TALKING TACTICS: Middlesbrough v Swans
17th December 2016
Ahead of the Premier League meeting with Middlesbrough at The Riverside, we have teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview this afternoon's encounter.
The Swans will be looking to bounce back from the disappointing midweek defeat to West Brom when they face off against Aitor Karanka's side at the Riverside Stadium.
Boro have underwhelmed in front of their own fans this season having won the joint-fewest home points (7) in the Premier League. Following on from the 3-0 home loss to Liverpool, Swansea will now be keen on inflicting further damage upon Middlesbrough.
Swansea have history with Middlesbrough and are unbeaten in the last four competitive meetings between the two sides - winning three.
Of the 19 goals they have conceded this season, 10 have come at home, and so Bob Bradley's team can hope to put the Boro backline to the sword.
There will be plenty of onus on Wayne Routledge to provide the attacking width and a further goalscoring threat for Swansea on Teeside.
Routledge netted in the dying embers of the loss to West Brom on Wednesday night and has now scored two goals on his last three away league starts for Swansea.
He'll be aiming to add to that return at the Riverside Stadium against a Middlesbrough team that has developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com weakness of 'defending against skillful players'.
Once the 31-year-old wideman gains a head of steam he's a tough player to stop and chances are Bradley will demand his players to get the ball to Routledge to run at the opposition defence.
With 1.3 key passes per game, it is the second best return of all Swansea players and once he is able to maximise his creative talents, Middlesbrough can struggle to limit his influence.
It only heightens the importance of Antonio Barragan in the Premier League encounter. The summer signing has started every league game under Karanka this season and has gained a respectable WhoScored.com rating of 7.00 - the third best of every Boro player.
His experience at the back is essential for Middlesbrough and if he plays to the standards expected of him, then the hosts have what it takes to shut Swansea out.
However, having picked up four yellow cards this season, Barragan's ill-discipline could have an adverse effect on Boro's attempts to keep Swansea at bay.
With the ball at his feet, Routledge can draw the necessary fouls in order to add pressure to the Boro defence, in the process helping Swansea to another crucial three points.
Swans fans can pay on the gate at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Tickets, paid with cash only, are priced: