It was a night of ex and current players haunting the travelling Swansea City contingent as they left the Potteries with nothing. Wilfred Bony finally got his name on the score sheet twice, ending a 310-day wait for a goal, with Joe Allen assisting the Ivory Coast striker for both goals.
Swansea went into the break somehow level after a Wayne Routledge header gave the Swans a glimmer of hope. However, it was Stoke City who took the initiative following Swansea’s equaliser, hitting the bar three times in the first half, twice from Charlie Adam, and once from Marko Arnautovic.
Stoke retook the lead on the 55th minute of first half substitute Ramadan Sohbi twisted and turned his man in the box before putting a dangerous goal across the six-yard box which was turned into the net by Swansea centre half Alfie Mawson.
Three in a row
Mark Hughes’ men made this their third victory on the bounce on the eve of the managers’ birthday, giving the now 53-year-old an early birthday present. It was a run of must win games for the Potters who had not registered a win in the opening seven games of the season. But wins against, Sunderland, Hull and Swansea City moves City up into 12th, and in much better season heading into some very winnable fixtures over the next four games.
They had to the London Stadium next week, full of confidence, after scoring two or more in the past three games, and with Bony finally finding his goal scoring boots the travelling fans will be hopeful of celebrating many more.
After chopping and changing with the starting eleven Hughes now looks to have finally a preferred formation and starters, with the only absentee being Geoff Cameron who hyperextended his knee in training during the week. His place was taken in the side by Adam, who was unlucky not to find himself on the score-sheet himself after battering the woodwork.
Adam finds himself as a fans favourite with his willingness to shoot whenever he is in range of the goal, and with his Hollywood passes. However, his addition to the side would of cost Hughes’ side if they were playing against a more talented midfield.
Stoke often found themselves with one midfielder when the Swans were attacking due to either Glenn Whelan or Adam pushing too far up, with neither having the athleticism that Cameron possess to get back into positon quickly, creating holes all over the pitch. Something which the better crop of playmakers in the league would of exploited.
The solution was somewhat simpler. Joe Allen needed to be moved back into the to box position, which has been recently being occupied by Cameron. Therefore, allowing a more natural, out and out attacking midfielder, Bojan, coming in.
After a defence that was leaking goals, to only conceding one in three games is remarkable. This is thanks to the new and ever improving centre back partnership of Ryan Shawcross and on loan Porto defender, Bruno Martins Indi. Since the addition of Indi, Shawcross has been back to his best, forging a partnership that has the potential of rivalling that of Shawcross and fan favourite and title winning centre half, Robert Huth.
Lee Grant also deserves an honourable mention after taking the gloves from Shay Given, and has not looked back since. He’s a man who recognises his opportunity he’s been given and has taken it with both hands, fighting for a permanent contract once his loan ends in January.