In the shadow of the Carling Cup final and the North London derby, Stoke versus Swansea threatens to go under the radar. Stoke have suffered in the League of late and dropped out of the Europa League in midweek, does the visit of Swansea represent a good opportunity to get back on track, or can the Swans continue to improve their away form?
Swansea Win (13/5 @ Bet365)
Stoke go into this League clash on a run of 4 straight defeats. FA Cup wins against lower League opposition have disguised the poor run somewhat but the Europa League exit makes it 6 defeats in 8 in all competitions.
Their tenacious reputation at the Britannia Stadium is also on the slide. They have failed to win at home in any of the last four (Sunderland, West Brom, Wigan and Aston Villa). Swansea compare favourably with those sides and the Potters have not beaten any of them.
Another factor working against the hosts is fatigue. The 5-0 defeat they suffered at Bolton back in November came after a tough away trip in Europe and a gruelling schedule generally. That was Wanderers first win at home. This match comes hot on the heels of not just a tough European tie in Spain against Valencia on Thursday, but also an FA Cup tie which saw them reduced to 10 men after just 16 minutes. It has been a testing week for Tony Pulis’ squad.
Despite all this, Swansea are still a big price in this game. The reason is their poor record away, they have won just twice on the road. The majority of their defeats came in the early months of the season however – their recent away form reads W2 D1 L2 which is certainly an improvement. The Swans have also recorded a win against Arsenal and draws versus both Chelsea and Tottenham. While those results came at the Liberty Stadium, they do at least prove the potential of the Welsh outfit as does the League run of just 3 losses in the last 10, and they appear solid value on Sunday.
The form of Stoke makes the 5/4 about them look too short. With 13/5 available (Bet365), the price on the visitors offers some value. The chances of a third Swans away win of the season are bigger than the 28% those odds suggest.