Talking Tactics: Tom Carroll
Ahead of Saturday’s visit to Tottenham, we have teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the Premier League encounter.
The Swans will look to immediately bounce back from the disappointing 1-0 loss to Newcastle last weekend and in the process prolong Spurs’ disappointing form at Wembley.
The north London side may have won in midweek against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, but that victory was just one of three from their last 12 outings at the national stadium.
Both Chelsea and Burnley came away from Wembley with positive results prior to the international break and Swansea now hope to add their name to that list.
Only three teams have a worse home rating according to WhoScored.com than Spurs (6.55) in the Premier League this season in their quest to turn their fortunes around at their temporary home and make Wembley a fortress.
The Wembley pitch’s larger dimensions means Spurs’ high pressing approach hasn’t been as effective as it was at White Hart Lane and if the Swansea players can find sufficient space between the lines, they have a chance of causing an upset in Saturday’s late kick off.
Pivotal to picking Spurs apart this weekend will be a familiar face in the Swansea midfield.
Tom Carroll has been a first-team regular for Paul Clement’s side following his permanent switch to the Liberty Stadium at the turn of the year.
The 25-year-old’s style of play is based heavily in possession and if the space can be worked for the former Spurs man, then Carroll has the means to play the ball in attacking areas and apply further pressure on the hosts’ defence.
With Sam Clucas and Renato Sanches occupying the midfielders and maximising their tenacity to pull Spurs across the pitch, Carroll can utilise his statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘passing’ to work openings for the Swansea attack.
The Swans are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches, winning two, including a victory on their last visit to the capital to defeat Crystal Palace, and they have the means to extend that good run this weekend, particularly if Carroll can play to the standards expected of him.
That being said, he will find it difficult to navigate past Spurs’ powerful midfield, with England international Eric Dier the man tasked with keeping Carroll and the rest of his Swansea team-mates at bay.
The 23-year-old has been a consistent performer in a Spurs shirt since his arrival from Sporting Club in 2014 and has established himself as a key man in Mauricio Pochettino’s side since being moved in midfield.
The defensive aspect of his game will be of the utmost importance in keeping Carroll and Swansea quiet in their pursuit of all three points.
However, if his team-mates can occupy Dier, then Carroll has a vital role in making it a third successive league match without a win for Spurs at Wembley and in the process extend Swansea’s fine away record to five matches without a loss.