TALKING TACTICS: Southampton v Swans
26th September 2015
Ahead of Saturday's visit to St. Mary's, we have teamed up with football stats expertsWhoScored.com to preview the upcoming Premier League meeting with Southampton.
The Swans will be confident of keeping back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season after denying Everton at the Liberty Stadium last time out.
With Lukasz Fabianski between the sticks, this can rightly be considered a distinct possibility. The Pole gained a respectable WhoScored.com rating of 7.02 in the stalemate with the Toffees and one would not bet against the former Arsenal goalkeeper repeating the feat this weekend.
The last time Swansea travelled to the south coast they secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Saints courtesy of a late Jonjo Shelvey strike.
However, the three points would not have been possible had it not been for Fabianski. Only captain and man-of-the-match Ashley Williams (9.04) gained a better WhoScored.com rating than the keeper (8.19) in the corresponding fixture last term, with the 30-year-old playing a crucial role in denying the likes of Graziano Pellè, Sadio Mané and Dusan Tadic.
It's Pelle who is expected to provide Saints' best route to goal at St. Mary's on Saturday.
The Italian has impressed in the opening six games this season, netting 4 goals - three of which have come in his last three starts. A brace in the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United saw Pellè gain a WhoScored.com rating of 8.94 - enough to feature in the Premier League team of the week.
Only Riyad Mahrez and Callum Wilson (both five) have netted more league goals than Pellè in England's top tier this term, so he will be understandably keen to add to his tally on Saturday as Saints look to kickstart what's been a disappointing start to the campaign.
However, he could be left feeling frustrated come full-time, especially if Fabianski plays to the standards expected of him.
Only Joe Hart (19) and Simon Mignolet (16) have kept more clean sheets than Fabianski (15) in the Premier League since the beginning of last season. His command of his penalty area, coupled with the performances of Williams and Federico Fernández, has helped Swansea start the season in commendable fashion.
Garry Monk's side may have seen a slight drop off in results of late and are hoping to improve their form away from home, but given Saints' woes in front of their fans thus far there is a chance of repeating last season's 1-0 win over Ronald Koeman's team.
Of goalkeepers to make at least 20 Premier League appearances since the start of last term, only Costel Pantilimon (7.07) has gained a better WhoScored.com rating than Fabianski (7.05). The Poland international has emerged as one of the more consistent shotstoppers in the top-flight of English football and he may well be required to turn out yet another clean-sheet attaining display if Swansea are to secure maximum points on Saturday.
*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.