Swansea City v Manchester City | Talking Tactics
Football stats experts WhoScored.com take a look at the form of Swansea City's vice-captain Andre Ayew, and assess his importance ahead of the FA Cup fifth-round clash with Manchester City.
A fine 2-0 win over Norwich on Friday night will have been a huge confidence boost for Swansea City as they seek promotion in a typically congested Championship season.
Goals from Andre Ayew and Conor Hourihane either side of half time capped a professional display for Steve Cooper's side, who are now just two points behind the Canaries at the top of the table with a game in hand.
However, Swansea's next point of focus is the welcome of Premier League powerhouse Manchester City in the FA Cup. The south Wales side have a fine home record to call upon for the midweek cup clash, with the Swans unbeaten in 12 at the Liberty Stadium.
A visit of City, though, will be their toughest test of the campaign.
Of course, City come into the FA Cup tie as favourites, but Swansea can use that to their advantage to spring an FA Cup upset.
This City juggernaut has been chugging along nicely since a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham back in November, and are unbeaten in their last 21 matches, winning the last 14 games.
But in going 1-0 down at Cheltenham in the fourth round, they showed that even sides of such quality and talent don't always have things their own way.
It wasn't until Pep Guardiola brought out the big guns at Cheltenham that City booked their spot in the fifth round of the FA Cup and Swansea will be looking to provide as stern a test as possible for the Citizens.
Swansea do have a number of players with Premier League experience, and Cooper will be looking to them to use that knowledge to help his side..
Andre Ayew may have scored just the once in his career against City, but that came in the only game in which the Ghanaian has faced the Premier League side on home turf.
Ayew was also on hand to bag his ninth league goal of the season in the win over Norwich, with five of his nine goals coming at the Liberty Stadium in 2020/21.
The 31-year-old boasts a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'finishing' and that will be crucial for the Swans in their bid to better City this week.
However, it's not just Ayew's goalscoring ability that will be vital against Guardiola's side. City are expected to dominate possession at the Liberty Stadium, which means the experienced forward must display a WhoScored.com strength of 'holding on to the ball' in order to limit the Premier League side's goalscoring chances.
Ayew's ability to hold off defenders to ease pressure on the goal could be of the utmost importance to deny City from maximising their attacking power.
Guardiola has sought to rotate in the FA Cup, so it's likely that Aymeric Laporte will be the man tasked with keeping the Swansea offensive at bay.
The Frenchman may have lost his spot in the first team, with Ruben Dias and John Stones now Guardiola's preferred centre-back duo, but Laporte proved at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium in the last round that he is a more than able deputy and he has long been admired as one of the top-flight's leading centre-backs.
Indeed, Laporte earned a WhoScored.com rating of 7.28 in the win over Cheltenham to further reinforce his quality at the back and, if he does start in defence in Swansea, then Ayew has his work cut out to get the better of the City defender.
Swansea, though, have conceded fewer home goals (6) than any other Championship side this season and if they can maintain that home resilience, with Ayew key, then they have the means to offer City a real test in their search of an upset.