Stoke travel to the Liberty Stadium this weekend for what will widely be regarded as a ‘dead rubber’. Swansea currently sit in eighth position, seven points off Europa League qualification, yet Gary Monk has had a hugely impressive first full campaign in charge, and will be looking for a strong finish to rubber stamp a successful season.
Stoke are just three points behind the Swans, and Mark Hughes will also be happy with how his side have performed so far. Hughes has slowly implemented a more attractive brand of football at The Britannia, and will be looking to usurp Swansea into eighth position, before aiming for Europa League qualification next season.
Swansea will be without four players through injury, with Tom Carroll, Kyle Naughton, Bafetimbi Gomis and Wayne Routledge all missing. Jefferson Montero is struggling to make the squad, and may be allowed extra time to recover. Neil Taylor should replace Jordi Amat at left-back upon his return from suspension.
Stoke will be buoyed by the news that Bojan hopes to be fit for pre-season, after sitting out a large chunk of the season with a knee injury. Also missing for Stoke are Victor Moses and Marc Muniesa, though Geoff Cameron may yet make the trip to Wales. Peter Odemwingie could be named in the squad after shrugging off his injury woes.
- Both Swansea and Stoke have a goal difference of -3, though Swansea have scored two more Premier League goals.
- Swansea have taken sixteen points from their last ten matches, whilst Stoke are not far behind with a total of fourteen.
- In their last four meetings at the Liberty Stadium (in all competitions), Swansea have scored at least two goals on each occasion.
- Ki Sung-yueng is Swansea’s leading marksman in the Premier League with seven goals.
Swansea – Gylfi Sigurdsson.
After an unhappy spell at White Hart Lane, Sigurdsson made the move back to the Liberty Stadium where he has once more proved what a talented footballer he is. The Icelandic international has flourished under Gary Monk, chipping in with six goals and an extremely impressive ten assists. His danger from set-pieces is a great weapon in Swansea’s armoury, as is his guile and passing ability. Fans of The Swans will be hoping for another master class from Sigurdsson against Stoke.
Stoke – Charlie Adam.
Regardless of what Adam does for the rest of the season, he will be undoubtedly remembered for ‘that’ goal against soon to be champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It may be a little unfair on the Scotsman to judge him on one goal, as he has provided five in total added to one assist. Like Sigurdsson, his danger from set-pieces cannot be underestimated, and his determination – and love for a strong tackle – adds some bite into Stoke’s engine room.
Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Shelvey, Cork, Dyer, Sigurdsson, Montero, Oliveira.
Begovic, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters, Adam, N’Zonzi, Arnautovic, Ireland, Walters, Diouf.
With little pressure on either team to perform, we could see both teams expressing themselves, leading to a high-scoring game. I’m going to go Swansea 3-1, which is available at 20/1 with William Hill.