Talking Tactics: Alfie Mawson
Ahead of the visit to Arsenal, football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview this afternoon’s Premier League encounter in north London.
The Swans are aiming to immediately bounce back following back-to-back defeats, though they have fared well on the league visits to London this season.
Indeed, they have picked up four points of a possible nine on their trips to the capital. Factor in the opening weekend draw with Southampton, and Paul Clement’s side boasts the seventh best away record in England’s top tier this term.
Swansea also have a respectable record at the Emirates, losing only one of their last four trips to Arsenal, winning two. The Gunners may be a solid side on home turf, but they remain suspect at the back and this can be exploited effectively by Swansea.
One of the Arsenal’s statistically-calculated WhoScored.com weaknesses is ‘avoiding fouling in dangerous areas’ and if the south Wales outfit can draw the fouls, then their best route to goal may come from the back.
Alfie Mawson secured a better WhoScored.com rating (7.77) than any other Swansea player in their home meeting with Leicester last weekend, with his second half goal contributing to that return.
Mawson has now scored more Premier League goals (five) than any other defender in 2017 - all of which have come from set-piece situations.
Should Arsenal commit fouls around their 18-yard box, then it will give Swansea the opportunity to maximise Mawson’s aerial ability to put today’s hosts to the sword and reinforce a WhoScored.com style of play of ‘indirect set-piece threat’.
At the other end of the pitch he also has a key role to play, with the England hopeful expected to have his defensive resilience tested over the 90 minutes.
However, Swansea have endured similar this season having faced the third highest rate of shots per away game (20) in the Premier League this season.
Yet no team has kept more away clean sheets than the Swans (three) this term and while much of that has been down to Lukasz Fabianski’s excellent goalkeeping qualities, Mawson deserves credit for his defensive resolve on the road.
He’ll be up against it at the Emirates Stadium, however, and he needs to remain composed and alert if Swansea are to make it a fourth clean sheet in five away league games this season.
The 23-year-old defender is set to face off against Arsenal’s big money summer signing Alexandre Lacazette.
The France international has enjoyed a bright start to life in north London, scoring four home goals this season, a return bettered only by Leroy Sane (five) in the Premier League.
Lacazette’s WhoScored.com rating in home matches (8.10) is also the fifth best this term and there’s no doubt that Mawson will have his work cut out to deny the former Lyon man.