Two teams in relegation danger meet at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with three points top of the agenda for both managers. Stoke are not in brilliant form, picking up just one point from their previous three games, but Swansea haven’t won since October 14th.
Stoke’s last home game was against Liverpool and, although they lost 3-0, the game turned on a couple of key moments. Their striker Mame Biram Diouf was brought down by Simon Mignolet when through on goal but the Liverpool keeper only received a yellow card. Later on, with Liverpool holding a slender lead, Jurgen Klopp summoned Mo Salah from the bench. He put Stoke to the sword with two clinical finishes.
Swansea battled hard in their last away game, but eventually succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to champions Chelsea. Although the Swans have a reasonable defensive record this season, their attack has often looked toothless. Tammy Abraham is their top marksman, with only four goals, and four is also the number of shots on target that the team managed in the whole of November!
Xherdan Shaqiri has shown what he is really capable of for Stoke this season. The diminutive Swiss midfielder bagged a couple of classy goals against Leicester and Crystal Palace last month as well as a brilliant assist from the halfway line against Brighton. If Swansea want to diminish his influence, they have to stop the winger cutting inside onto his lethal left foot.
Lukasz Fabianski was in fine form against Chelsea on Wednesday, making several fine saves as Swansea nearly stole a precious point at Stamford Bridge. If Swansea’s attack fails to shine yet again on Saturday, the lightning fast reflexes of their Polish stopper could be needed to keep them in the contest.
Stoke are still missing England goalkeeper Jack Butland with his broken finger, whilst US defender Geoff Cameron has not fully recovered from his head injury. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting picked up an ankle knock in midweek but he is expected to be fit for Saturday.
Abraham was ineligible to play against his parent club Chelsea on Wednesday, but he is available on Saturday and looks to be Swansea’s best chance of a goal. Poor Federico Fernandez is unavailable due to a family bereavement, so Mike Van Der Hoorn is likely to continue at centre-back in his absence. Fellow defender Kyle Bartley is out with a knee injury.
Stoke have only won three games in the Premier League this season but they have shown enough quality in their recent performances to suggest that they will be able to dominate a lacklustre Swansea outfit. If Stoke do score, expect Swansea to struggle to hit back. They have only hit seven goals all season.
Kick Off: Saturday @ 3:00pm