TALKING TACTICS: Swans v Crystal Palace
26th November 2016
Ahead of the Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace at the Liberty, we have teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview this afternoon's encounter.
Swansea were desperately unlucky not to secure all three points at Everton last weekend and having landed a positive result, will be confident of returning to winning ways against Crystal Palace.
The Eagles are on the longest current losing run in the Premier League this season having fallen to defeat in their last five top-flight games. Furthermore, the Swans have a solid home record against Palace and are unbeaten in their last five home league meetings with their counterparts.
Not only that, but Palace are averaging the fewest points per game (0.71) in 2016 in the top four divisions of English football going into gameweek 13 and could well find themselves mired in the bottom three by the end of the weekend if results don't go their way.
Swansea have what it take inflict further misery upon a hapless Palace side at the Liberty Stadium this weekend.
It'll take another resolute defensive showing for the Swans to secure victory against Palace, who despite their poor form, are still an effective attacking outlet on the road having scored the fourth most away league goals (9) in England's top tier this term.
The vastly experienced Neil Taylor has a crucial role to play in that case, with his WhoScored.com rating against Everton (7.16) the fourth best of all Swansea players in the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
No player made more interceptions in the stalemate than Taylor (5) and it's his commendable reading of the game that could help Swansea land a three vital points at Palace's expense.
A willingness to stay on his feet can also help Swansea secure victory, particularly with Crystal Palace developing a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'attacking set pieces'.
With the 27-year-old often opting against diving into tackles, this decreases the chances of the Eagles winning free-kicks in dangerous positions.
Yet, Taylor needs to exhibit his commendable defensive resilience in order to keep one of Palace's most influential performers at bay. Wilfried Zaha is arguably the Eagles' most potent attacking threat, particularly away from home.
Only Alexis Sanchez (8.40) has a better away WhoScored.com rating than Zaha (8.09) in the Premier League this season. He is one of the league's top runners with the ball, noted in his solitary WhoScored.com strength of 'dribbling', which is deemed very strong.
While much of the focus will be on Christian Benteke, it's of the utmost important Swansea cut the supply to the Belgian striker, which means limiting Zaha's influence on the right.
Taylor, though, has the defensive knowhow to keep Zaha at bay, with his record against Palace an impressive one as the Eagles have scored only two goals in the four league games the left-back has started in meetings between the two.
Provided Taylor keeps his wits about him and churns out another solid showing, similar to the one he did against Everton, Swansea can make it six consecutive league defeats for Palace.
*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.
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