Preview: Swansea v Stoke
This weekend we’re heading to Swansea to face the Swans at the Liberty City Stadium.
Swansea are currently in the relegation zone, two points from safety. With only five games left this season, the Swans are fighting for their place in the Premier League next season and feeling the pressure. With Swansea manager, Paul Clement calling the match a ‘must-win’ immediately following their defeat to Watford. He went further to say it’s Swansea’s biggest match since the play-off final in 2011.
Their out of form at the moment, with their last win being seven games ago and picking up only one draw in the meantime. The Liberty Stadium hasn’t become the fortress fans needed it to become this season and it shows. Their average points at home this season is 1.13, although there have been improvements under Clement. Six homes games since his takeover, only losing two, against Arsenal and Tottenham.
Swansea have failed to score in the last four of their five league games, although Gylfi Sigurdsson has created six assists this season. Jack Cork looks to be missing another game with an ankle injury, he’s set to return next weekend.
Stoke go into this game following a home win against Swansea relegation-rivals Hull. Fans are a bit more confident, more so than the previous match, but still, the Hughes In/Out debate is ongoing. Mark Hughes surprised fans with the line-up against Hull, and then rattled a few fans by bringing on Crouch and Walters. Which ultimately paid off with a Crouch goal, from a Walters assist, before Shaqiri silenced critics with an out-of-the-box shot that flew into the net. We lie in 11th place and are only one point behind Hughes’ comfort-zone of 9th, however both teams ahead have a game in-hand, with Southampton having two.
Our away form is abysmal now, losing seven in the last nine and only winning once. On top of that, we haven’t scored an away goal since our win at Sunderland in January, 506 minutes of football. It’s now nearly May. If we fail to score at the Liberty, Stoke will have failed to score in six consecutive away top-flight games for the first time since April 1985. But if we do win, it’ll be our first back-to-back away wins at Swansea for the first time.
Both sides go into the game with a point to prove, wins are needed for different reasons. One is for league safety, the other, job safety. It could be a spectacular match, if both teams really go for the win. But with the current form of both sides, it could more than easily slide into a bore of a game, poor performances from both teams and a scrappy Charlie Adam display.
In injury news, Jon Walters is available, despite missing training this week due to fluid in his knee. Joe Allen and Glen Whelan could also return following their sidelines.
Written by Benito Fisher
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