TALKING TACTICS: Everton v Swans
23rd January 2016
Ahead of Sunday's Premier League meeting with Everton, the official website has partnered up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the top-flight encounter.
The Swans go into the fixture with their heads held high following a battling win over Watford on Monday night.
An Ashley Williams header midway through the first half proved the difference for Swansea, which was enough to haul the club back out of the bottom three.
While only a point may separate the South Wales side and third-bottom Newcastle, the confidence gained from the victory will increase belief that a positive result at Goodison Park is possible this weekend.
Francesco Guidolin will help take charge of the first team for the first time since his appointment as head coach, and he must have been impressed with what he saw from his new charges on Monday night.
Indeed, the former Udinese coach will have been buoyed by the quality at his disposal and has every right to be confident of masterminding a positive result against an Everton side that has struggled at home this term.
While only Manchester City (33) have scored more goals at home than Everton (23) in the Premier League this season, the Toffees (20) have shipped more league goals in front of their own fans than any other team.
Meanwhile, the Toffees boast the joint-third worst home record having taken just 13 points at Goodison Park this season. If Swansea can limit their time on the ball, they stand a much better chance of upsetting the odds on Merseyside.
Guidolin has at his disposal the ideal midfielder capable of successfully retaining possession for the good of his team in the form of Leon Britton. The 33-year-old gained a respectable WhoScored.com rating of 7.13 against Watford on Monday night and has gone on to make nine Premier League starts this season having forced himself back into the reckoning for the Swans.
His composure on the ball profits Swansea and will indeed suit the Welsh outfit in their bid to come away from Merseyside with a first ever league win over Roberto Martinez's side.
Britton has developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'passing', with his ability to hold onto the ball perhaps his best attribute. A pass success rate of 89.1% is the second best of all Swansea players in the Premier League this season, further accentuating this weapon in his arsenal.
Given Everton's goalscoring exploits on home turf, if Swansea can keep the ball away from the Toffees, it will limit the hosts' goalscoring opportunities. Even when Everton are in possession, Britton has the defensive nous to limit their chances in front of goal.
The experienced midfielder has gained a WhoScored.com strength of 'ball interception', with his reading of the game meaning he is able to anticipate any danger on Lukasz Fabianski's goal.
This quality of his game needs to be prominent if he is to limit Gareth Barry's offensive influence on Sunday. The former England international's passing range has the ability to wreak havoc on any unsuspecting defence, particularly if he can pick out the likes of Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu or Romelu Lukaku in the final third. If the midfield is bypassed, then Swansea could well be put to the sword on Merseyside.
However, if Britton plays to his potential, hindering Barry in the process, Swansea stand a much stronger chance of not only denying Everton, but finding a way to hit the back of the net to increase the possibility of the Swans securing a positive result.
*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.