Talking tactics: Jay Fulton
Football stats experts WhoScored.com take a closer look at Jay Fulton as Swansea City get set to face Nottingham Forest this afternoon (3pm).
Nottingham Forest have lost just the once in the Championship this season, but despite a summer of hefty investment, they are yet to wholly convince.
Indeed, while one defeat is a commendable return from the opening six matches, just one win isn’t the best tally in the league this term.
Even then, it took a second half goal from Hillal Soudani to see off lowly Reading at the City Ground.
Away from home, Aitor Karanka’s side have flattered to deceive.
They’re yet to win on the road, picking up two draws and one defeat from three matches, and have conceded five of their eight goals away from home.
What’s more, they’ve traditionally struggled at Swansea, losing three of their last four visits to SA1.
The Swans will look to make home advantage count this afternoon and, if results go their way, could end the day joint-top of the league.
One man hoping to play a part in securing maximum points will be the returning Jay Fulton.
The 24-year-old is expected to be fit to feature after missing the 2-1 win over Millwall following surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand before the international break.
With Leroy Fer absent, Fulton could well slot straight back into central midfield.
His tenacity and bite in the middle of the park will go a long way to keeping a Forest side who have scored in all three away matches this term at bay.
Indeed, one of Fulton’s two statistically calculated WhoScored.com strengths happens to be ‘tackling’ and for good reason too.
Only Kyle Naughton (3.5) is averaging more tackles per game than Fulton (2.4) of all Swansea players in the Championship this season.
Forest, meanwhile, have developed statistically calculated WhoScored.com strengths of ‘creating chances through individual skill’ and ‘coming back from losing positions’, so the Scot and his team-mates need to keep their wits about them in order to ensure today’s visitors are not able to respond should they go behind.
Fulton has the defensive nous to ensure Swansea are rarely troubled at the back, which should work in their favour against a Forest side averaging just 10 shots per game, the seventh-lowest return in the Championship this season.
If they are to earn their first away league win of the campaign, then Forest will likely look to on-loan attacker Gil Dias to open the Swansea rearguard.
Dias’ return of 1.2 key passes per game ranks fourth of all players at the club, while 2.4 dribbles per game is the second best of all Forest players thus far, with the youngster earning a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘dribbling’ as a result.
A rating of 7.14 ranks highly in Karanka’s side and it’s only a matter of time before the Portuguese begins to light up the Championship.
Swansea need to ensure that today isn’t the day Dias and Forest finally click and the hard-working Fulton is set to play a vital role.
He earned the WhoScored.com man of the match award in the 1-0 home win over Preston last month and fans will be hoping he can replicate that showing to help Swansea to all three points.