TALKING TACTICS: Swans v Sunderland
10th December 2016
Manager Bob Bradley will demand an instant return to form following the defeat at Tottenham last weekend and there won't be a better chance to bounce back with the welcome of Sunderland.
Only Leicester (6) have lost more away Premier League games than the Black Cats (5) this season. Furthermore, only Burnley (1) have netted fewer top-flight goals on the road than Sunderland (4) this term, with it a distinct possibility the Swans can shut out David Moyes' side.
Swansea have lost only one of their last five home league meetings with Sunderland and should be confident of securing back-to-back league wins in front of their fans on Saturday.
Sunderland have developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com weakness of 'defending against attacks down the wings' and it's out wide where the Swans can really hurt their upcoming opponents.
Jefferson Montero made his first Premier League start of the season last weekend, with his speed on the left flank an asset to Bradley. The Ecuadorian's WhoScored.com strengths include 'dribbling' and 'key passes' and with Sunderland often exposed down the flanks, the 27-year-old has the quality to both beat his man and create chances for his team-mates.
Furthermore, given his pace and capability when in possession, opponents will often revert to fouling Montero in order to minimise his impact, but when considering Sunderland have gained a weakness of 'defending set pieces', this could have an adverse effect.
Swansea have scored six league goals from set-piece situations this season, which is in turn one of the better returns in England's top tier.
With Montero currently being fouled an average of 2.4 times per 90 minutes, it's possible that he will draw the necessary fouls to not only ease pressure on the Swansea defence, but successfully find a way past a Sunderland side that has kept the joint-fewest clean sheets (1) in the Premier League this term.
For Sunderland, it's likely the versatile Billy Jones will be the man required to limit Montero's impact in the final third.
The 29-year-old is set to start at right-back once again and has gained a WhoScored.com rating of 7.29 from starts only this season - a return bettered only by Victor Anichebe (8.07) of all Sunderland players using the same parameters.
However, Jones has developed a weakness of 'discipline' and for good reason having been yellow carded four times from his eight domestic appearances for the Black Cats this term.
If Montero can routinely run at Jones, and with the full-back's ill-discipline this season, then the winger has what it takes to draw fouls from the Sunderland man that would likely lead to goalscoring opportunities for Swansea. Given their good form from set-piece situations, the Swans can take full advantage in their quest to land a much-needed three points.
READ MORE . . .
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- MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Craig Pawson
- Bradley's ready for the fight
- Britton: We must stop Defoe