Swansea City will be hoping to win for the first time in five Premier League games on Monday evening when they come up against Stoke City, who are after their third successive three-point haul.
After a run of games where they had performed well below par and failed to find the back of the net, the draw at home to Tottenham before the international break was an improvement as far as Swansea were concerned, as they played with more fluency going forward and saw summer signing Andre Ayew get back among the goals. Despite that, and going ahead twice in the game, they were still somwhat second best on the balance of play.
Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been a highly reliable presence behind an increasingly solid defence ever since joining the Welsh club from Arsenal in the summer of 2014, but he came in for criticism regarding both the Tottenham goals – free-kicks from Christian Eriksen. He will recover, but his teammates will certainly be expected to dictate the play more than what they have of late. After all, neat and tidy football and effective possession is what Swansea are known for.
There will be quiet confidence within the Stoke ranks that this could be the time where they finally win at the Liberty Stadium, having taken just a solitary point from their previous four visits. Despite a poor start, it was always likely that the Midlanders would soon start picking up wins and so it has proved, with a somewhat nervy success over Bournemouth being followed by a much more assured display in winning at Aston Villa.
The scorer of the decisive goal that day was Marko Arnautovic, and few players in the Premier League are in better form than the Austrian right now, adding goals to his creativity for club and country, scoring in the final two Euro 2016 qualifiers in recent days. His influence will be key again here for Stoke, who are beginning to move steadily up the table and will indeed leapfrog their opponents should they come out on top.
As always seems to be the case, Swansea have a clean bill of health and so Garry Monk has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Stoke also have few problems to contend with as Xherdan Shaqiri returns from injury, but Mame Biram Diouf will miss out after being given compassionate leave. Captain Ryan Shawcross is still working his way back to fitness.
Last Meeting: Both sides were in a secure position in the top half of the Premier League when they met in April, where two second half goals gave Swansea a deserved win. They finally went ahead on 76 minutes when Jefferson Montero headed home a cross from Jonjo Shelvey, before Ki Sung-Yueng added a second with a composed finish late on. Stoke ended with 10-men after the sending off of Marc Wilson.