Swansea v Tottenham
Sunday October 4, 16:00
After a glorious August in which the Swans were unbeaten, starting with a 2-2 draw at Chelsea and ending with a 2-1 home win over Manchester United, September was dismal with just one goal scored in three Premier League games (as well as a 1-0 defeat at Hull in the Capital One Cup).
The turnaround is hard to explain - surely it can't be as simple as the international break upsetting their early rhythm? - but the goal drought is worrying. Their last goal from open play was Bafetimbi Gomis's winner against United, with last week's consolation in the 3-1 defeat at Southampton coming from a late Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty.
On the positive side Swansea's defence had been pretty solid until the Southampton game, with nil or one conceded in every game since the opener at Chelsea, and they are still unbeaten at home (three wins and a draw in all competitions).
Garry Monk was clearly unhappy with his team at Southampton and at half-time, even at 1-0 down, he replaced Gomis and Jack Cork with Eder and Jefferson Montero. With a deeper squad at his disposal this season, Monk could ring the changes here in an effort to shake up his players.
In contrast to Swansea, Tottenham's form has picked up after a slow start. With one defeat and three draws from their first four league games, they had to wait until September 13 for their first win (1-0 at bottom club Sunderland) but have since added home victories over Crystal Palace and Manchester City, moving them up to sixth in the table.
Thursday's 1-1 draw at Monaco made it four points out of six in the Europa League and their only defeat since the opening-day 1-0 reverse at Manchester United was the 2-1 home loss to Arsenal in the Capital One Cup, which was nevertheless a good performance even if the result went against them.
With such a young squad, Mauricio Pochettino may have difficulty getting consistency - especially with the demands of the Europa League as well - but there is no doubting the talent when they're on fire, as they have been in recent weeks.
Harry Kane got the monkey off his back with his first goal of the season in the 4-1 rout of City but any development in his partnership with Son Heung-min will have to wait. Having made a good start with three goals in his first five games, the £22m summer signing from Bayer Leverkusen was taken off with a foot injury 13 minutes from the end of the City game and is expected to be out for a few weeks.
Ryan Mason is close to a return after his injury lay-off but may not be ready until after the international break, along with Mousa Dembele and Nabil Bentaleb.
Swansea's home record against big-six teams is black and white under Monk, with three wins and five defeats, and it is notable that they have conceded in all eight games in that category at the Liberty stadium (the three wins were all 2-1).
Overall, in 17 games against big-six teams under Monk, Swansea have kept only one clean sheet (in the 1-0 win at Arsenal last season) and they are going to lose more than they win until that statistic improves (overall their record in those 17 games is W5 D2 L10).
The positive for Swansea is that six of the 10 defeats in that category have been by a single goal, which indicates their competitiveness even with the tendency to concede.
Tottenham beat the Swans home (3-2) and away (2-1) last season and their scoring stats - coupled with the hosts' record against big-six teams - indicate they will be difficult to stop again.
Under Pochettino, Tottenham have scored in 17 of their 22 away games and three of the shut-outs were against big-six opponents, while in one of the others they were compromised to some extent by playing the last 40 minutes with 10 men.
Last season's win at the Liberty is just one example among many of Tottenham's effectiveness on the road against teams outside the big six. Under Pochettino, they have lost only two out of 16 in that category and both defeats were against teams on the up (Crystal Palace at the start of Alan Pardew's reign in January and in-form Stoke near the end of last season).
Tottenham have won 10 of those 16 away games and it's 10 out of 14 when scoring, which on form gives them a good win chance at 2.789/5 unless Swansea suddenly find a way to improve their defensive record against big-six opponents.
A solid alternative is Spurs on Draw No Bet at 1.981/1 given their low defeat rate in this type of match-up.
The main concern with Spurs is that they had a mixed record after group games in the Europa League last season (four wins, four defeats), although their win at the Liberty followed the last of them in December.
Pochettino put out a pretty strong side in Monaco, including England call-up Dele Alli, Kane, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, but the possible effects of that are hard to weigh up (Tottenham won their only post-Europa game so far this season).
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
The figures from both sides point to over 2.5 goals, which is attractively priced at 2.0621/20.
Swansea's poor defensive record against big-six teams has resulted in 14 of their 17 games in that category under Monk going over 2.5 goals (six out of eight at home).
In Pochettino's first season, Tottenham led the league for games over 2.5 goals both overall (with a figure of 71%) and on the road (79%). There are signs of change this season, with only two out of seven over 2.5 goals (none out of three on the road), but it is too early to judge if that will continue in the long term.
Both Teams To Score
This is also strongly indicated by the figures from both sides and is a bet to consider at 1.794/5.
Both teams have got on the scoresheet in 13 of Swansea's 17 games under Monk against big-six teams (five out of eight at home), while there have been goals at each end in 10 of Tottenham's 16 away games under Pochettino against teams outside the big six.
Back Tottenham on Draw No Bet at 1.981/1 (1pt)
Back Over 2.5 Goals at 2.0621/20 (1pt)