Tuesday night sees a clash of two teams that are almost statistically inseparable. Both will have had one eye on this fixture prior to their weekend fixtures.
Contrasting previous results but identical form
Birmingham have had slightly longer to prepare, due to their last action being Friday evening where they fell to a 3-1 defeat at Norwich in what was one of the better Championship games this season. The Blues fell behind early, but rallied instantly when Che Adams equalised, however Garry Monk’s men failed to match the quality displayed by the hosts and left Carrow Road with nothing.
Swansea ran out 4-1 winners over Gillingham on Saturday afternoon, in the FA cup. The hosts quickly doused any hopes of an upset for The Gills as they gave themselves a two goal cushion after just 32 minutes. A Gillingham fightback looked on as they pulled one back just five minutes after half time, but the Swans kicked on to seal a place in the next round in dominant fashion.
Despite these contrasting results, both sides head in to Tuesday’s meeting with matching stats from their previous six games in the league. Both have won two, drawn two, lost two and they even have the same goal difference.
The draw is priced at 3.3.
Mediocrity everywhere you look
If you look at both sides this season, there’s a very consistent theme. A theme of both being very average in most areas. Swansea sit in 11th place in the league, just above Birmingham in 13th, they are separated by just a single point. The sides make up the clustered pack of teams that are attempting to bridge the gap between mid-table and play-offs.
Swansea have taken 21 points from a possible 42 at home, with Birmingham taking 17 from 42 on the road. They have both recorded the same number of clean sheets this season and all stats lead us to believe this will be a very tight affair.
Potential for goals in the forward areas
The positive results both teams have claimed this season are down in no small part to the strikers plying their trade for these two clubs. The Championship season can be painful and arduous when you lack a focal point in attack, an issue neither side face.
Swansea rely heavily on Scotsman Oliver McBurnie, who will be full of confidence and eager to capitalise on his form after netting two in Saturday’s cup win. He has been a real asset for the Swans, not just for his goals but also his hold-up play, which could prove useful if the hosts are under pressure. He has been the first goal scorer in games seven times this season and is available at 5.0 (2.5 anytime).
The hosts are likely to be under pressure at some stage, down to Birmingham’s own talisman; Che Adams. Who has found the goal in each of his last three league games, and 14 times throughout the season. Three more than McBurnie has registered in the league this campaign. Adams has struggled in previous seasons, but the quality of his play has came on tenfold and he looks to be achieving some of the potential he was labelled to have.
Adams has struck up a balanced partnership with target man Lukasz Jutkiewicz, who himself has scored 10 goals this season. He has been far from successful in previous sides, most notably failing to score in 32 appearances for Burnley. This season has been a real purple patch by his standards. Overlooking his goal scoring stats it’s his physical presence is what Adams thrives off, and he will need to be carefully marshalled if Swansea want to take something from the game. Adams matches McBurnie for first goal scorer this season with 50% of his goals being the first of the game. Adams is priced at 5.5 first and 2.8 anytime.
Back both teams to be on target
Both teams games have seen over 2.5 goals in 54% of their games this season Furthermore, both teams have scored in 57% of Birmingham’s games, and in 54% of Swansea’s. These figures also serve as further examples of the sides’ similarities this season, in both defence and attack they have had equal levels of success.
With the threat both sides pose in attack, and the similarity in their fortunes this season I can see them matching each other goal for goal.
The aim for these two sides is to kick their seasons on from here, by targeting the play offs which although still wide open could soon start to look like a fading dream if they don’t improve their results.
Both teams to score is available at 1.86, add in a draw and you’re looking at 4.33.
The Liberty could be the difference
Graham Potter wants his team to believe they can win every single game, they’re up to 11th in the table and confidence will be high after scoring four at the weekend. A win here could give the home side the ideal ammunition to begin an assault up the table.
The crowd will be right behind the Welsh side, there is something about Potter’s belief which has infected the fans as well as he’ll hope, the players.
Saturday saw some game time for electric winger Barry Mckay, who got himself on to the scoresheet. Even if he is used only off the bench on Tuesday evening, his pace and direct running may swing the game in the Swans favour should it be level. McKay is sure to be urged on by the home support who will be keen to see him replicate the kind of performances that saw him become so popular at Rangers.
To win the match the hosts are priced at 2.1, with that price increasing to 4.5 if you fancy both teams to score.
Best bet is a win and both teams to score
It’s a crucial game for both sides if they want to make their play-off push a reality. I can see them both going for it, as both will have marked this as a key game to get three points in. A draw does very little for either side.
McBurnie to score first @ 5.0
Over 2.5 goals @ 2.15