Talking Tactics | Watford v Swansea City

5th October 2022
First team
Ntcham v Luton

Having headed into the domestic hiatus on the high of the 3-0 win over Hull, Swansea returned to league duties following the international break with a 3-2 win at West Brom to boost morale ahead of their midweek trip to Watford.

Ahead of this one, preview the action, looking at what to expect from the Hornets, a key battle and a key stat.

What to expect from Watford

West Brom Slaven Bilic

Despite promising to give Rob Edwards time to make his mark at Vicarage Road, Watford elected to relieve the 39-year-old of his duties last month. Edwards only came in as Watford boss in the summer, and in his place Slaven Bilic has taken over the reins for the Hornets.

Bilic oversaw a 4-0 win at Stoke in his first game in charge, a fine result all things considered, and while Edwards did favour a three-man defence for the most part, his replacement is expected to stick with a 4-2-3-1 set-up when he takes charge of his first home game against Swansea tonight.

It's only a one-game sample, but Bilic used a pairing of Hamza Choudhury and Edo Kayembe at the base of the midfield at the bet365 Stadium on Sunday afternoon and the duo impressed against the Potters, so it would be a surprise to see the Croat not utilise the pair once more.

Their good work off the ball allows for Watford's impressive wingers to wreak havoc upon defences, as they did so well at Stoke.

Both Ismaila Sarr and Ken Sema got on the scoresheet at the Potters, the former making it into the Championship team of the week, so not only are Watford difficult to break down due to their midfield pair, but they also have the personnel capable of hurting opponents.

As noted, it is too early to highlight what to expect from Watford in midweek considering their recent change in manager, but if their 4-0 win at Stoke is anything to go by, then the Hornets will be in confident mood this week.

Key battle

West Brom away Olivier Ntcham

Alongside Watford, there was space for Swansea representation in the Championship team of the week. Olivier Ntcham replaced Jay Fulton midway through the second half at West Brom at the weekend and the Cameroon international made a big impact.

Indeed, Ntcham netted the Swans' equaliser five minutes after coming on, and then turned provider for Michael Obafemi late on as Swansea came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 at the Hawthorns.

As one might expect, Ntcham earned the man-of-the-match award with a rating of 8.21, and while he has often been a substitute so far this season - both goals and one of two assists this season have come after being introduced from the bench - the 26-year-old will be hoping to start at Vicarage Road.

Ntcham will need to get the better of Choudhury in the middle of the park, however. The on-loan midfielder has developed statistically calculated strengths of 'ball interception' and 'tackling' and for good reason.

He ranks top for interceptions per game (2.8) and second for tackles per game (2.7) of all Watford players in the Championship this season, so finding a way past or around Choudhury will be key if Swansea are to return to south Wales with a result.

Key stat

West Brom away Matty Sorinola

One of Watford's statistically calculated weaknesses is 'defending set pieces' and while they have conceded just one set-piece goal this season, they do give themselves plenty of dead ball situations to defend.

Indeed, at the time of writing, they rank fifth for fouls conceded per game (11) in the Championship and, if they maintain this aggressive approach, then Swansea may well find they have plenty of opportunity to deliver into the Hornets box.