Swansea City v Stoke City – Match Preview

10 years after meeting one another in England’s third tier Swansea and Stoke come face-t0-face for the first time in the top flight at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

That game took placed in 2001 with the Swans relegated to the bottom division and flirted with a potentially damaging drop into the conference during the next two years. Everyone remembers the remarkable escape of 2003 and since then it’s been rise after rise for the Welsh club culminating in last seasons play-off final win which secured promotion to the top division. They won their first league game since that Wembley victory two weeks ago beating West Brom 3-0 before coming back down to Earth seven days later with a 4-1 hammering courtesy of Chelsea. Despite the difficult start they’ve made to Premier League life the Swans have enjoyed every minute of their time in England’s top division so far and their propensity to attack and entertain is a refreshing change from the guarded philosophy normally exhibited by promoted sides. Brendan Rodgers is unwavering in his principals and ethics that football should be played with a certainly style and swagger with the Swans slick passing game winning them many admirers already. The pace of Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer is exciting whilst Joe Allen and Ashley Williams have proved themselves capable performers at this level. They’ll also take great pride in their unbeaten home record that reads a win and two draws and will be hoping to put one over on Tony Pulis’ Potters. Leon Britton is an injury worry with a back injury. Alan Tate, Steven Caulker, Kemy Agustien and Ferrie Bodde all remain long-term absentees.

For the football romanticists out there the Stoke reached the play-offs in 2001 but missed out on promotion but they eventually reached the promised land seven years later as we all know. The Potters have begun the season in red hot form and have shown they can juggle their gruelling Europa League campaign alongside that of the League and cup commitments. Pulis’ men have lost only once this season away at Sunderland but showed superb character to fight back and take a point from Manchester United last week. Deadline day signing Peter Crouch scored the equaliser in the game and was also on target on Thursday in a famous win over Besiktas at the Britannia Stadium. Jon Walters was also on target in that game and the duo look to be building a promising partnership up front. They could both miss out with Pulis likely to make wholesale changes as he tries to keep his squad fresh and free from injury. He could be without Matthew Etherington who suffered a dead leg in midweek and could join Salif Diao and Kenwyne Jones in the treatment room.

Key Players

Ashley Williams – The Welsh centre half has been immense for the Swans with his speed and power house style giving several Premier League strikers a shock so far this season. He will relish a physical battle against the likes of Crouch and Walters and will do his best to come out on top.

Ryan Shawcross – As ever the Potters skipper will be vital to his sides chances of claiming victory at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday. A colossus in the heart of defence he may have some trouble dealing with the speed of Sinclair if they manage to get in behind.

Verdict: 2-1

  • Defender Ashley Williams is Swansea City’s highest ranked player on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Williams is currently in 46th place on the Index
  • Williams has made 10 clearances, 11 interceptions and seven blocks in the Swansea City cause this season
  • The Stoke City players covered a total of 120,678m (74.99miles) during last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United. This was 20,269m further than the total distance covered by the United players in the game
  • Ryan Shawcross was the Stoke City player to cover the most ground (11,712m/7.28miles) during the game, closely followed by Glenn Whelan (11,706m/7.27miles) and Jonathan Walters (11,474m/7.13miles)

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