Talking Tactics | Wigan Athletic v Swansea City
As far as confidence boosting wins go, to overcome your fierce rivals on home turf takes some beating.
Ben Wilmot's first-half strike was enough for Swansea City to secure all three points at Cardiff's expense as Steve Cooper’s side got their title push back on track in their South Wales derby success last weekend.
Attention now turns to today's early trip to Wigan as the Latics aim to pull away from the relegation zone. Wigan are not to be taken lightly coming into the clash, however. While Paul Cook's side sit just three points above the drop zone, of the 15 points earned this season, 13 have come at the DW Stadium.
Indeed, Wigan go into the game on the back of a four-match home unbeaten run, winning three on the trot in front of their fans having claimed impressive scalps against Charlton and Nottingham Forest in that streak. Only Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds (both three) have conceded fewer home goals than Wigan (four) in the Championship this season, so Cooper will hope the experienced Andre Ayew can maintain his fine away form this afternoon.
The Ghana international boasts a WhoScored.com rating of 7.29, that better than any other Swansea player this season, but that figure away from home rises to 7.41 - the fourth best in the Championship.
Of the six goals Ayew has had a direct hand in this season, four have come away from the Liberty Stadium, and having netted in his last two league outings on the road to reinforce a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'finishing'; supporters will hope he can add to that record in Greater Manchester.
If he can prolong his road form then Swansea's chances of extending their impressive run against Wigan increases significantly.
The Swans are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Wigan, winning three, and have come away from the DW Stadium with a positive result in their last three visits, winning two. Unbeaten in eight away league matches, Swansea should be confident of victory, even accounting for Wigan's solid home performances.
Having kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight home league matches, Wigan are incredibly difficult to break down, but that shouldn't serve as a deterrence to Ayew and co. as they seek a third win in their last five away league matches.
When taking into account only Leeds and West Brom (14) have earned more away points in the Championship this season than Swansea (12), Wigan would be foolish to rest on their laurels against Cooper's men today.
Ayew may have spearheaded the attack against Cardiff last weekend, but it could be that that Cooper brings Borja Baston back into the fold in Swansea's push to break Wigan's resolve. In which case, Ayew would be pushed back to the right wing and that would see the 29-year-old face off against the impressive Antonee Robinson.
The 22-year-old made the WhoScored.com Championship team of the month for October and his average WhoScored.com rating this season is a solid 6.96, that the third best of all Wigan players. An average of two interceptions per game ranks among the top 15 players in England's second tier this term and if he can intercept any passes towards Ayew, or any chances the Swansea ace may hope to create, then the visitors may struggle to get the better of the youngster.
That said, Ayew's experience should shine through in this clash, but if Swansea are to come away with victory, getting the better of Robinson is crucial.