Stoke v Swans: The big talking points
Swansea City take their search for a Premier League victory to Stoke City this weekend.
The Swans endured a difficult November, but can take some heart from their recent displays against Bournemouth and Chelsea as they prepare to face the Potters.
Here are all the key talking points heading into the game.
Tammy to come back?
Top scorer Tammy Abraham is back in contention for the trip to Stoke having been ineligible to face parent club Chelsea.
Having begun on the bench against Bournemouth last weekend after a back problem, Abraham will hope for a recall to the starting line-up this weekend.
Could he be paired with Wilfried Bony, who has been influential since his return from hamstring trouble?
As the Swans continue to struggle for attacking threat, Paul Clement may be tempted to name both Abraham and Bony in his starting line-up for only the second time.
The Swans head into this fixture on the back of a painful run which has seen them take just one point from their last six Premier League games.
Stoke’s form is better – but not by much.
Like their opponents, Mark Hughes’s team will be desperate for points having managed only one win in their last seven matches, a run which has seen them slip to 16th in the table.
Tough nuts to crack
The Swans may be struggling for results, but the numbers suggest there is nothing wrong with the defensive side of their game – particularly on the road.
Antonio Rudiger’s match-winning header at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night was only the sixth goal the Swans have conceded in seven away Premier League games this season.
That is a fine record. In fact, only Manchester City (four goals) and Chelsea (five) have been breached less often on the road in the top division this season.
Pain in the Potteries
The Swans have tended to do okay when playing against Stoke at the Liberty in the Premier League era, but things have not gone so well away from home.
In the early days they were often outmuscled by Tony Pulis’s Stoke teams, while there has been more trouble since Hughes took the reins at what is now known as the bet365 Stadium.
Garry Monk and Francesco Guidolin have both guided the Swans to Premier League draws at Stoke, but there has been no win on the Potters’ patch since goals from Jason Price and Kris O’Leary back in 2001.
How Clement’s side would love to wipe out that statistic this weekend.
Keeping in shape
The Swans have regularly changed their system this season, with Clement trying everything to try to squeeze the best out of his players.
Last weekend’s return to a 4-4-2 diamond, the shape which served the Swans so well at the back-end of last season, coincided with a much-improved performance against Bournemouth.
There were some positives at Chelsea as Clement stuck with the system, so it would not be a huge surprise to see him do the same again at Stoke.
What sort of welcome can Bony expect at the club where he had a difficult time on loan last season?
His only goals for Hughes’s team came against the Swans.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the tables were turned as Bony heads back to Staffordshire?