Stoke City are having an average season by their standards and Mark Hughes’ men are languishing in the bottom half of the table. Stoke came back to winning ways in their last match but what’s more important was the manner they won and especially their forwards contributing in the game with goals from Arnautovic and Shaqiri.
Paul Clement and his boys have done a massive job of pulling themselves out of misery but the axe of relegation is still very close to falling on their neck. In a game where Swansea have to win and a lot could possibly be decided, here are three key battles which would hold massive importance in dictating the flow of the game.
Gylfi Sigurdsson vs. Ryan Shawcross
Sigurdsson is undergoing a stunning campaign in the Premier League this season, with 8 goals and 11 assists to his name already. The Swansea City’s playmaker would be a threat to Shawcross who would need to shut him out on a constant basis. The Iceland international would be aiming to create yards of spaces, look for killer balls and even aim at the opponents’ goal from a considerable distance and Shawcross have a massive task of keeping Sigurdsson quiet by dispossessing him, marking him all the time and but the defender can use his physicality to his advantage to block all the crosses.
Jordan Ayew vs. Marko Arnautovic
Ayew’s style of play mainly comprises of dribbling and cutting inside to create goal scoring chances. He will be expected to cause damage in the opponents’ ranks but Stoke, on the other hand, has a similar sort of player in Marko Arnautovic. Arnautovic has been Stoke City’s main man for quite a while now and Mark Hughes will rely on him to get the breakthrough again. The Austrian International on his day can break any defence apart but it’s his lack of consistency that has eluded him from achieving greatness.
Federico Fernandez vs. Xherdan Shaqiri
Shaqiri is seemingly likely to spearhead Stoke’s attack at the Liberty Stadium, which implies that Fernandez needs to stay alarmed all the times, considering that the likes of Arnautovic and Saido Berahino would be aiding the Swiss International by dishing out juicy balls and killer passes. Clement should advise Fernandez to mark Shaqiri constantly and try not to give him any room to shoot as with his deadly finishing techniques, Shaqiri will be more than a handful.
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