Stoke City and Swansea are to meet at the Britannia on Sunday, home game for Stoke City. This is a team that finished in the top ten last season, but it seems that it accounted to very little as a sense of frustration has set on the camp and their early in the season efforts can be described as nothing but indifferent. Their only high this season was at the Etihad; following this, they lost two of their three home games. Swansea is on a good roll, way ahead of the big guns Liverpool and Chelsea, almost equalling Manchester United. They started on a thumping three game victory, bringing nine points but only made two more in the next four matches after that. Consistency is plaguing this team as well. In the last three Premier league matches in the Britannia, they have managed only one point.
Experts point out that these teams are likely to finish at the bottom of the top half or the top of the bottom half this year, if they continue with the same performance that they are now putting on. Head to head, Stoke has performed better than Swansea at home, and they did not lose the last three matches. Another interesting fact here is that the team playing away has never won a single match in the Premier league between Stoke and Swansea.
Stoke does not have too many changes for the match, with Crouch leading the offence, there are only two players who might not make it to the field- Odemwingie, and Whelan with knee injuries. Peter Crouch is the man of the hour here and continues his stride in the game, the possibilities of a call back to the national side is proof of his quality and endurance in the game. Crouch has also been a fly in Swansea’s ointment as he has scored four times in the previous three matches at the Britannia.
Swansea is going into this match Bony leading the pack on the offence, while the team is the one with the smallest squad this year (18 players), every injury is going to hit them hard. Bony has been good, but again, inconsistent. With four players sitting out, three for injury and one suspension, they have limited space to work with and will have to make the best with what they have. Britton and Amat are both out with knee injuries, an ankle injury will put Donnelly on the bench and Shelvey is suspended.
Other factors that seem to have an outcome on the matches are the days in which they are played. Sundays seem to be a bad day for these teams. The Stokes, in the last six matches played on Sunday, have not won any of them.
Considering the fact that these teams seem to have lost their footing this tournament, this match is critical for both teams. For Swansea, if they want to get their stride back and for Stoke if they want to get out of their downward streak.