Talking Tactics | Woodman and van der Hoorn
August was a memorable month for Swansea.
The fear of the unknown under newly-appointed manager Steve Cooper worked in their favour as the Swans ended the month at the top of the Championship table having landed a late 1-0 win over Leeds to leapfrog the Whites and move to the summit.
As one of three teams yet to lose a league match in England’s second tier, the Swans are the league’s highest scorers having netted 12 times in the opening six matches, with striker Borja Baston in superb form in front of goal - scoring five of those 12 goals.
Defensively, too, Cooper’s side have been resolute. Only Leeds (three) have conceded fewer goals than Swansea (four) in the Championship this season with Freddie Woodman and Mike van der Hoorn key at the back.
It’s no shock, then, that both Swans stars feature in the WhoScored.com Championship team of the month for August.
Their respective performances in the win at Leeds earned them a place in the final team of the week for the month as the both excelled in August.
Woodman has been a revelation between the sticks following his loan arrival from Newcastle with a solid WhoScored.com rating of 7.06 a deserved return for the 22-year-old.
No goalkeeper kept more clean sheets than Woodman (three) in August, two of which impressively came away from home in positive results against Derby and Leeds. His performance in the draw with the former earned him the WhoScored.com man-of-the-match award and is the youngster’s best-rated performance of the season as he landed a 8.40 rating in the stalemate.
A penalty stop in that draw means Woodman is one of only four goalkeepers to save a spot-kick in the Championship this season, that in itself was one of 15 saves the on-loan shotstopper has made this term, and that enough to rank eighth in the league. If he can maintain his solid form at the back then Swansea’s chances of promotion remain high.
Dutchman van der Hoorn also has a huge role to play in their push for a top two finish as he has been equally impressive at the heart of the Swansea backline last month.
A WhoScored.com rating of 7.35 was enough to make the best XI in the Championship for August, with a standout display on the opening weekend of the campaign returning a WhoScored.com rating of 8.02, which saw him named man-of-the-match as the centre-back bagged the winning goal in the 2-1 victory over Hull to kickstart the campaign.
One of van der Hoorn’s statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strengths is ‘passing’ and he maximised this trait in August as he made 62.8 passes per game - the tenth best in the league, and returned a solid pass success rate of 86.2%.
With Cooper implementing an approach that buys into the club’s philosophy of fast, free-flowing football, van der Hoorn was more than prepared to carry out the instructions of his new boss to great affect and Swansea reaped the rewards.
Attackings team-mates Andre Ayew and Borja were unfortunate not to make the cut in the WhoScored.com team of the month, missing out to Pablo Hernandez, Steven Fletcher and Ollie Watkins, respectively, but a solid foundation upon which to build is key for any side pushing for glory.
If Woodman and van der Hoorn can maintain the good form that saw them secure their places in the August best XI, then this promises to be an exciting and successful season for Swansea.