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Stoke vs Swansea – Match Preview

Stoke will have been rocked by the news that Jack Butland will be out for the rest of the season and will therefore subsequently miss the EURO 2016 tournament in France this Summer. The question now will be how much impact will that have for Stoke between now and the end of the season.

The injury couldn’t have come at a worse possible time for Mark Hughes as his side bids to snatch the last Europa League place which depending on the F.A. Cup winners may be as high as 6th place. It may be a tall order but it’s going to be an even taller one without Butland between the sticks.

Last time out before the International Break they kept those hopes alive by winning away at Watford in what turned out to be quite a routine win for Mark Hughes side. After going 2-0 up through Jonathan Walters and Joselu they were made to work towards the end when Troy Deeney pulled one back but they had enough to close out the game and go 8th in the Premier League.

They’ll be looking to advance further up the table this Afternoon with a win over a Swansea side that have all but secured the Premier League place for another season. That is thanks to their win in a crucial relegation 6 pointer over Aston Villa before the International Break.

I say crucial but in all fairness it would have been a missed opportunity for Swansea had they not taken all 3 points at The Liberty Stadium. They did thanks in part to a Brad Guzan blunder, they won’t care how the points came about but with them sitting 15th in the table it’s job pretty much done for Francesco Guidolin.

If you believe what you read this week then it’s rumoured that Brendan Rodgers will be returning to take charge of Swansea next season so Francesco Guidolin can walk away from The Liberty Stadium with the objective reached and his head held high.

With Swansea winning 3 out of their last 4 matches the decision by Huw Jenkins to bring in Francesco Guidolin to work alongside Alan Curtis is looking like an inspired one. The last job for Guidolin between now and the end of the season is too make sure his Swansea side don’t put the brake on.

Stoke have got more to play for in this encounter and with home advantage I would make them the favourites, this will be the first glimpse of whether they really miss Jack Butland. That said they should have enough in attack to bag all 3 points. Home win for me.

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