TALKING TACTICS: Chelsea v Swansea City
8th August 2015
Ahead of the first day of the upcoming Premier League season, Swansea City have once again teamed up with football stats website WhoScored.com as they preview the opening league meeting with Chelsea.
Garry Monk's side secured a respectable eighth-placed finish in the Premier League last season, gaining their highest points total (56) in their top-flight history.
However, it's important the Welsh outfit don't rest on their laurels after a successful campaign and, as one might expect, the Swans were quick to bolster their ranks ahead of the upcoming season.
Eder, Franck Tabanou and Kristoffer Nordfeldt have each arrived at the Liberty Stadium over the off season in a bid to bolster the options available to Monk as Swansea look to secure a return to European football. Perhaps the biggest coup, though, comes in the form of Andre Ayew.
The Ghanaian joined on a free from Marseille earlier in the summer after a notable campaign for L'OM. Only Andre-Pierre Gignac (21) scored more league goals of Marseille players than Ayew (10) in Ligue 1 last season, with that contributing to his impressive WhoScored.com rating of 7.42 - the third best of all performers for the French side.
It's crucial now, though, that the 25-year-old transfers his league form over to the Premier League and it will be intriguing to see how he adapts to the rigours of English football. Up against defending champions Chelsea on the first day of the season, Ayew - who made 18 league starts on the left wing last season - is expected to face off against the marauding Branislav Ivanovic. The Serb has made a habit of maraurding forward at any given opportunity to provide a further offensive outlet for the Blues and it's here where Ayew can impress.
If he can exploit the space left behind by the 31-year-old defender, the Swansea summer arrival has the drive to force his way through the opposition defence and create goalscoring opportunities for his new team-mates. A statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'dribbling' further accentuates how capable a performer Ayew is when he gains a head of steam when in possession.
With a style of play of 'likes to cut inside', the Ghana international boasts the ability to break infield and go for goal, which can catch out Thibaut Courtois in the Chelsea net. If he can perform to his high standards, Ayew has the potential to enjoy a successful debut at Stamford Bridge. Of course, he will need to outperform opposite number Eden Hazard for that to be the case.
The Belgian was the highest-rated player in the Premier League last season according to WhoScored.com (7.96) and big things are expected of Hazard this season. The wing wizard boats exceptional dribbling and creative qualities and it's crucial the Swansea defence are on their toes in order to limit Hazard's impact in West London.
Swansea proved how effective they are if they come flying out of the blocks having taken an early lead when the two teams met at Stamford Bridge last September.
Nevertheless, the Swans will fancy their chances of upsetting the odds on the opening day of the season and if Ayew can hit the ground running in the capital, Swansea stand a much stronger chance of securing all three points this weekend.
*WhoScored.com is a unique website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Provided with unique stats, they compile and create comprehensive analysis on the major European divisions, including live match stats and player ratings. You can follow @WhoScored and their editorial assistant Ben McAleer on Twitter.
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