Talking Tactics: Sam Clucas

9th September

Ahead of Swansea City’s game against Newcastle United on Sunday, the official website has teamed up with football stats experts to preview the Premier League fixture at the Liberty.

Both teams come into the clash with their tails high on the back of their respective first wins of the season prior to the international break, but Swansea will now look to make home advantage count against a Newcastle side that travels poorly on the road.

Indeed, the Magpies have failed to win their last 12 Premier League games away from home and have previous of faltering against the Swans, losing six of their last 12 competitive match ups with the south west Wales side.

Swansea have lost only one of their last six home competitive meetings with Newcastle and understandably go into the tie as favourites to secure all the spoils.

Paul Clement’s side were far and away the better side in their win over Palace last time out and after a period of strengthening over the summer, are right to be confident of putting another three points on the board against a Newcastle outfit that struggled to bring in new faces during the transfer window.

One of Swansea’s new signings in the squad has an influential role to play in the middle of the park in Sunday’s fixture with Sam Clucas impressing following his big money arrival from Hull City over the summer.

The 26-year-old, who was a stand out star for the Tigers despite their relegation last season, made his debut in a Swansea shirt at Palace last time out and churned out a solid display in the middle of the park to earn a rating of 6.83.

His pass success rate (90.4%) was the best of all Swansea starters and reinforced a statistically-calculated strength of ‘holding on to the ball’. This weapon in his arsenal is essential in their pursuit of victory on Sunday.

Newcastle have developed a statistically-calculated weakness of ‘keeping possession of the ball’ and if Clucas, among others, can keep the Magpies at bay, Newcastle will eventually begin to tire, which is when chances begin to present themselves.

Against a Swansea side that has lost only two of their last nine home Premier League matches, Newcastle could be made to rue their inability to hold onto the ball in their bid to avoid another disappointing trip to Wales.

Their chances of retaining possession and making things harder for Swansea improves significantly with the availability of former Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, however.

The England international returns from a three-match ban for Sunday’s fixture and his possession-based approach could be crucial for the Magpies in order to frustrate the hosts.

However, with Clucas looking to make an immediate first impression on his home debut for his new side, the former Hull man is primed to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Should he do so, Swansea have what it takes to make it back-to-back Premier League wins at Newcastle’s expense and continue their dominance over the Magpies on home turf.