Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Wycombe Wanderers
Football stats experts WhoScored.com take a close look at the form of Wayne Routledge, and asses the impact he could make in his 300th appearance for Swansea City in their clash with Wycombe Wanderers at the Liberty on Saturday (12.30pm).
Coming away from Sheffield Wednesday with all three points is a notable achievement for Swansea City.
Following up their 3-0 win at Millwall with a 2-0 midweek victory over the Owls, WhoScored believe the Swans have all but booked their play-off spot for the second season running.
Now nine points clear of seventh-placed Reading with five games to play, Swansea would strengthen their grip on the top six with a third successive victory on Saturday. Steve Cooper's side welcome basement boys Wycombe to the Liberty Stadium this weekend and another three points will steer the Chairboys closer to relegation.
Wycombe come into the tie nine points off safety and with the second worst away record in the division. That being said, one of their three league wins on the road this term came in their most recent outing on their travels as they secured a 3-0 win at relegation rivals Rotherham earlier this month.
Having got back on track of late, Swansea are tipped to compound Wycombe to a 31st league defeat of the season and given their defensive woes, it wouldn't be a surprise if Cooper's side put the table footers to the sword. Indeed, Wycombe have conceded more goals (64) than any other team in the Championship this season.
A trip to a Swansea side with the fourth best home record in the division this season is hardly ideal for Wycombe, but perfect for the south Wales side.
Of late, Cooper has elected for a 4-3-3 system with strikers Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe flanking the experienced Wayne Routledge. The 36-year-old has started just two league games this season, but those were recent wins over Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday. Evidently, Routledge has become Cooper's recent lucky charm!
His work off the ball has allowed Ayew and Lowe the chance to get the crucial goals. Indeed, Routledge is averaging a notable 1.5 tackles per 90 in the Championship this season, a fine return for a forward and it means that, between them, Ayew and Lowe have scored four of Swansea's last five league goals.
Having developed a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'key passes', Routledge has the knack to provide the ammunition for his team-mates, which should help the attacking pair add to their recent goal flourish.
Yet while Wycombe have struggled defensively this season, that isn't to say Saturday's clash will be a walk in the park for the Swans.
Anthony Stewart is expected to line up at the heart of Wycombe's three-man defence in SA1 once more in a bid to keep the Swansea attack at bay. Despite Wycombe's disappointing goals against column, the Chairboys concede fewer league goals per game when Stewart starts (1.46) than when he does not (1.73), giving Wycombe belief of keeping a potential clean sheet at the Liberty Stadium.
A WhoScored.com rating of 6.61 is also the fifth best for Wycombe, so while they have struggled this season, 28-year-old Stewart has been one of their more consistent performers.
Nevertheless, it is up to Swansea to pile further misery upon the Championship's bottom side and with Routledge having a positive effect on the side, a third successive win on the spin is likely and you can be sure three points would be the best way to celebrate his 300 appearances for the club.