Talking Tactics | Bournemouth v Swansea City
After earning a huge win at Coventry in midweek, Swansea remain on their travels as they make the trip to the south coast to take on league leaders Bournemouth this afternoon.
WhoScored.com are once again on hand to preview the action, looking at what to expect from Bournemouth, the key battle and a key stat.
What to expect from Bournemouth
Bournemouth saw their unbeaten start to the season come to an abrupt end in midweek as they fell to a surprise 2-1 home defeat to Preston.
The Cherries remain top of the Championship, but their lead has been cut to two points after Fulham put Blackburn to the sword in a resounding 7-0 win at Ewood Park, and Scott Parker will be keen to see his side get back to winning ways ahead of the international break.
Despite the loss to Preston, we're unlikely to see too much in the way of tactical or personnel change from Parker, who should remain loyal to his 4-3-3 setup on Saturday.
Yes, defeat was unfortunate, but having lost just one of 16 league games so far, there is no reason for the Cherries boss to tinker with the system.
There is plenty of consistency from Parker in terms of squad selection, with Bournemouth developing a statistically calculated WhoScored.com style of play of 'consistent first eleven', noted in that seven players have started in excess of 10 league matches this season.
However, one of those is left-back Jordan Zemura, and the 21-year-old sidelined for the south coast side against the Swans.
His absence is a blow to the way Bournemouth go forward, with 43% of their attacks coming down the left, more than any other Championship team, and helping the Cherries to a WhoScored.com strength of 'attacking down the wings' as well as a style of play of 'attacking down the left'.
Zemura (1.3) is third for dribbles per game of all Bournemouth players in the Championship this season, so replicating that threat with Chris Mepham, the likeliest replacement for the Zambian, could prove difficult.
Swansea may well look to exploit his inexperience of playing at left-back, or the Wales international's lack of game time, to force fouls given Mepham received his fourth yellow card of the season in midweek despite starting just six league games this term.
Bournemouth don't concede often - 10 goals conceded is the fewest in the division - but three of those have been via set-pieces.
Parker's side also have one of the worst disciplinary records in the Championship, while a return of 12.4 fouls per game is the fourth highest in the league, that seeing them develop a WhoScored.com weakness of 'avoiding fouling in dangerous areas'.
Only Fulham and Bournemouth (both 15) have earned more points than Swansea (13) over the last six Championship matches so, while many may have seen this as a home banker a month or so ago, Russell Martin's side have the means to throw another spanner in the works of Bournemouth's promotion push.
After a challenging start to life under Martin following his appointment just days before the season began, the Swans have started to go from strength-to-strength at both ends of the pitch.
Only today's opponents Bournemouth (9) have kept more clean sheets than Swansea (8) in the Championship this season and their defensive resolve is key particularly against a Cherries outfit that has scored the second most goals (27) in the Championship.
Ryan Bennett has proven a solid addition to the Swans backline following his arrival from Wolves last year and, alongside Kyle Naughton and Ryan Manning in defence, has forged a solid understanding with the pair that has aided Swansea's push up the table.
But he'll certainly face a stiff test this weekend as he looks to keep Dominic Solanke at bay on Saturday.
Only Fulham goal machine Aleksandar Mitrovic (19) and Ben Brereton Diaz (12) have scored more league goals than Solanke (11) this season, with the 24-year-old loving life under Parker, evidenced by the fact he is just four goals short of matching his 2020-21 total with 30 games still to go.
Home comforts can play a key role for a player and team, particularly with fans now allowed back into stadiums, and Solanke is no exception.
Of the 11 goals he has scored this season, eight have come in his eight home games, failing to score in just two outings on home turf this term.
Having drawn a blank against Preston, he'll be keen to get back among the goals this weekend to aid Bournemouth's promotion push.