Talking Tactics | Luton Town v Swansea City
Football statistic experts WhoScored focus on Sam Surridge as a key man in today's Championship clash with Luton Town.
Following their 3-1 win over Middlesbrough last weekend, Swansea City go in search of a return to winning ways on their travels.
A six-match winless run prior to Saturday's victory left the Swans outside the top six, but they remain just a point off the play-offs, so victory over Boro should provide the perfect foundation to build upon and gain a head of steam ahead of the hectic festive schedule.
A trip to Luton, however, won't be easy to navigate. Yes, the Hatters sit just two points outside of the relegation zone, but 14 of the 20 points Luton have earned this season have come at Kenilworth Road, so Graeme Jones' side won't be pushovers on home turf today. That said, Swansea have the better of the two teams in recent history.
Indeed, Swansea have won the last three meetings between the two sides, scoring six times and conceding just the once in the process. And with Sam Surridge coming into the game in good form, the 21-year-old has the means to fire the Swans to all three points and get their promotion push back on track.
The youngster has been made to wait for his opportunity to show Steve Cooper what he can do on the back of his loan arrival from Bournemouth and, in the win over Boro, bagged his first home league goal for Swansea. Surridge now has four league goals to his name; only Andre Ayew (seven) and Borja Baston (five) have bagged more of all Swansea players this season as the on-loan hitman grabs the chance to impress with both hands.
However, with three of his four league goals coming away from home, and having hit the back of the net in two of his last four away Championship outings, Surridge will be aiming to really test Luton's resolve on home turf.
The Hatters aren't to be underestimated, that goes without saying, but only three teams have conceded more home goals than Luton (16) this season, while only West Brom (0) have kept fewer home clean sheets than Luton (one) this term.
They are, then, there for the taking and with Surridge beginning to really find his feet for Swansea, he is more than capable of adding to his impressive away record for Cooper's side.
Boasting a commendable conversion rate of 18.2%, the youngster will be confident of properly testing a Luton side that is conceding 14.5 shots per home game - the second highest return in the Championship.
James Shea is expected to continue between the sticks for Luton today, and while the 28-year-old is making more saves per game (3.7) than any other Championship goalkeeper this season, Luton's defensive resolve hasn't been as solid as some may expect with Shea featuring. The Hatters are conceding more goals per game (2.36) with the goalkeeper starting than when he does not (1.82) and while this isn't solely because of Shea starting, Surridge will still fancy his chances of notching this afternoon.
Today's clash at Kenilworth Road kicks off a crunch run of games for Swansea and victory on the road this afternoon will go a long way to building momentum as the Swans aim to head into Christmas in the top six, starting with what could prove to be a huge three points at Luton.