TALKING TACTICS: Stoke v Swans
29th October 2016
Ahead of Swansea's trip to Stoke City, the official website has teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview Monday night's Premier League encounter.
The Swans were held to a 0-0 draw with Watford at the Liberty Stadium as Bob Bradley got his first positive result on the board following his appointment as manager, and the American will now look to oversee a return to winning ways for the club. While navigating the Bet365 Stadium is far from the easiest of tasks, Stoke's lacklustre start to the campaign is cause for optimism for Swansea.
That being said, the Potters are on a four-match unbeaten run, but Swansea have the personnel capable of limiting Stoke's chances. Mark Hughes' side have scored only four league goals at home this season; only Middlesbrough and Hull (both 3) have netted fewer home Premier League goals this term. After a resolute defensive showing against Watford, with the Hornets mustering just two shots on target, the Swans have what it takes shut out the Potters in Monday's kick off.
Crucial to that will be summer arrival Mike van der Hoorn. The Dutchman has struggled for regular action following his switch from Ajax, with Saturday's stalemate against Watford just his third Premier League start for the club following his signing. However, he did not disappoint alongside youngster Alfie Mawson, with a rating of 8.43 not only enough to secure the man of the match award, but earn a place in WhoScored.com's Premier League team of the week.
Now expected to start a second successive Premier League game for the first time this season, Van der Hoorn has the defensive nous to keep the Stoke attack at bay on Monday night. While the Potters have looked to move on from the direct approach adopted under Tony Pulis, Stoke at time will hope to play the ball long in a bid to pressure the opposition defence and it's here where Van der Hoorn can shine.
The 24-year-old boasts a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'aerial duels' and is adept at countering any aerial threat opponents offer. Indeed, Van der Hoorn won 11 aerial duels against Watford last Saturday, restricting Hornets frontmen Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo to just three and two aerial duels won, respectively, last weekend.
Given Stoke have developed a statistically calculated WhoScored.com weakness of 'finishing scoring chances', Van der Hoorn has the potential to frustrate the Potters offensive, while his aerial prowess means the centre-back can capitalise on Stoke's weakness of 'defending set pieces'. The former Ajax man, though, will have his hands full on Monday as Swansea come up against one of two familiar faces in Wilfried Bony, while Joe Allen will hope to play a big role for his new team.
Bony spent 18 months with the south Wales side before securing a switch to Manchester City last January and scored 25 league goals in 54 appearances prior to his switch. Sentiments need to be put to one side for the fixture with the Ivorian keen to net his first league goal for Stoke following his loan arrival from City. In Van der Hoorn, though, Swansea have a centre-back capable of limiting Bony's influence and helping the Swans to a second successive clean sheet and 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 officer Ben McAleer on Twitter.