Normally billed as a clash of styles, Swansea and Stoke face each other at the Liberty Stadium with the title of ‘Last on Match of the Day 2’ oozing all over this fixture as both sides struggling in front of goal in recent times.
Swansea have had a week to forget after a defeat against fierce rivals Cardiff and conceding a last minute equaliser against Kuban Krasnodar in the Europa League. The disappointing second half performance last weekend will be a particular concern for Laudrup as Swansea’s free-flowing attacking play is not flowing so freely this season.
After a decent start for Mark Hughes’ team, Stoke haven’t won for 7 games and sit one place and one point outside of the relegation area. Decent performances against Manchester United and in-from Southampton see Stoke go into this game in happy moods than their opponents.
Jonathan De Guzman
With the absence of Michu for the preceding month, De Guzman will see himself move into his more effective attacking midfield position that earned him plaudits last season. This was shown against Sunderland where he capped his performance with a brilliant goal.
De Guzman’s passing ability make him a perfect fit for Swansea, a pass accuracy of 89% proves this, and the more advanced position will place him in an area where he can create more than the 7 chances he has already.
The former Blackburn midfielder is an important player in the middle of the pitch for Stoke with an influence on both attacking and defensive fronts.
On the attacking side of play, N’Zonzi has created the most chances for Stoke (13), including an unbelievable lobbed pass for Arnautovic at the Emirates Stadium, but is yet to have an assist to his name. The midfielder is also important for Hughes as he tries to change Stoke’s style of play and N’Zonzi has made 56 more passes in the final third than any other Stoke player (116).
N’Zonzi’s main role in the side is as a defensive midfielder, so it is no surprise he has won the most tackles (24) for Stoke this season as well as making 92 ground duels.
- Swansea have failed to score in the league for 190 minutes. The last goal came against Sunderland where two of their 4 goals scored were own goals and another was a penalty.
- The two away wins for Stoke in 2013 are accompanied by their 2 clean sheets away from home.
- Super Sunday? Not quite. Swansea have only won 2 out of 9 league games played on a Sunday in 2013, while Stoke have won none of their 6 Sunday games this calendar year.
- Stoke have failed to score on 5 occasions this season. A reason why Asmir Begovic finds himself as Stoke’s joint top league goal scorer after his freak goal last week.
Swansea will be without key players Michu, who is out for a month with an ankle and knee injury, and the suspended Michel Vorm.
Glenn Whelan is a doubt after the return of a hamstring problem against Southampton, while Jon Walters should make his consecutive 100th Premier League despite picking up a knock last weekend.
Swansea haven’t reacted well to ‘European hangovers’ this season and Sunday’s game could be more evidence towards this. The away form has been a problem for Stoke and they are struggling to turn performances in points. Both of these points can only lead to a 3rd consecutive draw at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea City 1 Stoke City 1