There will be Monday Night Football this week and it sees two clubs that are in desperate need for a victory in Stoke City and Swansea City. It will be a tightly fought match and it will be a huge three points for either side if there is a winner at the Bet365 Stadium. Past meetings suggest that it will be a tough match to call, with both sides managing to get some success.
After a bad start to the season, there has been a recovery from Stoke City and they have now climbed to 16th place. They will be hoping to push on into mid table over the coming weeks and a match against Swansea is a great opportunity to continue their good form. There has been some pressure on Mark Hughes, but recent weeks show that the players are still behind him and I’d expect Stoke to have another comfortable year in mid table.
Bob Bradley won’t be given much time at Swansea if things don’t improve during the next few matches. There are reasons for optimism after his first two matches, but it is crucial that he gets his first win soon. It isn’t going to be an easy match on Monday given Stoke’s recent upturn in form. However, it is one that Swansea should be looking to get a positive result and move out of the relegation zone.
Stoke are unbeaten in their last four matches and have climbed clear of the bottom of the table. They have improved across the pitch, scoring six goals and conceding just twice, which shows that the players are now pulling in the right direction. The Potters are coming into Monday’s fixtures with back-to-back clean sheets and will be confident of picking up yet another good result.
On the other hand, Swansea are second bottom of the Premier League and concerns are growing about the side getting involved in the relegation fight. They had a similarly poor start last season and managed to recover, but the strength of the league has increased. There are reasons to worry for supporters, which makes a positive result at Stoke essential.
Jack Butland and Glen Johnson won’t return until next month, therefore an unchanged line-up is likely. Xherdan Shaqiri will be the player to watch out for after an excellent performance at Hull, while Joe Allen will be keen to continue his good form. Wilfried Bony is likely to start against his former club, despite failing to make a huge impact since joining on loan.
There aren’t a great deal of options for Bob Bradley to make changes. They were solid without being remarkable against Watford, but the clean sheet provides a foundation to build on. Jack Cork and Leroy Fer could be in contention to return to the starting eleven.
Stoke City Swansea City
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Geoff Cameron is a doubt for this match, but he could pull through in time. Glen Johnson and Jack Butland are still a few weeks away from a return. Stephen Ireland and Ibrahim Afellay are on the long term injury list and won’t feature again until 2017.
Jefferson Montero could be back in the matchday squad after returning to training this week. The Ecuador international has recovered from an ankle injury. Nathan Dyer is still a number of weeks away from a return to first team action.
This is a very difficult match to call as there are reasons for optimism in both camps. The home advantage should be enough to carry Stoke to the three points. They have a better attack than Swansea and I expect Xherdan Shaqiri to have another impressive performance. It is going to be a difficult job for Bob Bradley at Swansea and I see things getting worse before they get better.
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