TALKING TACTICS: Newcastle United v Swans
16th April 2016
Ahead of today's game against Newcastle United, we have teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the Premier League encounter.
The Swans go into this tie following a hard-fought 1-0 win over Chelsea last weekend, with victory lifting Franceso Guidolin's side onto the 40-point mark.
A top-half finish is now achievable as the south Wales outfit aim to finish the season strongly, starting first with the trip to Newcastle.
The Magpies currently sit six points off safety having taken just one point of the last 21 available - that coming at home to Sunderland last month.
Newcastle are currently staring relegation in the face and need a win at home to Swansea on Saturday if they are to improve their chances of securing their top-flight status.
That, though, is easier said than done.
Swansea have won their last three league meetings with Newcastle at St. James' Park. Guidolin's side, meanwhile, have won four of their last six league outings, failing to pick up maximum points against only Bournemouth and Stoke in that time as they continue to go from strength-to-strength in the Premier League.
Against a Newcastle side that has scored just 32 league goals this season, a victory is again on the cards for Swansea, who can once more count on the consistent Angel Rangel in defence.
The right-back recently made his 300th competitive appearance for the club and gained an impressive WhoScored.com rating of 7.79 against Chelsea last week - the fifth best of all players in the encounter.
With a majority of Swansea's attacks coming down the right flank (42%), Rangel has a key role to play at Newcastle this weekend.
The Spaniard has the Premier League experience to know when to attack for his side and provide a further offensive threat from deep.
However, it's his defensive qualities that could determine how Swansea fair at St. James' Park. Rangel has developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'ball interception' with his impressive reading of the game allowing for the 33-year-old to limit any impending offensive attacks before they materialise into an opposition goalscoring opportunities.
Rangel's availability results in a more-improved Swansea defence, with the team conceding fewer goals with him starting (1.13) than without (1.41) this season.
With compatriot Ayoze Perez expected to line up for the Magpies on the left flank, Rangel will have his work cut out to help Swansea to another clean sheet.
While Ayoze struggled to make his mark at Southampton last week, his goals have been vital this season, earning Newcastle a further seven points. Without his goalscoring input, the Magpies would be effectively down already, which highlights the attacker's importance.
In Rangel, though, Guidolin can call on a consistent right-back to help maintain Swansea's solidity.
If the experienced defender turns out another fine showing, similar to that of his performance against Chelsea, chances are the Swans will come away with another 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 assistant Ben McAleer on Twitter.