Stats taken from BBC Sport Website
Why did I choose to analyse this game?
Difference Between the TeamsHaving seen the previous rounds, and particularly the hype after beating Arsenal and Aston Villa, Swansea will have known that Bradford’s key tactic was the use of Hanson as a target man and to hassle them into giving up possession while playing forward quickly in a direct style. Swansea, renowned for their passing game, were quite a contrast to this and by overloading the midfield were able to comfortably pass the ball around Bradford. The gulf in quality was evident from the start and Swansea were perhaps better prepared by heeding the warnings of what had happened to Arsenal, Aston Villa, Wigan & Watford in earlier rounds.
Key tactics from each sideWhile it might seem obvious that Swansea won so comfortably by being better than Bradford, football is usually not so simple, especially in a one off cup game. The first key to Swansea’s victory was to stop Bradford’s aerial advantage of Hanson. Bradford’s tactic of dropping deep to try and put bodies in between Swansea’s midfield and the goal played into the Welsh teams hands, as the Bradford midfield dropped to a line around 20 yards inside their own half. Given this situation most defences would step up to create a unit around 15 yards behind this (around the half way line) but Swansea’s defence stayed in a position around 10-15 yards deeper than this, inviting Hanson & Wells to play further forward. This succeed in isolating the Bradford front men and any loose knock downs from them were generally picked up by De Guzman or Britton.
Was the result fair?Unfortunately you’d have to say yes. Even the 5-0 scoreline could have been much more. Once Bradford had been reduced to 10 men on the hour for what was, for neutrals at least, a harsh red card for Matt Duke the Bradford goalkeeper Swansea were very comfortable. Bradford possibly showed too much respect for Swansea and would maybe have been better focusing on an “up and at them” style instead of trying to contain a team which many Premier League sides have failed to do. Despite all this Swansea’s tactics were absolutely spot on, testament to Michael Laudrup and his staff
ConclusionSwansea had clearly done their homework on Bradford. They ensured the game was played to their strengths and nullified Bradford’s main threat to run out comfortable winners. Take nothing away from the run Bradford have had but Swansea’s excellent pass and move football, often used as a defensive tactic under Brendan Rodgers has been taken by Laudrup and evolved it into a free flowing attacking style which Bradford couldn’t deal with.