West Brom v Swansea City: The big talking points

14th December 2016

After two wins in their last three home games, Swansea City go in search of an away victory at West Bromwich Albion.
The Baggies have made an impressive start to the season under Tony Pulis, and Bob Bradley's men will have to produce a big performance if they are to bank a first Premier League success on the road since the opening day of the season.
Here are the big talking points heading into the game.

Happy Hawthorns
As is the norm these days, Gylfi Sigurdsson will be a key man for the Swans tonight - and he has previous on West Brom's patch. 
In his two appearances in Swansea City colours at West Brom, he has two goals. 
He also scored a belting FA Cup winner there in his Reading days. More of the same this evening would be very welcome.

This time last year
The Swans would acknowledge that this season has not been the most enjoyable up until now, with the club spending a lengthy spell in the relegation places. 
But a glance back to the last campaign suggests that things may not be that bad. After 15 top-flight games, Bob Bradley's Swans are up to 12 points. 
At the same stage last season, they had only two more - and they lost game No. 16 at Manchester City. 

Pulis power
Since reaching the Premier League, the Swans have had some good results against Tony Pulis teams at the Liberty.
But away from home, it has been more of a struggle. The Swans played Pulis's Stoke twice at what is now the bet365 Stadium and on each occasion they were comfortably beaten 2-0.
They did not play Crystal Palace away while Pulis was in charge at Selhurst Park, but it was a familiar tale when they took on his West Brom side at The Hawthorns in 2014-15 - they lost 2-0.
The Swans' best effort yet came last January, when Francesco Guidolin's second game in charge ended in a 1-1 draw at Albion's ground. Bradley will attempt to go one better than his predecessor. 

More of Mawson?
Alfie Mawson started only his fourth Swans game against Sunderland last weekend. 
Bradley's men kept a clean sheet, just as they had done on Mawson's debut against Watford. 
Admittedly, the games against Stoke City and Manchester United - Mawson's two other starts - did not go so well defensively. 
But given that the Swans have only managed three shutouts all season, former Barnsley centre-back Mawson has made a positive impact. 
He will surely get another chance to impress in the Black Country this evening.

Ban for the Baggies
Right-back Craig Dawson, one of many set-piece threats in the West Brom side, is suspended tonight after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season at the weekend. 
That means Pulis must make a change. He is not short of options - the likes of Allan Nyom or Jonny Evans could switch to right-back, while Chris Brunt may drop into the back four. 
Jonas Olsson and Brendan Galloway are also candidates to feature. Even so, Pulis has acknowledged that the loss of Dawson is a blow.  

Three out of four?
The Swans have two wins in their last three games thanks to those rousing home victories over Crystal Palace and Sunderland. 
The challenge tonight is to make it three wins from four Premier League fixtures for the first time since March - when Arsenal, Norwich and Aston Villa were beaten - and only the second time in the last season-and-a-half.
Another success would be another shot in the arm for the Swans as they prepare for festive fixtures against Middlesbrough, West Ham and Bournemouth.