TALKING TACTICS: Watford v Swansea City
12th September 2015
Ahead of the top-flight meeting with Premier League newboys Watford, the official Swansea City website has partnered up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the encounter.
The Swans are one of three teams yet to fall to defeat in England's top tier this term having taken eight points from a possible 12.
A 2-1 victory over Manchester United raised morale considerably heading into the international break and Garry Monk's side will look to take this current good run of form into the upcoming trip to Watford.
The Hornets have struggled somewhat upon their return to England's top tier, having taken three points from 12. Quique Flores' team are one of five sides yet to secure a victory in the Premier League this season, and their woes in front of goal are well documented as no team has scored fewer goals in the top division of English football this term than Watford (2).
With the excellent Ashley Williams at the heart of the defence, Swansea have every reason to be expectant of keeping the Watford attack at bay. The Welsh skipper is currently Swansea's fourth-highest rated player according to WhoScored.com with a score of 7.57. Such form saw him gain a place in WhoScored.com's Premier League team of the month for August along with team-mate Bafétimbi Gomis, and it was richly deserved for a centre-back currently at the top of his game.
Swansea's captain will come into the encounter following back-to-back clean sheets for Wales in their bid to secure a place at Euro 2016, so Williams has every right to be confident of shutting out the Watford attack, which has a statistically calculated WhoScored.com weakness of 'finishing scoring chances'.
The 31-year-old captain boasts WhoScored.com strengths of 'blocking the ball' and 'ball interception', the latter of which could be crucial at Vicarage Road.
Meanwhile, a style of play of 'clears the ball out of defence often' shows Williams' knack of being in the right place at the right time to alleviate the danger and ensure goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is rarely tested.
His impressive reading of the game allows Swansea to instigate swift attacks and given the offensive and creative personnel at Monk's disposal - Jonjo Shelvey, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andre Ayew, to name but three - this aspect of Williams' game could be prominent once more this afternoon.
His positional sense will indeed be crucial if Swansea are to prolong their unbeaten start to the season. Williams is expected to come up against the speedy Odion Ighalo, with the Nigerian an astute performer on the ball. A WhoScored.com strength of 'dribbling' highlights the 26-year-old's impressive ability when in possession, with his goalscoring capability also evident. Of the two league goals Watford have netted this season, Ighalo has scored one.
Williams must keep his whits about him to limit Ighalo's influence when Watford welcome Swansea, but given the centre-back's performance for club and country this season; one would not bet against the Swans maintaining their fine start to the season this coming Saturday.
*WhoScored.com is a unique website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Provided with unique stats, they compile and create comprehensive analysis on the major European divisions, including live match stats and player ratings. You can follow @WhoScored and their editorial assistant Ben McAleer on Twitter.