Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Blackpool
Heading into the international break on the back of a 4-0 loss to league leaders Bournemouth was hardly ideal for Swansea, but they'll view the welcome of Blackpool as the perfect chance to get back to winning ways.
Ahead of Saturday's clash, WhoScored.com preview the action, looking at what to expect from Saturday's opponents, the key battle and a key stat.
What to expect from Blackpool
After a five-game winless start to the season, Blackpool's fortunes have turned and they now sit 10th in the division with 17 games gone, an impressive feat following their return to the second tier.
While a number of Championship teams have utilised a three-man backline this season, head coach Neil Critchley has favoured a 4-4-2 system with the use of tricky wingers helping the Seasiders in the final third.
Keshi Anderson and Josh Bowler have been particularly difficult to stop down the left and right, respectively, for Blackpool. Indeed, Bowler has made at least 11 more successful dribbles (51) than any other Championship player this season, while Anderson's return of 1.2 dribbles per 90 is the second most of all Blackpool players.
Anderson's return of two goals and two assists this season means that only two Blackpool players have directly contributed to more goals than the 26-year-old in 2021-22, and that has contributed to his WhoScored.com rating of 6.86, that the second best for the team.
Both wingers have a key role to play for Critchley's side and they'll aim to play their part in securing a third successive away win.
Unfortunately for Critchley, though, he looks set to take his side to Swansea with a raft of injury concerns to contend with. Joint-top scorer Shayne Lavery, left-back Luke Garbutt, centre-back Richard Keogh and goalkeeper Chris Maxwell all sit out the trip to south Wales, and all four are key men for the Seasiders, which makes their quest to return to Blackpool with all three points all the more difficult.
An unsung hero in Swansea's season so far, Kyle Naughton has quietly gone about his business in the three-man backline and his distribution has proven vital as the Swans have dominated opponents more than once this campaign.
Only skipper Matt Grimes (95.2) is making more passes per game than Naughton (82.1) in England's second tier this term, while a 91.6% pass success rate is the second best in the division. A statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'passing', then, is certainly deserved.
Up against a Blackpool side that has the sixth lowest possession return (45.7%) in the Championship, Swansea are expected to dominate possession at the Swansea.com Stadium, with Naughton key.
The main aim, though, will be preventing Jerry Yates from adding to his five league goals this term. Yates missed the 1-1 draw with QPR prior to the international break, but has been in good form in front of goal, particularly on the road, netting three goals in his last three away games.
Yates boasts a WhoScored.com strength of 'finishing', so retaining possession will limit the opportunities Blackpool have to create for the 25-year-old on Saturday afternoon.
At the time of writing, Blackpool boast the fourth best away record in the division, collecting 12 points from eight away games. In addition, 12 away goals scored is the fifth best record in the Championship, so Blackpool won't be pushovers in south Wales.
Yet Swansea have one of the best home records in England's second tier and are unbeaten in six at the Swansea.com Stadium.
A major reason behind their improving home performances is their fine defensive resolve. Swansea have always been a tough team to visit and 2021-22, despite a change in manager shortly before the campaign started, is no different, with Russell Martin's side shipping fewer home goals (4) than any other Championship side this season.