Swansea host West Ham on Sunday with both teams sitting in the bottom half of the table after having indifferent starts to their seasons.
Swansea sit in 11th place in the table after notching their third win of the season against Sunderland last weekend, with the Swans drawing one and losing four of their opening eight games. West Ham, on the other hand sit in 15th place after winning two, drawing two and losing four of their opening eight games.
West Ham have struggled away from home since the start of last season, taking just 17 points and scoring 14 goals in their 23 away matches since rejoining the league. This season, however there has been an improvement which has seen the Hammers take 5 points in their opening 4 away matches, conceding just one goal and recording an impressive 3-0 win at White Hart Lane.
Swansea have faced a difficult start at home this season, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United all visiting the Liberty Stadium in their opening 4 home games along with bottom of the table Sunderland. Swansea have taken four points from these games though, scoring eight and conceding eight and will be looking to improve on this on Sunday.
Ashley Williams is back training for Swansea after 5 weeks out with an ankle problem, but it is unclear whether Michael Laudrup will risk the centre back. Ben Davies has been ruled out with an ankle injury, but the Swans should be able to welcome back Pablo Hernandez after returning from a hamstring injury.
Sam Allardyce has confirmed that West Ham have no new injury worries, but Andy Carroll, James Collins, Alou Diarra and George McCartney remain out.
- Ravel Morrison has scored with both of his shots on target this season
- This is only the 3rd league game between these sides since 1983
- West Ham have the worst shooting accuracy in the Premier League this season (29.6%)
- There have been more goals at the Liberty Stadium than any other ground this season (16)
Michu has been a revelation at Swansea since joining the club from Rayo Vallecano last summer, netting 20 goals in his 42 Premier League appearances.
The Spaniard scored a goal every 168 minutes in his debut Premier League season and has gone on to score 2 goals this season at a rate of a goal every 360 minutes.
However, his role in the Swansea team has changed this season with Michu playing just behind new signing Wilfried Bony instead of playing up front by himself, which is a position he found himself in for the majority of last season.
The signing of Bony has taken the weight of goals off the Spaniard’s shoulders and his recent call up to the Spanish national team should give him the confidence to help prove that he is not a one season wonder.
He has been Swansea’s most creative player this season creating 16 chances, which is 5 more than any other Swansea player with 15 of the 16 chances being created in open play. The Spaniard has created a chance every 45 minutes this season, which is nearly twice as often as last season, with his improved creativity stats down his change of position – one that could definitely benefit Swansea if Michu can keep this up for the whole season as well as continuing to score goals.
Michu is also Swansea’s joint top goalscorer this season with 2 goals and will be looking to add to his tally this weekend against West Ham after scoring Swansea’s only goal in their Europa League tie against Kuban Krasnodar.
West Ham will have to be aware of Michu’s late runs into the box from his new position in the side as well as Bony’s presence up front if they are to get anything out of the game, with Swansea having much more of a goal threat this season.
Mark Noble has been one of West Ham’s most consistent players since they rejoined the Premier League and his all action displays have adhered him to the West Ham faithful.
Noble is the link player in midfield for West Ham, picking up the ball from defence and starting attacks as well as providing cover for his new, more attacking centre midfield partner Ravel Morrison.
The Englishman has made 421 passes this season, which is a staggering 15.9% of West Ham’s passes and 153 more passes than any other West Ham player, with 81% of those passes finding a teammate. Noble has made 30% of these passes in the final third, 41% in his own half and 59% in the attacking half showing just how involved he has been all over the pitch this season.
Mark Noble is also West Ham’s most creative player this season, creating 18 chances at a rate of a chance every 39 minutes. He has created 4 more chances than his nearest rival in this statistic Stewart Downing, with only Steven Gerrard, Mesut Ozil, David Silva and Eden Hazard creating more chances than Noble in the Premier League this season.
Noble has also created 2 clear cut chances and played 4 through balls this season, which is more than any West Ham player and is starting to prove just how key he is in the West Ham side.
If West Ham are to have any chance against Swansea then Noble and co will need to keep Michu and Bony quiet, as well as taking their chances when they come and replicating their last impressive away win at White Hart Lane.
West Ham have struggled to score goals away from home in the Premier League, but have improved their away form this season and will be looking to jump above Swansea in the table.
Swansea are a very good side at home and will do well this season, but I am expecting this to be a close game with Swansea having played in midweek.
Swansea 1-1 West Ham