How Swansea City's stats back-up Marcelo Bielsa's concerns ahead of Leeds United clash

GOING WELL: Swansea City and Bersant Celina, left, have lost just one of their last nine and the Swans have the best passing completion rate in the division.
GOING WELL: Swansea City and Bersant Celina, left, have lost just one of their last nine and the Swans have the best passing completion rate in the division.
Have your say

LEEDS UNITED head coach Marcelo Bielsa was quick to praise tonight's Championship visitors Swansea City in his pre-match press conference.

"It’s a team that hasn't used its full potential so far," said Bielsa.

"They have players very good with the ball."

Not surprisingly, the stats back up Bielsa's thoughts with Graham Potter's side boasting the best passing completion rate in the division of 82.4 per cent.

Leeds might ultimately be 14 points and nine places higher up the table but the last seven games tell a different story with the Swans seventh in the Championship form table over that period with Leeds down in 19th.

Bielsa's Whites have impressed all comers with their free-flowing, high press, passing football under the South American head coach this term and it is no surprise to see the Whites topping the Championship charts in terms of possession with 59.8 per cent.

Sixth-bottom Brentford are perhaps somewhat surprisingly second with 56 per cent, followed by leaders Norwich City with 54.4 but Swansea come in fourth at 54.2 and no other team has been better at finding their man in possession of the ball.

Swansea's passing completion rate is a good deal better than next best Aston Villa's at 79.6 with Leeds clocking in third at 79.3.

Swansea's Tottenham loanee defender Cameron Carter-Vickers also has the best passing completion rate in the division at 92.4 per cent - albeit from only nine starts and six appearances from the bench.

United's Adam Forshaw - injured for tonight's game - has the second best record at 88.2 per cent but Swansea have five players in that particular top 30 with Joe Rodin, former Whites loanee Matt Grimes, Mike van der Hoorn and Bersant Celina all boasting passing completion rates of over 84.3 per cent.

It is little wonder Bielsa likes their style of play.

But with no player in the top 16 of the most key passes and Celina top of his side's assists with just four, it is in terms of what Swansea then do with the ball that has let the Welsh side down with the Swans only 13th in the goalscoring charts with 41 compared to United's 51 that has them fourth in that particular pecking order.

Swansea have scored only 26 goals in open play compared to United's 37 - the second best in the division behind Norwich with a startling 48.

Celina has been Swansea's most creative player

The Swans have also conceded 37 from their 31 games though that is only two fewer than Leeds who in part owe their position near the top of the Championship table to having the second most attempts on target on average of 5.1 per game - level with Villa and behind only Brentford whose problems are at the other end of the pitch.

Swansea, though, have few problems keeping possession on the pitch and as Bielsa eluded to, the stats prove that no other team in the Championship is more careful about not giving it away.

Clearly, as a whole, United's dominance in actually finding the net has Bielsa's side comfortably clear of the Potters but United's recent rocky run has been well documented.

But less heralded is the recent run that Swansea have enjoyed, suggesting that when Potter's men do have the ball they are beginning to make more of their impressive passing completion record.

Their last nine games in league and cup have yielded just one defeat and there was no disgrace in that setback, losing 2-0 at Bristol City who have now won their last seven.

It all means there is more to Swansea than meets the eye, a point of which Bielsa is very aware - and that's without even mentioning Dan James...