Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Norwich City
Football stats expert WhoScored.com take a look at the form of Ben Cabango, and analyse why he could prove to be a key figure in Swansea City's clash with Norwich City.
There's a mouthwatering clash looming in the Championship. Swansea City are hunting down leaders Norwich as they seek revenge for their 1-0 loss at Carrow Road in the reverse meeting.
The Swans go into Friday's meeting on a seven-game unbeaten run in the Championship, winning five in that period, and on home turf, Steve Cooper's side have been superb of late. Indeed, they are one of three teams that have lost just one home game this season, while a 10-game unbeaten streak at the Liberty Stadium is the third currently longest run of its kind in the division.
Norwich may be title favourites, but they have won just one of their last four on the road in all competitions.
Emiliano Buendia's suspension could prove costly as Norwich seek all three points on Friday night after the Argentine was dismissed in the 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough over the weekend.
The Buendia to Teemu Pukki partnership is one of the best in the Championship, with three of the former's six assists coming for the latter to hit the back of the net. That isn't to say that Swansea can rest on their laurels, safe in the knowledge that Buendia is ruled out and, it could yet prove to be a testing 90 minutes for young centre-back Ben Cabango.
The 20-year-old missed the reverse fixture due to injury, but is set to feature at the heart of Cooper's favoured three-man defence and maintain his excellent form this season. Cabango's WhoScored rating of 7.20 is the best of every Swansea player to feature in five or more league outings this season as the youngster repays the faith shown in him by his manager and then some.
Cabango's been crucial for a Swansea side that has conceded fewer goals (15) than any other Championship side this season, and just six times in 13 home league outings. The young Welshman and his defensive team-mates will need to be on top form to ensure Norwich enjoy little success in the final third in Friday's crunch clash.
The absence of Buendia is massive in Swansea's push for three points, but Norwich boss Daniel Farke is still able to call upon the services of top scorer Teemu Pukki. The Finn has scored 11 times in the Championship this season, but Pukki has scored in only two of the 10 league games both he and Buendia have not started together, which bodes well for Swansea.
With Cabango in such good form, he'll be confident of keeping Pukki at bay and, provided the Swans frontline are able to tuck away the opportunities presented to them, Swansea will fancy their chances of impacting Norwich's title charge and boosting their own promotion hopes in the process.