct in style and his speed enables his to skip past opponents with ease. He is a potent attacking force, who wins more than his fair share of free-kicks, but he does work back to help his defence and does like a tackle.
Another diminutive winger, who usually plays on the left. He has five goals this term and his finest asset is his blistering pace. He has three assists in the Premier League this season, and like Dyer, he naturally drifts inside looking to link-up with Michu, Jonathan de Guzman and Pablo Hernandez. He is not as keen to track back as his opposite winger though and aerially he can be found wanting.
Swansea sit in eighth place in the Premier League and average around 56 per cent possession in their league games, but the majority of that possession is inside their own half.
They have scored first in 10 of their 27 games and have managed to win nine of the 10 they have scored first in. They are a difficult side to overhaul once they get into a lead due to their possession football.
They have though failed to score 11 times in those 27 Premier League games - a league high - including six times in their last eight games in all competitions.
They have scored three goals from set-pieces in the league and just two goals on the counter attack with the overwhelming majority of their goals coming from open play. They have though played effectively on the counter attack in cup games and have scored against Liverpool and Chelsea playing in that style, but they are likely to try and dominate proceedings in the final.
They concentrate their play down the middle and on the right side and like to get their full-backs forward to provide extra width.
Swansea have been a dominant force this season in Premier League games and one of their top priorities is possession of the ball (56%). Their pass success rate of 85 per cent has also been a key component for them this season with a short passing game their preferred style of play. Long balls (11%) and crosses (4%) have made up just 15 per cent of their passes this term with the majority of their play and goals coming from right-wing and central positions.
They are particularly potent down the right side with 40 per cent of their attacking play coming down that flank and Dyer is a prominent attacking player for them. He is a key man and his supply line into Michu must be stopped.
The Swans also attack strongly down the middle of the field (32%) with Michu a pivotal figure in link-up play with the likes of Hernandez, De Guzman, Dyer and Routledge. He is Swansea's biggest goalscoring threat and thrives off the support afforded to him from midfield.
Swansea have a weakness at defending set-pieces and are generally vulnerable in the air - winning just 42 per cent of their aerial duels. The Swans have conceded seven goals from corners in the league this season from 140 flag kicks - giving them a ratio of 20 corners per goal conceded. Only Manchester City and Fulham have a worse ratio in the top flight.
Laurdup's men also have a tendency to allow the opposition to create chances against them. They have a record of conceding 15 chances per game in the league.
They are likely to be without their most consistent defender, Chico, for the final. The centre-back is recovering from ruptured ankle ligaments. 33-year-old Garry Monk is the likely replacement and partner for Ashley Williams. Monk is vulnerable to pace, while Williams is reasonably mobile but his acceleration is in doubt and both will be unwilling to play a high line against Bradford striker Nahki Wells.
Right-back Angel Rangel loves to get forward and join the attack, but he can be caught out of position. He can also be rash in the tackle and has picked up seven yellow cards this season. His tackling ability is also in doubt and he tends to give away free-kicks.