Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Huddersfield Town
Football stats experts WhoScored.com take a look at Swansea City's upcoming clash with Huddersfield Town, and assess the form and influence of new signing Korey Smith.
After the October international break, attention turns back to domestic duties as Swansea City seek to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
The Swans are one of five teams yet to lose a Championship match in 2020-21 and come into Saturday's welcome of Huddersfield in fourth spot having picked up 10 points from the 12 available.
While Swansea have made a solid start to the season, Huddersfield have found the going tougher. The Terriers lost their opening two league matches of the campaign but, to their credit, are now unbeaten in two following up a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest with a 1-1 draw at Rotherham last time out.
However, Huddersfield have had few reasons to enjoy their recent away-day excursions, winning just one of their 11 league matches on the road.
Additionally, the West Yorkshire side have struggled in their recent meetings with the south Wales side.
Indeed, the Swans are unbeaten in their last five encounters with the Terriers, winning three times, including a 3-1 win in this fixture last season. Steve Cooper will be looking for a repeat of that final result at the Liberty Stadium this weekend as he seeks to oversee a fourth win from five this season.
Ensuring Swansea maintain their high-level of possession in games could be key in looking to control the game, and it means summer arrival Korey Smith has a big role to play in the middle of the park.
The 29-year-old has slotted in seamlessly in midfield, playing every minute so far and forging a solid partnership with captain Matt Grimes.
Keeping Carlos Corberan's men from retaining retaining the ball may prove vital as Swansea aim to come away from the clash with all three points.
Indeed, one of Huddersfield's statistically calculated WhoScored.com styles of play is 'possession football', but Smith has the retention qualities to minimise the Terriers' time on the ball.
Smith is averaging a respectable 40 passes per 90 minutes in the Championship this season, while a pass success rate of 78.1% is the fifth best of any Swansea player.
The former Bristol City man is an experienced and canny Championship performer, and he carries out his necessary duties in midfield to good effect, and has proved important for any side he has represented.
He does the simple things well and in order to limit Huddersfield's time on the ball, Cooper will look to Smith and Grimes to keep play ticking over as Swansea push to secure another three points.
It is an approach that has worked to good effect for the Swans this season. No team has conceded fewer goals than Cooper's side (one) in the Championship this term, and it is no coincidence that this defensive resolve has improved with Smith joining and helping shield the defence.
Against a Huddersfield side that has scored the fourth fewest league goals this season (two), one of which was an own goal, Swansea have the means to shut Corberan's men out and earn their fourth clean sheet in the process.
In limiting the time the Huddersfield players have on the ball, it will lessen the chances of Terriers’ youngster Josh Koroma displaying his statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'key passes'.
Koroma is averaging 2.3 key passes per 90 minutes this season, more than any other Huddersfield player, and while he is yet to provide an assist in 2020-21, it's only a matter of time before that changes.
Smith, then, will need to remain alert and ensure the visitors see little of the ball to minimise the risk of Koroma having a positive impact for the away side.
Should Smith carry out his required duties to the standards expected of him – and of which he has long shown he is capable - then Cooper’s chances of another three points and clean sheet would receive a considerable boost.