TALKING TACTICS: West Brom v Swans
2nd February 2016
Ahead of tonight's Premier League meeting with West Brom, we have partnered up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the encounter at the Hawthorns.
Against West Brom this evening (8pm), the Swans will be looking to make it three consecutive wins following back-to-back victories over Watford and Everton.
The latter performance will have boosted morale going into this key game against a West Brom side that has now failed to win its last three league games.
Swansea sit only three points behind the Baggies ahead of Tuesday's fixture and another victory will see them leapfrog Tony Pulis' side in the table on goal difference.
Given the club's recent resurgence with Alan Curtis and Francesco Guidolin at the helm, Swansea can be confident of securing a positive result in the Midlands.
Indeed, the Swansea managerial team will likely look to the rejuvenated Gylfi Sigurdsson as a means of hurting the opposition. Only captain Ashley Williams (7.37) has gained a better WhoScored.com rating than Sigurdsson (7.10) under Curtis and Guidolin, with the midfielder looking as though he is returning to his best form.
The Iceland international has scored three goals in his last four Premier League outings and has scored three times against West Brom in the past; against no team has he scored more competitive goals. Given his recent run of form, Sigurdsson will be confident of adding to his commendable return on Tuesday night.
The 26-year-old has gained statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strengths of 'long shots' and 'direct free-kicks'. Given two of West Brom's weaknesses are 'defending against long shots' and 'avoiding fouling in dangerous areas', the chances of Sigurdsson hitting the back of the net increase significantly as a result.
Only Troy Deeney and Riyad Mahrez (both 4) have netted more penalties than Sigurdsson (3) in the Premier League this season, so one can expect the attacker to add to his five league goals this term if such an opportunity is presented.
With West Brom boasting one of the worst defensive records at home in the Premier League this season - with 17 goals shipped - Swansea and Sigurdsson know they have the ability to score the goals that will secure all three points. However, Sigurdsson knows he must play to his potential if he is to forge the necessary goalscoring opportunities.
Claudio Yacob has established himself as a key member of Pulis' side following the Welshman's appointment, with the tough-tackling Argentine capable of limiting Sigurdsson's influence in the final third on his day. Yacob has gained a modest WhoScored.com rating of 6.97 this term, while WhoScored.com strengths of 'tackling' and 'ball interception' reinforce his defensive qualities in the middle of the park, which could prove to be essential on Tuesday.
If Sigurdsson, though, plays to his ability, as he has done of late, he should get the better of Yacob to help put another three points on the board as Swansea aim to haul themselves up the table.
*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.