Swansea City – Match Report vs Brentford 26/07/20

In the Championship playoff semi-final first leg, Swansea came out 1-0 winners over Brentford who failed to clinch promotion on the final day. Brentford saved a penalty from Ayew in the second half but Rico Henry was quickly sent off afterwards. His suspension has been overturned since but the unfair dismissal changed the game massively, and allowed Swansea to score the winner in the 82nd. Swansea set up in their 3-4-1-2, with Ayew often dropping into wide spaces. Their back three sat fairly deep in possession and tried to use the full backs and runs in behind to progress the ball. With a physical back three, they defended pretty well and this game could have gone either way easily.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Conor Gallagher

Player profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 06/02/2000
  • Current Club: Swansea City, on loan from Chelsea
  • Career: Chelsea, Charlton (L), Swansea City (L)
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Playing behind the strikers, Gallagher had a strong game. He saw quite a bit of the ball, able to retain and protect it fairly well but wasn’t that physical in challenges. He had a good first touch, using both feet to control the ball with quick reactions under pressure. With good technique he spread play to the full backs well throughout the game before making forward runs. He didn’t carry into space much and in 1v1s he wasn’t great and wasn’t able to beat his man, lacking confidence and could slow play.

His off the ball movement was good, making darted underlaps to the wing backs and runs into wide areas of the box, where he looked to cut the ball back across goal, but if in a 1v1 he wasn’t able to beat his man or create space, he was forced backwards easily. The Chelsea loanee showed decent creativity in the final third and midfield, trying to make things happen and was good at finding pockets of space and receiving between the lines. He contributed directly to 7 of Swansea’s 14 shots as well as getting the second assist for the goal with a first time flick into the box. He took quick long shots on loose balls with some powerful efforts which forced simple saves. He could open his hips more and could improve his left foot. He took risks in midfield with some good first-time passes but could lose the ball at times and could retain the ball more at times.

He covered a lot of ground, working hard to track back when needed and make runs off the ball, he didn’t show much intensity or aggression though. He had a lean, average build with okay pace and decent agility. When he tracked back he didn’t show much defensively, he was passive but did enough to slow the opposition.

Rating – A1

A good performance from a player who will surely be on loan to a Premier League club next season to continue his development outside of Chelsea.

Marc Guehi

Player profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 13/07/2000
  • Current Club: Swansea City, on loan from Chelsea
  • Career: Chelsea, Swansea City (L)
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Guehi played the full 90 on the left side of Swansea’s back three. He was calm in possession, able to deal with loose balls and send them back to the keeper. He had good passing technique to produce smooth passing and used both feet to control the ball. Under pressure and in tight situations, he did well as times to play through it and was composed but one time put too much power on a pass, putting the receiving teammate under pressure.

Once Brentford went down the 10 men he was able to step up more into a higher position in the opposition half and spread play to the left wing back well or recycle it back round if they couldn’t get down the left wing. He also made a very good pass into the box to meet a runner into the wide area of the box.

He’s got a strong build and is physically well developed with a good leap. He was strong in the air, able to step out and clear long balls into midfield. He put good pressure on attackers from behind and was physical with them. He marked well in the box but didn’t have to defend 1v1 much but did put in an excellent tackle late on as an opposition player ran at him, he put in a strong challenge, staying on his feet and carrying forward to start the counter. He had okay pace and made a few small errors, coming across as a little inexperienced in a few moments but overall doing well.

Rating – A2

Rhian Brewster

Player profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 01/04/2000
  • Current Club: Swansea City, on loan from Liverpool
  • Career: Chelsea (Y), Liverpool, Swansea City (L)
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Brewster played along Ayew up front. The Liverpool loanee worked hard, covering a lot of ground. He pressed intelligently and tracked back when needed without exerting much energy. He had an average build, a little stocky and showed some okay aggression a few times. A few times he was isolated up front and did well to carry and create space for himself, with a good burst of pace.

He made some simple short passes and layoffs which were fairly good but didn’t have the physicality to hold up play that well. He had the fewest touches on the Swansea team but had a good impact and didn’t drop as deep as Ayew.He received the ball well with good first touches. Off the ball he made good runs, creating space for Ayew and Gallagher as well as dangerous runs into the box to try and be on the end of cut backs and low crosses but wasn’t able to. He had a very strong right foot, able to test the goalkeeper with a powerful shot.

Hard working, a decent athlete who pressed well and showed good positioning and unselfish movement, Brewster had a strong game and will likely be loaned out to a Premier League side next season.

Rating – A1

Connor Roberts

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Welsh
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 23/09/1995
  • Current Club: Swansea City
  • Career: Swansea City, Middlesborough (L)
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Playing as the right wing back, Roberts grew into the game. He’s not very tall at 5’8″ with a slim build. He had decent pace and acceleration but was beaten by Benhrama with a burst of pace a few times, unable to keep up. He had good work rate and showed good stamina, working hard to track and also support the attack with overlapping runs. He grew into the game, with Rico Henry being sent of he was able to push forward with more freedom but was also allowed a lot more space to be able to run into and overlap Ayew who dropped into the right half space.

He made good passes into Ayew and down the line with good power on them and was also able to pass inside well several times in tight 3v3s and into Gallagher between the lines. He wasn’t able to get into many crossing positions however and didn’t have much impact in the final third. On the ball his decision making was quite slow at times.

Out of possession he made good recovery runs and his positioning was good, he was able to make a good interception of a switch of play. In 1v1s he jockeyed aggressively, on his toes and trying to force them backwards without overcommitting, but could have been more side-on. His turning speed could have been better and wasn’t able to keep up with a burst of pace well enough.

Rating – B1

Jamie Grimes

Player profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 25
  • Date of birth: 15/07/1995
  • Current Club: Swansea City
  • Career: Exeter, Swansea City, Blacburn (L), Leeds (L), Northampton (L)
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Playing in the midfield two, Grimes was the deeper midfielder in buildup often and would then get forward. Swansea’s buildup was quite slow and Grimes could have offered himself an option more at times and fought to find space. He had the 3rd most touches by Swansea’s players.

In possession he lowered the tempo at times and could have been quicker to make decision and turned with the ball sooner and with more explosiveness. He took a few heavy touches and he could have shown some more awareness in midfield at times but did have some quick reactions to play through pressure at times. He took a lot of touches on the ball and could have moved the ball on quicker, he did show good retention and control though. He tried to progress the ball but at times his passes lacked accuracy or weight and showed his frustration at times. He didn’t tend to carry the ball and didn’t try to beat players in midfield.

Out of possession he was beaten too easily in midfield, he was too side on and didn’t deal with changes of direction enough. He was quite average athletically and struggled to stay tight to attackers and allowed too much space and not enough aggression in challenges.

Rating – C

Ben Cabango

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Welsh
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 30/05/2000
  • Current Club: Swansea City
  • Career: Swansea City, The New Saints (L)
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Standing at 6’1″ Cabango is a physical, well built centre half with a good frame. He defended in the box well and was strong in the air, able to read crosses well and position himself to clear them. He was strong but could have been more aggressive to really stop attackers from playing and made it hard for them. He would be tight and could be dragged out of the line but didn’t use his body enough and allowed them to play too easily anyway. He had good defensive footwork though and got tight in 1v1s.

In possession he kept it simple and saw less of the ball than his centre back partners but had good technique and didn’t take risk, largely passing to his other centre backs. He was fairly quiet when Swansea were in possession, however, like Guehi, once Brentford went down to 1 men, he was positioned higher and able to spread play quite well.

Rating – B2

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