Stoke City will be looking to treat rather than trick the home faithful on Monday night as Swansea City take a trip to the Bet365 to face an in-form Potters side.
It’s been a rather positive October for Stoke City. Seven points from nine has lifted the gloom around the club, as Mark Hughes’ men look to turn the start of the season into a distant memory.
For Swansea City, October couldn’t have been more opposite. A home defeat to Liverpool at the beginning of the month saw Francesco Guidolin relieved of his duties.
In stepped American Bob Bradley, who has overseen a defeat at Arsenal and draw with Watford since his arrival.
Stoke City eager to get three more important points
It’s a fixture, much like the visit to Hull last weekend, that should yield a maximum return for Stoke.
Swansea are winless since the start of the season, claiming only two points from the eight games since – relegation form if we’ve ever seen it.
A win on Monday will see the Potters teeter on the edge of the top half of the table; clear in 12th position. Not bad for a side that couldn’t buy a win before the turn of October.
Such as the competitive nature of the top-flight this season, Stoke who are currently in 17th position on nine points are only six behind seventh placed Watford.
Stoke City also have the recent head-to-head on their side. The Swans have claimed only two points on their past five visits to the Potters, drawing two and losing three.
Defensive options running thin for Mark Hughes
Stoke City have been relatively fortunate with injuries so far this campaign – or the lack thereof.
However the ones picked up in recent weeks are all in the same area of the pitch.
First-choice right-back Glen Johnson is still absent, with a return pencilled in for mid-November. Cover in Phil Bardsley may also be missing on Monday night after being given compassionate leave following a death in the family.
Perhaps more worrying for Hughes is the suspected absence of versatile defender Geoff Cameron.
The American overstretched his knee in the victory over Hull and Mark Hughes spoke of his appreciation of the defender:
"I think the thing with Geoff is that sometimes you can underestimate the effect he can have on games in terms of his ability to get around the pitch and effect things and break things up…sometimes because of his versatility that he’s got that you don’t appreciate him in any given position."
Despite the potential headache at the back, Hughes otherwise has a fully-fit squad to pick from.
Swansea City may hand a start to Fernando Llorente who made his comeback from injury with an appearance off the bench last week.
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Pacey winger Jefferson Montero has been back in training for the Swans and may take up a slot on the bench for the visitors.
It’s another game that Stoke will no doubt be looking to win. Wilfried Bony needs to start firing and I think tonight may be the night for him to do that.
The three behind him will look to keep providing him the service as well as keeping their own threat levels high. The attack is starting to come together nicely.
I am wary of the threat of Gylfi Sigurdsson and the pace of Modou Barrow. Stoke need to be carful to not give away silly free-kicks or get caught in possession.
Swansea are at times able to fashion a goal out of nothing, so I feel Stoke will need to have more than a one-goal cushion to comfortably win this one.
It will be a tough game; Swansea will be keen to turn their own season around. 2-0 Stoke.