Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Burnley

2nd January 2023
First team
Liam Cullen and Joel Piroe celebrate

Swansea City ended an eight-game winless run with a thumping 4-0 win over Watford on Friday night to end 2022 on a high. They'll be aiming to ring in the New Year with another home victory, but they'll have their work cut out as they welcome league leaders Burnley to the Stadium.

Here, take a look at what to expect from Burnley, the key battle and a key stat.

What to expect from Burnley

Vincent Kompany

The Championship league leaders headed into this round of fixtures three points clear of title rivals Sheffield United, and a whopping 14 points clear of third-placed Blackburn.

It's safe to say that Burnley look good value for a return to the Premier League. Vincent Kompany deserves plenty of credit for the way he has set his Clarets side up following his appointment, moving away from the direct approach that became synonymous with Burnley during Sean Dyche's time at the Turf Moor helm.

Burnley sit second for both possession (63.7%) and pass success rate (84.3%) in England's second tier this term, with the Swans the team ahead of Kompany's side in both metrics. Kompany has favoured a 4-2-3-1 setup this season, and it's evidently worked to great effect, with the Clarets earning a rating of 6.75 this season; only Sheffield United (6.80) can better that at the time of writing.

It's evident that the way they dominate games is by using the two centre-backs to instigate attacks. Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Jordan Beyer rank first (82.8) and second (75.9) respectively for passes per game of all Burnley players, while central midfielders Josh Cullen and former Swans man Jack Cork place third (67.4) and fifth (55.5) for the same metric.

The desire then is to shift the ball out wide and utilise the wingers in Kompany's favoured setup, noted in that Burnley have developed a statistically calculated strength of 'attacking down the wings'. Indeed, wide pair Anass Zaroury and Benson Manuel both rank joint-third for key passes per game (1), while full-back duo Ian Maatsen and Connor Roberts also place among the top five players for the number of chances created for Burnley.

What's notable is that the Clarets are able to create chances from plenty of areas across the pitch, and this is what makes them such a formidible foe for any Championship side, with Burnley having scored more goals (50) than any other team in the division. They are defensively sound, too, with Burnley conceding an average of just 9.3 shots per game in the Championship; no team is allowing fewer in the division, a return actually matched by Swansea.

Condering the similarities between the pair in terms of approach and style of play under managers Russell Martin and Kompany, this should prove an entertaining encounter at the Stadium. Burnley won the reverse fixture 4-0, but the Swans did end an eight-game winless run with a resounding 4-0 victory over Watford on Friday night, so should have the wind in their sails for this one.

Key battle

Joel Piroe cele Watford

Only four teams have scored more goals than Swansea (35) in the Championship this season at the time of writing, with Joel Piroe having netted eight of those. The Dutchman bagged a brace against Watford on Friday night in what was his best-rated performance of the season having earned a rating of 8.69, that enough to make the team of the week.

Piroe was sent off when these two last met, so he'll be keen to make amends and end Burnley's five-game winning run in the process. That said, the 23-year-old will have his work cut out to get the better of young Burnley centre-back Taylor Harwood-Bellis on Monday. Piroe's worst rated performance of the campaign came against the Clarets back in October, a game that marked Harwood-Bellis' fifth best.

Only Josh Brownhill (7.39) has earned a better rating than Harwood-Bellis (7.18) of all Burnley players in the Championship this term, with the young Clarets centre-back actually the second best-rated in his position in the division. That being said, five of Piroe's eight league goals have been scored on home turf this season, so this is a key battle well worth keeping an eye on.

Key stat

Fernando Llorente Burnley

Unsurprisingly, having scored 50 league goals this season, Burnley have developed a statistically calculated strength of 'finishing scoring chances'.

Compared to their promotion rivals, though, the Clarets wait for their moment to strike rather than firing off shot after shot. This has seen Burnley return a better conversion rate (15.1%) than any other team in the 2022-23 Championship campaign.

Nevertheless, Swansea do have a strong home record to call upon and are unbeaten in their last five home meetings with Burnley, winning the last four.