The Swans have buckled at the worst possible time following their resurgence when Carlos Carvajal first arrived. It’s nine games now since Swansea last tasted victory and a home defeat to Southampton in their last game has left them on the verge of relegation, only a win here and a nine-goal swing would see them catch the Saints.
Stoke meanwhile are playing for pride alone, after last weeks defeat saw them slump to bottom of the league.
Statistically, Stoke are less likely to bounce back if they finish bottom, only six teams have earned a straight return to the Premier league from that position. So lifting themselves off the foot of the table could offer a huge psychological boost next season.
It’s not good, for either side really, hence the league positions. The two sides haven’t won a match between them in their last eight Premier League games. A huge 4-1 win over West Ham is the only victory in 10 games for the Swans, who are left desperately clinging to onto their Premier League status.
Swansea had hoped for better after winning three out of four games at the start of the year, lifting them out of the drop zone. They have struggled for form since though and have lost seven of those last 10 games now.
Stoke still haven’t won since Paul Lambert’s first game in charge, that’s 13 games without a victory. In that time they have thrown away several promising leads as the side have really struggled to perform over the 90 minutes.
Southampton’s win over Swansea meant former Stoke manager Mark Hughes has achieved eight points in his first seven games. Not a spectacular return, but only two points less than his successor has earned in twice as many games.
The return fixture at the bet365 Stadium was one of the few happy days for Stoke this season as Mame Biram Diouf and Xherdan Shaqiri helped their side to a 2-1 victory. There was a small sting in the tail as returning flop striker Wilfried Bony put the Swans 1-0 up inside the first three minutes.
Swansea were unable to hold their lead as the Potters hit a four-minute double just before halftime. It proved to be a sucker punch for the struggling Swans as they were unable to muster anything of note in a drab second half for the two sides.
Ivorian striker Bony won’t have a say in this one after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament two months ago. Leroy Fer is also ruled out of this fixture due to his ongoing injury but the rest of the squad should be fit for the crucial clash.
Jese Rodriguez and Ibrahim Afellay have already had their contracts terminated by Stoke City, whilst Lee Grant and Kostas Stafylidis will miss out through injury. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has been missing through injury since the Everton fixture but should be fit for a return to action.
The Cameroonian forward’s future at the club is under consideration though ahead of a summer clear out so he may still miss out on the matchday squad. Bruno Martins Indi also missed out on the last game through injury, whilst Glen Johnson came off nursing a knock.
Swansea (4-3-3): Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Ki, Narsingh, Klucas, Ayew, Abraham, Ayew
Stoke City (4-4-2): Butland, Cameron, Zouma, Shawcross, Pieters, Shaqiri, Allen, Ndiaye, Bauer, Crouch, Diouf
Swansea have looked pretty lacklustre in recent fixtures but Stoke have proved hopeless and inept in all manner of footballing ability. Fans would like to think their side would fight for pride but in truth, most of the squad already has their eye on a summer move or upcoming the World Cup.
If there’s anything to learn from the unsavoury stories surrounding the club and the final knockings of the Mark Hughes era, it’s that the majority of this spineless team is already checked out for the season.
Swansea are in desperate need of three points and will throw everything at a Stoke side that’s got the worst away record in the league. Stoke’s defence have proved error-ridden in the closing weeks, with a Ryan Shawcross mistake gifting Crystal Palace the winner that sent them down.
Swansea should have more than enough for a comfortable victory, whether it will be enough will ultimbe dependant on other teams.
Prediction: Swansea 2-0 Stoke City