TALKING TACTICS: Swans v West Ham
19th December 2015
Ahead of the Premier League meeting with West Ham, we havepartnered up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the encounter.
The Swans were desperately unfortunate not to come away with a share of the spoils at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, though a spirited performance against Manchester City will have boosted morale ahead of Sunday's top-flight encounter.
Against a West Ham side that has failed to win any of their last three league games away from home - losing two - Swansea have every right to be confident of collecting all three points at the Liberty Stadium.
The South Wales outfit are unbeaten in their three home league meetings with the Hammers, so history is on their side coming into this one.
West Ham have conceded at least one goal in five of their last six league fixtures away from home, with the lack of defensive solidity costing them points following a bright start to the season on the road.
Swansea can capitalise on their opponents' poor showings at the back in front of their own fans in Sunday's late kick off, particularly if Gylfi Sigurdsson can replicate his commendable showing at City last weekend.
The Iceland international gained a better WhoScored.com rating (7.53) than any other Swansea player, and he was unfortunate not to score, with four of his five shots on goal forcing star man Joe Hart into action.
Having routinely tested the goalkeeper in Manchester, one can expect Sigurdsson to do similar against West Ham, with Adrian needing to be on top of his game if he is to limit the 26-year-old's influence.
Sigurdsson has gained a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'long shots'. Conversely, one of West Ham's WhoScored.com weaknesses is 'defending against long shots'.
The Swansea attacker is one who, when handed the opportunity, can test any goalkeeper from distance and West Ham need to be wary of this weapon in his arsenal.
Furthermore, his creative ability is one that can carve apart even the staunchest of defences. Sigurdsson boasts a strength of 'key passes', while one of West Ham's weaknesses is 'stopping opponents from creating chances'. It's vital the London side close down Sigurdsson at any given opportunity if they are to come away from Wales with a positive result.
The man tasked with doing so is likely to be Cheikhou Kouyate. The Senegal international has impressed for Slaven Bilic's side this season after joining from Anderlecht last summer. His WhoScored.com rating (7.22) is the fourth best of all West Ham players and an improvement on last term's offering (7.19). Kouyate provides the physical presence in the middle of the park for West Ham, breaking up play with impressive regularity to ensure the Hammers' goal is rarely under pressure.
His role on Sunday will be vital if West Ham are to get the better of Swansea and return to winning ways on the road. However, if Sigurdsson is able to flex his goalscoring and creative muscles on Sunday, the Swans stand a much stronger chance of securing all three points at the Hammers' expense.
*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.