Three Key Battles - Swansea City

West Ham United's Boxing Day fixture at Swansea City will feature two teams who generally adopt different approaches to their football.

While Slaven Bilic's Hammers usually play an aggressive style and focusing their attacking play down the middle third of the pitch, Bob Bradley's Swans are more akin to a non-aggressive style and attacking down the wings.

According to the statistics, West Ham are generally good at attacking and defending set plays, scoring nine of their 19 Premier League goals (47%) from such positions, while Swansea are weak at keeping their opponents at bay from set-piece situations.

Possession-wise, Swansea have traditionally been a team which has controlled the game, but that has not been the case this season. Both teams enjoy 49% possession, while West Ham's pass-completion of 79% is a percentage-point higher than their Welsh hosts.

As is always the case, individual battles will dictate how the match pans out, so we have picked out three which could decide our Boxing Day fixture at Liberty Stadium.

Fabianski v Randolph


Lukasz Fabianski and Darren Randolph have both been busier than they would have liked this season, but the two goalkeepers have also used the opportunity to shine between their respective sticks.

Poland international Fabianski has started all 17 games for Swansea, keeping just three clean sheets, but making 52 saves in the process. Having lost centre-halves Ashley Williams to Everton and Federico Fernandez to injury, the 31-year-old is being called upon to keep his team in matches, but his high workload is making that difficult to achieve.

Randolph has also been in action regularly in his six starts, making 22 saves, keeping two clean sheets but also making two errors in conceding eleven goals in those matches. Like Fabianski, Randolph is a fine shot-stopper.

Britton v Noble

Two Academy of Football graduates will go toe-to-toe in the midfield at the Liberty Stadium on Boxing Day in Leon Britton and Mark Noble. As players schooled at Little Heath, both are technically proficient ball-players who like to get in possession and make their respective teams tick.

Britton is a deep-lying midfielder who will often collect the ball from his back four and look for openings further forward with his accurate passing. Noble is a more traditional central midfielder, who is not afraid to put his foot in to win the ball back for his side, before using it accurately and intelligently.

The Academy graduate who wins this midfield battle will play a big role in controlling the game for his team.

Sigurdsson v Payet

These two lads are vitally important to their respective team's attacking potency.

Iceland star Gylfi Sigurdsson is the man who makes Swansea a threat in the attacking third. Playing in a No10 or central midfield role, the 27-year-old is two-footed, an excellent passer and can shoot accurately from open play or set pieces.

Sigurdsson might not be as heavily involved in general play as his teammates, but when he is, he makes things happen. Of Swansea's 20 Premier League goals, he has been directly involved in half of them.

Payet is West Ham's attacking heartbeat. Like Sigurdsson, he is two-footed and can pass and shoot with deadly accuracy. He is generally much more involved in the game than his Swansea counterpart, and has played more key passes (63) than any player in Europe's top five leagues.