Stoke City V Swansea City
It’s the battle of the ‘Citys’ as Swansea host Stoke at The Liberty Stadium on Monday night football tonight. The two sides have been lucky in a way as they have had longer to prepare for their first game back after the International break than the other eighteen teams who were in action over the weekend. On paper this looks like one of the least glamorous ties of the lot but I still expect a decent tie and a few goals to booth as both sides look to start climbing up the table.
The hosts will have been thankful of the aforementioned break as their recent form has been poor, (after a decent start) failing to win in the league and cup since their 2-1 comeback win at home to Manchester United at the end of August. However, they are still unbeaten at home in the league this season and a 2-2 draw at home to an in-form Spurs’ side last time out would have certainly lifted spirits.
Team News: Swansea are set to be at full strength with joint top scorer Andre Ayew (4), who opened the scoring that day v Spurs expected to overcome the knee problem that ruled him out of Ghana’s friendly last week. Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is also set to play after a knee problem and Kyle Naughton returns after missing the draw with Spurs for the birth of his daughter.
For the Potters, striker Mame Diouf, is on compassionate leave following the death of his mother and will miss the game while Marc Wilson returns after two games out with a calf problem but Shay Given is very doubtful with a knee injury. Welshman and former National team manager Mark Hughes will surely be looking forward to his return to his home country, where he will look to spoil the party and come away with all three points. ‘Sparky’ recently became the second longest serving current Premier League manager after Arsene Wenger following the departure of Brendan Rodgers from Anfield. He has 29 months under his belt at the Britannia. No mean feat in the current environment!! His side are unbeaten in four, including three wins in a row and will come into this one in confident mood.
Prediction: Swansea won the corresponding fixture 2-0 last season with Montero and Ki on the score-sheet but I expect tonight’s clash to be a lot closer and I am going for a score draw, with Ayew and Arnautovic both netting for their respective sides.
Odds: Score Draw 7/2
Anytime Scorer Ayew 11/5 & Arnautovic 9/2
Over 2.5 goals 1/1
By Robert Cox @Cissecox