TALKING TACTICS: Swans v Aston Villa
19th March 2016
Ahead of today's game against Aston Villa, we have teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the Premier League encounter.
The Swans will look to immediately bounce back from the 3-2 defeat at Bournemouth last weekend.
Supporters hope the loss to the Cherries was a mere blip in the quest to consolidate Premier League football next season, though they have every right to be confident of putting another three points on the board this weekend.
Villa have taken fewer points away from home (6) than any other Premier League team this season, with their only win on the road coming on the opening day of the campaign, incidentally at Bournemouth.
They have, though, struggled against Swansea in the past. The South Wales side have lost only one of their nine Premier League meetings with Villa and are unbeaten in their four at home, winning two.
The general consensus is Swansea will continue their good form against Villa in Saturday's late kick off, with fans fully expecting all three points at the Villans' expense.
Chances are manager Francesco Guidolin will look to Leroy Fer once more to provide the midfield thrust to help catch the Villa defence off guard.
The January signing has impressed since joining on loan until the end of the season from QPR, gaining a commendable WhoScored.com rating of 6.91. With two assists in his last two top-flight outings, Fer's athleticism from deep offers another dimension to Swansea's attack, which can be utilised once more this weekend.
The Dutchman has gained a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'dribbling', with Fer a powerful performer when he gets the ball at his feet. Should Villa keep his runs unchecked over the 90 minutes, the 26-year-old can wreak havoc on a defence that has conceded more goals (57) than any other Premier League team this season.
On the rare occasion Villa may break forward, however, Fer boasts the necessary defensive discipline to return to his position to help alleviate danger on Lukasz Fabianski's goal.
WhoScored.com strengths of 'defensive contribution' and 'concentration' suggests the midfielder can successfully counter the threat Villa carry in the midfield and attacking third.
Indeed, chances are the Midlands outfit will look towards Idrissa Gana as the man to provide the offensive threat from deep.
Only the injured Jordan Amavi (7.48) has gained a better WhoScored.com rating than Gana (7.30) of all Villa players this season and while the summer arrival has drawn his critics, he is perhaps Villa's best hope for a positive result on Saturday.
Either pressing forward or tracking back, Gana's impact at the weekend will likely affect the outcome of the Premier League encounter in Wales. Should Fer limit his opposite number's influence, in the process swinging the tie in Swansea's favour, one would expect the hosts to secure all three points in this one.
*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.