TALKING TACTICS: Swans v Manchester United
29th August 2015
Ahead of the upcoming Premier League meeting with Manchester United at the Liberty on Sunday (4pm), we continue our partnership with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the fixture.
Garry Monk's side will be looking for a repeat of last season's encounters with United having done the double over the Manchester outfit with back-to-back 2-1 wins.
It was the first time Swansea had sealed league double over United, while they harbour an impressive head-to-head record with The Red Devils having won three of the last four competitive meetings.
A similar performance in the final match before the upcoming international break would certainly leave supporters with a smile on their face prior to domestic football's brief hiatus.
And one man who is tipped to play a key role in Sunday's late kick-off is Jonjo Shelvey. The midfielder has enjoyed a blistering start to the campaign, with his WhoScored.com rating (7.81) the best of all Swansea players and the sixth best in the Premier League.
Such form has seen him mooted with a possible England call up for the upcoming international fixtures and it would be nothing less than the 23-year-old has deserved.
Shelvey, along with the likes of Bafe Gomis, Andre Ayew and Jefferson Montero, has been crucial in the Swans' unbeaten start to the season. A further commendable showing against United would certainly help consolidate his place as a fan favourite at the Liberty Stadium.
Boasting a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'through balls', Shelvey has what it takes to unlock this watertight United backline. Louis van Gaal's side are one of three teams yet to concede a goal in the Premier League this season, so the England international must be at his creative best if he is to pry apart the staunch United defence.
Indeed, should Shelvey pick out one of Gomis, Ayew or Montero with his threaded through balls, Swansea have a much better chance of securing victory.
He is expected to face a tough opponent in the form of Morgan Schneiderlin when the two teams meet at the Liberty Stadium. The Frenchman secured a big money move to Old Trafford over the summer after a hugely successful spell at Southampton and he has been central to United's own unbeaten start to the campaign.
While much of the focus was on the signings of Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin has been an efficient performer in the United midfield.
Only Chris Smalling (7.72) and Juan Mata (7.37) have gained a better WhoScored.com rating than Schneiderlin (7.30) of all players for United and having played no part in the 4-0 midweek win over Club Brugge, he will be well-rested and raring to go this weekend.
Of course, Schneiderlin's defensive ability will be pivotal to United in their quest to limit Shelvey's influence in the middle of the park. Having gained statistically calculated WhoScored.com strengths of 'tackling' and 'ball interception', the midfield battle between Shelvey and Schneiderlin promises to be an intriguing tactical encounter between the pairing.
It could well be that whoever comes out on top in this head-to-head will have a major hand in their side triumphing on Sunday.
Shelvey, though, has started the season superbly and he certainly has the ability to help guide Swansea to victory when United visit the Liberty on Sunday.
*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.