Mark Hughes’ men host Swansea City at The bet365 Stadium, a ground where the visitors have never won in the Premier League.
Stoke City vs Swansea City:
Date: Monday 31st October 2016
Time: 20:00 GMT
Venue: The bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent
Competition: Premier League
Referee: Mr M Oliver
Where to watch: Sky Sports 1 & Sky Sports 1 HD
Last time they met: Stoke City 2-2 Swansea City
Latest betting odds (bet365):
Our prediction: Stoke to win, and BTTS: 3/1
Long-shot: The big-man to break his duck against his former club? Wilfried Bony to score anytime, and Stoke City to win 2-0 – 16/1
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It’s been a decent few weeks for Stoke City, so it will be frustrating that in a weekend where results have gone seemingly well for Stoke, that they have been made to wait until Monday night to get the chance to potentially move as high as 11th in the league.
After a poor start to the season by all accounts, Stoke have had the rub of the green in recent weeks, having gone four unbeaten in the Premier League since the introduction of Lee Grant in goals coincided with Xherdan Shaqiri’s return from injury.
Shaqiri’s fantastic double was enough to see off Hull last Saturday, and Mark Hughes will be hoping his Switzerland international will continue to deliver the goods for Stoke in what’s looking like a stellar second season for the Alpine Messi.
Hughes will also be hoping that summer signing Wilfried Bony will find the net against his former club tomorrow. The Stoke City manager stated in the week that he will persist with the Ivorian, who’s not found the net in seven starts so far for City.
Bony, 27, made 54 appearances for Swansea City scoring 26 goals in the process. Having joined them from Dutch side Vitesse, Bony’s reputation grew vastly in South Wales, and earned him a huge £25 million pound move to Manchester City.
Another player who will be aiming to haunt his former club tomorrow will be Stoke’s player of the season so far, Joe Allen who will look to continue his fine goal-scoring run of late. Allen could’ve joined Swansea in the summer, as it was expected chairman Huw Jenkins would match any bid from Stoke to bring Allen back home.
That never happened though, and Hughes will be delighted to have a player of Allen’s ability at his disposal. Hughes will have a dilemma at right-back tomorrow however, as Phil Bardsley was granted compassionate leave following the tragic death of his grandfather this week, so again, Hughes could either opt for Geoff Cameron at right-back, or Marc Muniesa there.
Muniesa, who’s only start this season was against Stevenage will be hoping to get the nod, but it could be interesting to see if Hughes was to throw Cameron back there, who he’d play alongside Glenn Whelan.
Does he go for Joe Allen? And throw Bojan back into the midfield, or does Hughes bring in Giannelli Imbula, who’s not featured in Stoke’s last two squads altogether.
Whoever Hughes chooses tomorrow will be very interesting, and with no other injury doubts, you would expect Stoke to pick up their third league win of the season tomorrow.
What the manager has said:
MH: “We’re looking forward to the Swansea game. It won’t be easy. I think Swansea are a little bit like ourselves where they’ve got a lot of quality and you feel they’re in a false position. I’m sure the new manager will have a way of playing that he’ll want to implement as quickly as he can.”
Stoke City Predicted XI:
Grant, Cameron, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Whelan, Imbula, Allen; Shaqiri, Bony, Arnautovic.
MATCH FACTS [BBC SPORT]:
- Stoke have only lost one of the last six meetings (W2, D3).
- The Potters have never lost a home Premier League meeting with the Swans (W3, D2).
- Swansea’s only top-flight victory at Stoke was in October 1981 – their first meeting in the top division.
- After 17 league games without one, Stoke could keep a third-consecutive clean sheet this weekend.
- The Potters are unbeaten in four Premier League games (W2 D2); their best run since March.
- Xherdan Shaqiri’s last four league goals have been scored from outside the penalty area.
- Wilfried Bony has failed to score in his last 23 matches in all competitions with club and country – his last Premier League goal came on Boxing Day 2015.
- Swansea are winless in their last eight league games, losing six – they have never had a longer run in the top-flight.
- They ended a run of four straight defeats with their draw against Watford last weekend, keeping a second clean sheet of the season in the process.
- Only Middlesbrough and Sunderland have scored fewer league goals than the Swans’ eight this season.
- Leroy Fer has scored half of their Premier League tally.
If you think Stoke’s season has been poor so far, it’s nothing on Swansea’s campaign. Having only registered one victory so far this season, Bob Bradley will be hoping the home draw against Watford last Saturday will be a kick-start to their campaign.
Bradley is set to have Fernando Llorente and Jefferson Montero available for the trip, and has called for the Spaniard to be a hit at the Liberty Stadium by emulating Wilfried Bony’s success there.
Having only won on the opening day of the season against Burnley, Swansea decided to pull the trigger, and sack manager Francesco Guidolin for the aforementioned Bob Bradley.
Swansea currently sit 4 points below Stoke, and a first win for Bradley would be much needed, however, they will have to do something they’ve not done before, and that is to walk away from Stoke-on-Trent with all three points in the Premier League.
What the manager has said:
BB: “The [new manger] bounce is talked about and you have to make it happen. I’ll be excited when we get that first win.
“We talk a lot about confidence and they need that reinforcement.
“At the Emirates [against Arsenal] we had a chance for a point, but I’m not certain we put ourselves in a great position to take three.
“Coming off against Watford I felt that was more there for us.”
Swansea City Predicted XI:
Fabianski; Naughton, Mawson, Van der Hoorn, Kingsley; Ki, Britton; Routledge, Sigurdsson, Barrow; Llorente