TALKING TACTICS: West Brom v Swans
11th February 2015
Continuing our partnership with football statistics website WhoScored.com, here is a preview of tonight's trip to West Brom.
Continuing our partnership with football statistics website WhoScored.com, here is a preview of tonight's clash with West Brom (8pm) at the Hawthorns.
A point at the weekend extended Swansea's run to just one defeat in their last five Barclays Premier League games as they came from behind to earn a point against Sunderland.
Sunderland have proven extremely difficult to beat for all opponents this season, defeated only eight times - the same number of times as the ninth-placed Swans - and Garry Monk's men did well to get back into the game.
With the Swans trailing eighth-placed West Ham by only three points, they will be looking for a positive result against the Baggies to boost their chances of returning to European competition - something that looks achievable.
Ki Sung-Yueng made a goalscoring return to action on Saturday, netting a superbly-taken diving header to level against his old club after having seen his earlier effort ruled out for offside.
The South Korean had been away for a month as he captained his nation to the Asian Cup final, and his presence gave Monk's men a lift against the Black Cats.
He was WhoScored.com's man of the match in that game, with a rating calculated by their statistical algorithm of 7.52, just ahead of Kyle Naughton (7.50), who set up Ki's goal with an inch-perfect cross to mark his home debut.
Ki will again play a vital role in this game, with his WhoScored strength of 'passing' likely to once again mean he can dictate the pace of the game. He also boasts a strength of 'concentration' as a result of the fact that he commits so few errors. He is extremely comfortable on the ball and rarely cedes possession despite pressure from opponents.
He will hope to inspire the team to another positive result at the Hawthorns - a ground on which the Swans have a fantastic record, winning on three of their last four visits there.
Last season, goals from Ben Davies and Pablo Hernandez sealed a 2-0 victory in the Midlands, and they will be hoping for a similar result this time around.
Swansea won 3-0 in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign thanks to a Nathan Dyer double and Wayne Routledge netting a wonderfully controlled volley. Tony Pulis might have led the Baggies to a mini-revival, but with only one league win since he arrived and their last home game ending in a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham, the Swans will be looking to continue their fine record at the Hawthorns.
*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 editor-in-chief @alitweedale on Twitter.