Welcome back to another addition of Don't look back in anger. Last week's preview had a Titanic theme, but thankfully that ship has sailed and we're back to normality this week. Having failed to win their last eight Premier League games, Aston Villa this week welcome Swansea City to Villa Park, check out what happened last time.
The last time we met
The game between Swansea and Villa last year actually offers some reasonable insight into how this season's game may be played. It was a close game, as many fixtures between the two have been, and Swansea were able to come away as 1-0 winners.
Villa were undone in a remarkably Tim Sherwood like fashion. 0-0 heading into the final quarter in a game in which a draw would be considered a good result, Sherwood replaced Christian Benteke with Andi Weimann, a sign of attacking intent, which ultimately led to Villa's demise. A Villa attack broke down and Swansea countered, leading to an eventual goal by Bafetimbi Gomis. Now looking at more recent defeats against Leicester (and the draw against Sunderland), it's clear that the warning signs were there last term.
Swansea meanwhile did what Swansea do so well, they dominated possession, prevented Villa from creating too many chances whilst not creating many of their own, but ultimately managing to make the most of their one big chance. Sounds simple, but it makes Swansea a tough team to face.
A tale of two brothers
Fun fact, if you Google Andre and Jordan, you get this
which isn't at all what I had in mind. Ahem, moving on from that, Saturday will see Villa's Jordan Ayew facing off against former teammate and brother, Andre.
Yes, perhaps the most intriguing battle on Saturday will be that of the two Ayew brothers. Both joined the Premier League from France this summer, and it's fair to say that since then their season's have gone in vastly different directions.
We knew that Jordan would need time to settle in at Villa, but after a couple of quiet performances against Bournemouth and Manchester United, he was relegated to the bench which probably did no favours for his confidence. He made his way back into the side following the international break and looked good against Birmingham City, but has yet to score for the club. In his defence, he is currently being played out wide, when he would possibly be more effective through the middle. Either way, the lack of goals is concerning, especially considering that Villa's other strikers have hardly been prolific.
Andre on the other hand has made an immediate impact on the division, scoring four in his first eight games at Swansea, a statistic made even more impressive by the fact that he has netted against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham. Alongside Bafetimbi Gomis, Ayew is part of an impressive strikeforce that'll likely cause trouble for Villa's defence come Sunday.
Now, Jordan Ayew joined Villa for a reported fee of £8 Million, whilst Andre signed for Swansea on a free. Many have used this to criticise Villa for signing the wrong player, and Jordan for not matching his brother's performances. It is however worth noting that Swansea paid a large signing fee to Andre, so it wasn't exactly a "free" transfer, so to speak. Either way, it's likely that at least one of the brothers Ayew will have a big impact on Saturday's game, and I hope it's Jordan.
Swansea this season
Swansea bought smartly in the summer, and started the season strongly, taking eight points out of a possible twelve to start their campaign. However, things have since stagnated, and they haven't actually won a game since their 2-1 win over Manchester United in August. Coming off a 1-0 defeat against Stoke City, Swansea are tough, but definitely beatable.
Featuring key players such as Ashley Williams, Jonjo Shelvey, Gylfi Sigurosson, Jefferson Montero and the aforementioned Ayew and Gomis, Swansea's starting eleven is ultra solid. They don't however have much in the way of strength in depth, so they are always a couple of injuries away from disaster. Unfortunately for Villa, Swansea are basically at full strength at present.
It'll definitely be interesting to see who Villa employ as fullbacks, as Jefferson Montero and co have the potential to terrorise Jordan Amavi/Kieran Richardson and Leandro Bacuna/Alan Hutton. That, in my opinion, will be the key to vicotry for Villa, neutralising Swansea's strength on the wings. That, and not self destructing. Again.
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