Premier League Preview: Swansea City - Stoke City
Stoke will hope to bounce back from derby defeat to Cardiff last time out against a Potters side which has slipped to just one place above the Premier League drop zone.
Mark Hughes' men are without a win in seven Premier League outings, while Swansea City has just one victory from its last five top-flight fixtures, a streak which includes an agonizing 1-0 defeat at the hands of fierce rival Cardiff City last Sunday.
Southampton held Stoke to a 1-1 draw last time out after a bizarre goal by keeper Asmir Begovic put Hughes' side ahead in the opening seconds, leaving the Britannia Stadium club just one place above the relegation zone.
The history books will provide some happy reading for Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, though, as the men from South Wales have not lost at home to Stoke since March 1993.
The most recent meeting between the teams came in January, when a Ben Davies strike and a Jonathan de Guzman double gave Swansea a 3-1 victory at the Liberty, with Michael Owen netting a late consolation for the visitors.
Despite Swansea's faltering form of late, it is only one point worse off than at this stage a year ago - 13th on 11 points - but comes into this clash on the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw with Kuban Krasnodar in the Europa League on Thursday.
Stoke, meanwhile, is 17th on nine points - exactly the same total as this time 12 months ago.
Michel Vorm (suspended) and Michu (ankle) are certain to miss out for Swansea, though Laudrup will have full confidence in the abilities of backup stopper Gerhard Tremmel, who kept goal for the entirety of his side's successful Capital One Cup campaign last season.
The attacking onus will fall on club-record signing Wilfried Bony to finally find his feet in the Premier League by filling the boots of Michu, who scored 18 league goals last season. The Ivorian has scored just two top-flight goals since his summer switch from Vitesse.
Stoke has found the net just seven times in 10 Premier League outings, with the club's troubles in front of goal highlighted by the fact Begovic's freak opener against Southampton made him the club's joint top scorer this season.
Hughes will be without Andy Wilkinson (knee) for the trip to the Liberty, while Jonathan Walters (thigh), Robert Huth (ankle), Glenn Whelan (hamstring) and Erik Pieters (back) all face late fitness tests.
Top 3 Predictions
Swansea City 2-1 Stoke
- 22.46 %
Swansea City 1-1 Stoke
- 15.22 %
Swansea City 2-0 Stoke
- 12.32 %
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Feb 12, 2014||Stoke 1 - Swansea City 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Nov 10, 2013||Swansea City 3 - Stoke 3|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Jan 19, 2013||Swansea City 3 - Stoke 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Sep 29, 2012||Stoke 2 - Swansea City 0|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||Feb 26, 2012||Stoke 2 - Swansea City 0|
|Mar 2, 2014||Swansea City 1 - Crystal Palace 1||EPL|
|Feb 27, 2014||Napoli 3 - Swansea City 1||EL|
|Feb 23, 2014||Liverpool 4 - Swansea City 3||EPL|
|Feb 20, 2014||Swansea City 0 - Napoli 0||EL|
|Feb 16, 2014||Everton 3 - Swansea City 1||FA|
|20||Jonathan De Guzmán||Midfielder|