TALKING TACTICS: Swans v Watford
18th January 2016
The official website has paired up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview Monday night's Premier League meeting with Watford.
Swansea have impressed on home turf against the Hornets in the past and are unbeaten in their three league meetings with Watford in front of their own fans. While their form of late has tailed off leaving them in 18th, Watford's recent performances have also left a lot to be desired. Quique Sanchez Flores' side have failed to win any of their last four league games, losing three. While Watford will be keen to return to winning ways on Monday night, Swansea are presented with the chance to upset the odds at the Liberty Stadium. They will require the directness of their players to pen the visiting team back tonight, with Modou Barrow set to play a key role against the Hornets.
The Gambian winger has established himself as a key member of the Swansea side and he will be keen to prolong his notable form. The 23-year-old is a commendable performer when he has the ball at his feet and he needs to exhibit this quality if Swansea are to return to winning ways at Watford's expense.
Given a majority of Swansea's attacks come down the right flank (41%), the onus will be on Barrow to help stretch the Watford defence, boosting their chances of a positive result. The Swans' insistence on focusing their attacks down the right means they have gained a statistically calculated WhoScored.com style of play of 'attacking down the right'.
Watford have conceded eight league goals in their last five league games away from home, with their defensive solidity compromised in recent weeks. Barrow's directness when in possession should benefit Swansea as a result, with the youngster boasting the necessary attributes to help put any defence to the sword.
Of course, his evening won't be made easy by the returning Nathan Ake. The 20-year-old left-back is expected to take his place in the starting line-up having served a three-match suspension following his red card in the 2-1 defeat to Tottenham last month. Ake has established himself as a key member in Flores' side, with his WhoScored.com rating (7.06) one of the best for Watford.
The Dutchman boasts not only the defensive qualities to limit Barrow's influence, but is capable of providing an offensive threat from deep when required. A majority of Watford's attacks have come down their left flank (38%), with Ake crucial in that regard.
Watford have gained a statistically calculated WhoScored.com style of play of 'attacking down the left', with Flores demanding his side often push down that wing as a means of attacking the opposition. Either way, a key battle at the Liberty Stadium is likely to be Barrow coming up against Ake. Whoever comes out on top can be expected to play a vital role in their respective side securing maximum points.
*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.