Tactically speaking - Swansea City

Tactically Speaking

The Official Website takes an in-depth look at how Swansea City could line up on Sunday, while also focusing on Jussi Jaaskelainen's important contribution to West Ham United's away form.

West Ham United

The last line of defence

Jussi Jaaskelainen

With the Hammers travelling to Swansea City for just the second time in their Premier League history, WhoScored.com have looked at how West Ham United can come away from the Liberty Stadium with all three points.

The last time the Hammers played away from the Boleyn Ground, a memorable 3-0 win over rivals Tottenham Hotspur was secured. The victory continued West Ham's impressive defensive record on the road, with the club yet to concede a single league goal from open play on their travels this season.

Much of that has been down to the exploits of Winston Reid, who is WhoScored.com's highest rated West Ham player this term with a 7.48. While the New Zealander is deserving of the praise being sent his way, the man between the sticks has perhaps seen his performances overlooked.

Jussi Jaaskeläinen has been a regular in goal for the Hammers since signing from Bolton Wanderers and is one of only five Barclays Premier League players to have played every minute of every game since the beginning of the 2012/13 season. A reassuring figure behind the backline, the experienced goalkeeper has been imperious for the Club since being reunited with his one-time Bolton manager Sam Allardyce.

Jaaskelainen will be expected to provide a resolute last line of defence once again against a Swansea side who'll be heading into the encounter on the back of their UEFA Europa League draw with Russian side Kuban Krasnodar. The Swans have endured mixed results following their European excursions this season, winning two and losing three of their five previous league encounters in the days following their continental match.

It is herein that West Ham must capitalise if they' are to come away from the Liberty Stadium with the win. Following Swansea's recent 1-0 win over St. Gallen earlier this month, they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Southampton, highlighting how they may be struggling to come to terms with the increased fixture pressure that comes with their participation in Europe.

Away from home this season Jaaskeläinen has been in particularly impressive form, attaining a WhoScored.com rating of 7.3 on his travels and earning one man of the match award in his four appearances.

The fact that the Swans have secured victory in just one game at home this season and have not won successive Barclays Premier League matches at the Liberty Stadium since December 2012 means the opportunity to come away with all three points is certainly there for the Hammers.

The Finnish goalkeeper will be essential to this becoming a reality, with the 38-year-old securing four clean sheets for West Ham this term, with three of those coming away from east London. Only Artur Boruc and Hugo Lloris (five) have kept more clean sheets in England's top tier and with Swansea underperforming at home, fans can be quietly confident of another positive result this weekend.

*WhoScored.com is a website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Follow @WhoScored on Twitter.

Swansea City

Just like West Ham United's opponents in their most-recent Barclays Premier League away fixture, Swansea City will be hosting the Hammers following a Thursday night UEFA Europa League fixture.

Tottenham Hotspur had travelled to Russia to take on Anzhi Makhachkala three weeks ago, while Swansea hosted another Russian side, Kuban Krasnodar, at the Liberty Stadium. It remains to be seen if West Ham can take advantage of any fatigue in the Swans' squad, as they did at White Hart Lane.

Tactically, Swansea have become synonymous with patient, passing football, first under Roberto Martinez and then under Brendan Rodgers and current manager Michael Laudrup, the former Denmark forward.

A week ago, Laudrup's side ripped through bottom-of-the-table Sunderland, winning 4-0 through two own-goals, a Wilfried Bony penalty and Jonathan De Guzman's curler.

Swansea showed their versatility against Gus Poyet's men by scoring three goals from set pieces. However, the team from South Wales are much more likely to pose a threat through dominating possession and shooting from open play. Nine of Swansea's 12 league goals so far have come from open play.

Laudrup's short passing style has also seen Swansea attempt an average of 614 passes per game, 526 of which are classed as short passes by Opta. Such a playing style has led to Swansea's players having sky-high pass-completion percentages - four players are completing 90 per cent of their passes, while 14 are completing 85 per cent or better.

All those passes, however, have not led to domination in terms of results, especially on home turf. Swansea have lost to Manchester United (1-4) and Arsenal (1-2) at the Liberty Stadium, drawn 2-2 with Liverpool and beat Sunderland 4-0 last time out. In Europe, results at home have been better, with Malmo FF, Petrolul Ploiesti and St. Gallen all being beaten ahead of Thursday's draw with Kuban Krasndar.

Goalkeeepr Michel Vorm, a Netherlands international, is agile and confident. He has kept three clean sheets in eight league games so far.

In front of him, centre-backs Jordi Amat and Chico are tall, athletic, strong in the air and comfortable in possession. Ashley Williams, who captains Swansea, leads his team in interceptions (3.6) and clearances (9.4) per game but is out with an ankle injury.

Full-backs Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor - in for the injured Ben Davies - like to get forward, as Rangel showed by scoring in the corresponding fixture last season.

Swansea try to attack with a balanced approach, playing the ball through the centre or down either flank in equal measure. De Guzman and the diminutive Leon Britton sit deeper, with the speedy Nathan Dyer and skilful Wayne Routledge in the wide positions.

Ahead of them, Spaniard Michu has been a revelation since arriving at the Liberty Stadium. A more physical presence, Michu can hold the ball up and bring his team-mates intop play, is strong in the air and can finish clinically.

Up front, Ivorian Wilfried Bony is a tall, strong centre forward who was prolific during his time in Dutch football with Vitesse Arnhem. Both Michu and Bony have scored two league goals this term, as has injured left-back Davies.

Laudrup has plenty of options available to him should he wish to change things around.

Spaniards Jose Canas, Alejandro Pozuelo and Pablo Hernandez are all creative players who will see plenty of the ball if they feature, while Jonjo Shelvey is an all-round central midfield player who can both tackle hard and find the net from any range. When he plays, Canas is the man who could make Swansea tick, making a club-high average of 73 passes per game.

At the back, the powerful Dwight Tiendalli could start at right-back after doing so against Kuban on Thursday, as did German No2 goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel. Another Spaniard, forward Alvaro Vazquez, came on as a substitute in midweek and has started one Barclays Premier League fixture this term.