TALKING TACTICS: Swans v Arsenal
31st October 2015
Ahead of Arsenal's visit to the Liberty on Saturday, we have called on the services of stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the Premier League meeting with the Gunners.
The Swans' 2-1 win at Aston Villa on Saturday put an end to their five-game winless streak, which boosted morale ahead of the visit of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal.
The North London side fell to a disappointing 3-0 Capital One Cup loss at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night in what was a thoroughly underwhelming display given their form of late.
While it was a much-changed side that succumbed to defeat at Hillsborough, the result will have been a blow to Arsenal's growing confidence.
Last season, Swansea dispatched of Arsenal 2-1 at the Liberty and Garry Monk will be keen to see his team repeat the feat this time around, with his side unbeaten in their last three league meetings with the Gunners.
With the help of Kyle Naughton, victory is certainly attainable. The full-back returned to the starting XI against Villa and turned out an impressive performance, gaining a WhoScored.com rating of 7.52. Naughton provided the assist for Andre Ayew's eventual winner at Villa Park and offers an effective offensive threat for his side when he does press forward.
A majority of Swansea's offensive moves this season have come down the right wing (39%), further highlighting Naughton's importance in the current set up at the Liberty.
When he presses forward, as he so regularly does, the 26-year-old is able to utilise his statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'key passes'. Given the attacking options at Monk's disposal, this weapon in Naughton's arsenal can hurt the Gunners on Saturday.
However, it's another strength of his - 'tackling' - that needs to be on top form on Saturday. Naughton looks set to come up against Alexis Sanchez when Arsenal make the trip to the Liberty Stadium.
The Chilean was rested for the defeat to Sheffield Wednesday and should be ready and raring to go on Saturday.
The 26-year-old's WhoScored.com rating (7.79) ranks sixth of all players to have made five or more league starts this season, further highlighting his fine form for one of the title favourites.
Sanchez has six goals to his name in the Premier League this term - four of which have been scored away from home - so Swansea need to be wary of the threat he carries when he is in possession.
His performance in the 2-1 win over Everton, though, was by and large one of his worst of the campaign so far, so it is possible to stifle the Chile star.
Nevertheless, Naughton will be under huge pressure to limit Sanchez's attacking influence. However, his displays in the Swansea defence suggest he is up to the task at hand, which will be crucial if the Swans are to make it back-to-back leagues wins.
*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.
READ MORE . . .
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- VIDEO: Preparing for Arsenal
- Win a signed Andre Ayew programme