TALKING TACTICS: Stoke City v Swans
2nd April 2016
Ahead of today's game against Stoke City, we have teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the Premier League encounter.
A 1-0 win over lowly Aston Villa prior to the international break moved Swansea ten points clear of the relegation zone and strengthened the club's chances of remaining in England's top tier.
Having won three of their last four Premier League fixtures, the Swans can perhaps look to next season and prepare accordingly.
Of course, that isn't to say Swansea should rest on their laurels. They come into the final stretch of the season with spirits high on account of their recent good form against a Stoke side that still has an outside chance of securing a European finish.
The Potters have enjoyed a good run themselves having lost just one of their last six league fixtures, though that defeat was in their most recent home encounter in a 2-1 loss to Southampton.
Swansea have the opportunity to inflict a further defeat upon the Potters on Saturday, though they will be up against it at the Britannia Stadium.
If they can put in a resolute showing, however, a positive result is on the cards. The Swans' defence was at times under pressure against Aston Villa last time out but held firm to secure all three points, with centre-back Federico Fernandez churning out a match-winning performance at the Liberty Stadium.
The Argentine centre-back netted the only goal of the game in the win over the Villans, which contributed to a WhoScored.com rating of 8.58 - enough to secure the man-of-the-match award and a place in the European team of the week.
Francesco Guidolin will hope the 27-year-old can replicate his performance at Stoke on Saturday as Swansea aim to haul themselves up the table.
Against a Stoke side that has scored only 17 goals from 15 home league games this season, a clean sheet is a possibility for Swansea, with Fernandez crucial in that regard.
The centre-back has gained a WhoScored.com rating of 6.97 this season - the third best return of all Swansea players and having won more aerial duels per game (3.2) than any team-mate, Fernandez is one who would be up to the physical battle with Stoke.
He will need to showcase this side of his game if he is to limit the Stoke offensive, with Joselu the man expected to spearhead the attack. The Spaniard gained the WhoScored.com man-of-the-match award in the 2-1 win at Watford earlier this month having netted what proved to be the winning goal for Mark Hughes' side at Vicarage Road.
Having gained a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'aerial duels', the summer signing is a commendable performer in the air and will likely give the Swansea defence a tough test this weekend.
In Fernandez, though, Guidolin has at his disposal a centre-back capable of limiting Stoke's threat to help Swansea to a positive result.
*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.
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