TALKING TACTICS: Swans v Stoke City
18th October 2015
Ahead of Stoke City's trip to the Liberty, we have partnered with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview Monday night's Premier League fixture.
The Swans will be looking to end their current four-game winless run with the welcome of Stoke as they strive to haul themselves back into the top half of England's top tier.
The odds favour Garry Monk's side as they gear up for the home meeting with the Potters.
Swansea are unbeaten in their four home Premier League encounters with Stoke, winning three. A routine 2-0 win at the Liberty Stadium last season suggests victory is certainly attainable given the Potters' woes on the road this term.
Mark Hughes' side have won just two of their last ten games away from home in the Premier League - both against Aston Villa - and their meeting with Swansea certainly doesn't bode well.
Only Manchester United (ten) and Manchester City (nine) have won more points at home than Monk's men (eight) this campaign and they have every right to be confident of maintaining their fine form in front of their fans on Monday night.
Midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng may have a big role to play in the middle of the park if the Swans are to come away with maximum points. The South Korea international netted in the aforementioned 2-0 win over Stoke and bagged a goal for his national team in the midweek 3-0 win over Jamaica.
While Ki will be looking to find the net, it's his ability to retain possession that is expected to come to the fore in the evening fixture.
He has developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'passing' and this quality of his game is likely to be prominent when Stoke come to town.
The Potters themselves have gained a WhoScored.com weakness of 'keeping possession of the ball' and it's Ki's ball retention that could see Stoke struggle. As the game wears on, the Potters' inability to keep hold of the ball should begin to see them tire, which can be exploited.
Of the ten Premier League goals Swansea have scored against Stoke at home, five have come after the 70th minute. Stoke's poor concentration levels - incidentally a WhoScored.com strength of Ki's - mean they could be there for the taking as the game nears its climax.
Should the 26-year-old maintain his composure and keep his wits about him, the Swans have a good chance of securing maximum points.
As part of the double-pivot in midfield alongside Jonjo Shelvey in Monk's favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, it's crucial, though, that Ki does not shirk from his defensive responsibilities, particularly with Hughes able to call on the diminutive Xherdan Shaqiri.
The Swiss star signed for Stoke from Inter in the summer and while he is yet to have the desired impact at the Britannia Stadium, he is a player who can split open defences in the blink of an eye.
Statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strengths of 'key passes' and 'dribbling' touch upon Shaqiri's impressive creative qualities and Ki's defensive qualities must be up to scratch against Stoke.
However, should the South Korean play to the standards expected of him, not only will Shaqiri struggle to stamp his authority on the match, but Swansea's chances of attaining victory will improve significantly.
*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.