TALKING TACTICS: Hull City v Swans
11th March 2017
Ahead of the Premier League meeting with Hull City at the KCOM Stadium, we have teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview this afternoon's encounter.
The Swans left it late to wrap up all three points against Burnley at the weekend, but a 3-2 victory lifted them away from danger as Fernando Llorente's brace secure a vital win.
Following the disappointing 3-1 loss at Chelsea the previous week, Paul Clement demanded an immediate response from his players and he got just that and the Swansea boss will be pining for back-to-back league wins at Hull's expense.
Hull are currently mired in the relegation zone - six points behind Swansea - and have just one win to their name from their last six league outings.
However, they are unbeaten in four in the Premier League at the KCOM Stadium, so this won't be an easy tie for Clement's side.
Nevertheless, they have the attacking means to trouble Hull on their home turf, with the WhoScored.com match forecast suggesting it is very likely that Swansea 'will score from a set-piece situation' and likely they 'will score from a direct free kick'.
This is where Gylfi Sigurdsson comes into play. The Iceland international has been directly involved in 51.4% of Swansea's 35 Premier League goals this season, while his assist for Martin Olsson's goal on Saturday means no player has registered more assists than Sigurdsson (10) in Europe's top five leagues this term.
The 27-year-old boasts statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strengths of 'direct free-kicks' and 'taking set-pieces', while his rating (7.28) is better than any other Swansea player.
He's been in flying form of late having been directly involved in seven goals in his last six league outings and it's vital the Hull defence limit his influence on Saturday or they run the risk of seeing Sigurdsson add to his excellent recent total.
With Llorente also excelling of late, Swansea's best route to goal could well be the Icelander providing for the Spanish striker. Sigurdsson to Llorente is the joint-best assist-to-goalscorer combination in the Premier League this season, returning four goals.
From set-piece situations, Sigurdsson can pick out his towering team-mate to head past Hull, particularly with the Tigers developing a weakness of 'aerial duels'.
If Clement's side can once again deliver quality crosses then they can capitalise on the Tigers' aerial shortcomings, and another three points could be heading back to the Liberty Stadium.
It only increases the pressure on right-back Ahmed Elmohamady to remain composed in his pursuit of possession. The Egyptian is set to come up against Sigurdsson on Saturday, with the Swansea man deployed on the left of Clement's favoured 4-3-3 formation.
Elmohamady, though, has developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com style of play of 'does not dive into tackles', which lessens the chances of him hauling down Sigurdsson and presenting Swansea with a clear route to goal via any set-piece situations.
If Hull, though, routinely commit fouls in dangerous positions, you can be sure that Sigurdsson will capitalise in Swansea's quest for another crucial three points.
*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 officer Ben McAleer on Twitter.