TALKING TACTICS: Swans v Crystal Palace
6th February 2016
Ahead of today's game against Crystal Palace, we have teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the Premier League encounter.
The Swans were desperately unlucky not to secure maximum points on Tuesday night, falling to a late equaliser at the Hawthorns in a 1-1 draw with West Brom.
Nevertheless, the form has improved significantly following Francesco Guiodlin's appointment at the Liberty Stadium, with Swansea now unbeaten in their last three Premier League games - winning two.
The upturn in form has seen the club establish a five-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone and they will now look to build on that when Palace visit the Liberty this afternoon.
The Eagles have won only one of their last five league games away from home and have failed to score in their last three top-flight matches on the road.
Furthermore, Swansea are unbeaten in their last four home league meetings with Palace - increasing their chances of making it 10 points from the last 12 available.
Guidolin, therefore, is expected to utilise the players he has quickly become familiar with, with Wayne Routledge one of those expected to be handed another start.
The 31-year-old has started each of Swansea's five league games in 2016, with the experienced attacker churning out a solid performance in each encounter. His best league performance of the year so far, according to WhoScored.com, came in the 1-1 midweek draw with West Brom (7.18), with a total of five key passes - more than any other player - contributing to the commendable rating.
Routledge will be understandably keen to prolong his form as he looks to establish himself as a mainstay in Guidolin's XI. Against a Palace side that has kept just two clean sheets away from home in the Premier League this season, the former Eagles product has what it takes to continue the South London side's poor form in that regard.
Palace have developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com weakness of 'defending counter attacks', while Routledge boasts a style of play of 'counter attack threat'. The player's directness on the ball will indeed trouble the Palace backline, particularly given the club's defence on the road.
Regardless, though, Alan Pardew has at his disposal a player capable of limiting Routledge's influence in the form of Joel Ward. Routledge impressed when venturing down the left flank at the Hawthorns and Guidolin will perhaps explore the option of deploying him there on Saturday, which means he would come up against Ward.
The 26-year-old has the defensive qualities to keep Routledge in check having gained WhoScored.com strengths of 'tackling' and 'ball interception'.
If Routledge is to enjoy some success on the wing, he needs to be on top of his game in order to get the better of the full-back. Should he play to his potential, however, Swansea have the ability to extend their current unbeaten run.
*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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