THE Bet365 Stadium is the focus for this week’s Monday night match as Stoke host Swansea. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) offers his view.
Stoke v Swansea | Monday 20:00 | Sky Sports 1
After all the bells-and-whistles treatment that Liverpool v Man Utd got two weeks ago, let’s hope this much less sexy Monday night match surpasses that clash for quality.
Stoke’s match with Swansea is 17th v 19th in the table but while Swansea can only jump up one position if they win, the Potters can hit 12th win a win here.
That makes sense to me when you compare the plights of these sides. Just like in previous seasons Stoke did not trap well and murmurings of discontent regarding Mark Hughes were aired.
Thankfully for him and common sense those utterings quietened down after an unbeaten run of four games. The run has included wins over Hull and Sunderland and draws against Manchester United and West Brom. Stoke seem to be looking upwards.
It’s just not as clear cut for Swansea. They dispensed with manager Francisco Guidolin at the end of last month and brought in Bob Bradley. The American has had two games in charge and come away with one point.
The 3-2 defeat at Arsenal hinted at a more bolder, braver approach but it was hard not to be a little disappointed with the follow up, a dry 0-0 draw against Watford in Wales.
Swansea had chances last week (five shots on target in fact) but poor finishing by the likes of Mike Van Der Hoorn, Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson cost them.
Stoke are 15/14 to win on Monday and that feels about right. They look in a better place than Swansea and arrive here looking for a third straight clean sheet.
There are still question marks around the Welsh side and their new manager and while this might be a great platform to address them I think they’ll struggle to overcome Stoke.
The bet that stands out for me is the 3/1 on Stoke winning by exactly one goal. Swansea only lost by the odd goal at the Emirates earlier in the month and look a lot stodgier under Bradley. This could be a grind of a match for both sides but I’m backing Stoke to edge it and the 3/1 on a narrow victory appeals to me.
Stoke v Swansea – Stoke to win by exactly one goal (3/1 Marathon Bet)