Talking tactics: Roque Mesa

18th December 2017
First team

Football stats experts focus on Roque Mesa – and Liberty old boy Gylfi Sigurdsson – ahead of Swansea City’s Premier League game at Everton tonight.

The Swans have a good recent record against their hosts having gone unbeaten in their last six league meetings with the Toffees, winning two.

What’s more, they have lost on just one of their last five visits to Goodison Park and they’ll hope to end Everton’s good start to life under Sam Allardyce.

While the Merseyside outfit have performed well since Allardyce’s appointment, taking 10 points from a possible 12, the new manager bounce is expected to run its course soon enough and Swansea could be the team to bring an end to the Allardyce honeymoon period.

Paul Clement’s side have been defensively solid on the road this term, conceding just eight league goals. Only Manchester City (five) and Chelsea (seven) have conceded fewer away league goals this season.

What’s more, only City (five) have kept more away clean sheets than Swansea (three) in England’s top tier this campaign, and remaining defensively solid is key for Clement’s men tonight.

Roque Mesa has struggled for regular game-time following his move from Las Palmas, but has now gone some way to consolidating a first-team spot under Clement.

His defensive qualities and distribution have been key for the Swans at the Liberty Stadium and he’ll need to showcase both assets of his game this evening.

The 28-year-old is averaging more passes per 90 minutes (52.1) than any other Swansea player this season to reinforce a statistically calculated strength of ‘passing’.

One of Everton’s weaknesses happens to be ‘keeping possession of the ball’ and if Mesa plays to the best of his ability, Allardyce’s side could struggle to see much of the ball despite home advantage.

Even when Everton do have the ball, Roque Mesa is the ideal player to ensure they have minimal impact when in possession.

A return of 1.5 interceptions per 90 is the third best of all Swansea players this season and highlights a strength of ‘concentration’.

The Spanish midfielder knows when to pressure opposition attackers to help win the ball for his team.

He will need to be on top of his game to limit a familiar face tonight, with Sigurdsson expected to line up against his former employers.

The Icelander has struggled to match the standards of last season on the back of his big-money move to Everton, but has shown signs that he is back on the right track as far as his best performances are concerned.

Sigurdsson may have just two goals and two assists to his name in the Premier League this season, but they have come in his last six top-flight outings.

If given the time and space to flex his creative muscles, the former Swan has the ability to punish his old club.

However, with Roque Mesa looking to make an impression, his defensive quality could stifle Sigurdsson and help Swansea maintain their good record against the Toffees.