STATS: Swansea vs Stoke

Swansea vs Stoke 16:10

A header from old boy Steven Caulker condemned Swansea to defeat in the Welsh derby at the weekend.

Michael Laudrup’s misery would have been compounded by the news that star striker Michu has been ruled out with injury for at least a month. Swansea are likely to miss the Spaniard’s ability to find the net, as no other player in the Swans squad has taken as many shots as the Spanish international (21).

Nathan Dyer’s guile and trickery has meant that he’s become an essential component of the Swansea lineup, as his foraging runs down the flank cause headaches for full backs. It is therefore unsurprising that he has completed more dribbles than any other Swansea player (15). What is surprising, however, is that the former Southampton man also has one of the best tackle completion rates in the squad. Of the 17 tackles he has attempted this season, he has been successful in 71% of them.

With the news that Michu will be out for up to a month, manager Michael Laudrup may look to alter his formation to accommodate record signing Wilfred Bony, and one of the beneficiaries could be midfielder Álex Pozuelo. Pozuelo is a new signing for the Swans, and despite only featuring for 170 minutes this season, he’s adapted very well to Swansea’s possession based style of play. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that he has completed a pass in the opposition half every 2.3 minutes.

Since joining Swansea in 2011 Angel Rangel has become a real fan favourite, producing a number of high quality performances to establish himself as a top class right back. His attacking intent is evident in the fact that he has made the third most attacking contributions, (based on passes in the opposition half, shots, crosses, and dribbles), of any defender in the league this term with 253.

At a windswept Brittania stadium, Stoke were held to a draw by high flying Southampton. The real talking point, however, will be the bizarre goal scored by ‘keeper Asmir Begovic after only 13 seconds.

Robert Huth has become one of the first names on Stoke teamsheet since his arrival from Middlesborough in 2009, and he produced another stellar performance on Saturday to underline his worth to the Stoke team. The German made 6 interceptions on Saturday, the most in the league, and also made the most defensive contributions (based on clearances, blocks, tackles won and interceptions) in the Stoke team with 16.

The importance of Robert Huth is also evident in the number of minutes that he’s played this season. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows which players Mark Hughes have decided to mould his team around, as Huth, Shawcross, N’Zonzi and Begovic are the only players to have featured in every minute of this campaign.

Asmir Begovic has been linked to a number of big clubs over the last few transfer windows, and wth a young Jack Butland waiting in the wings, it isn’t implausible to think that Stoke will offload him for a large transfer fee. In addition to his goalscoring exploits at the weekend, Begovic has been in scintillating form in his regular goalkeeping duties this season making 33 saves – this is the third most in the league.

Geoff Cameron must be a dream for Mark Hughes due to his ability to play in a number of positions, and this versatility has rubbed off in his all-round contributions to Stoke’s cause. In the Stoke squad he leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index charts in dribbles completed (17), and is third in the number of tackles attempted. His tackle success rate has also been very impressive, as he has been successful in 76% of them.

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