Bony double gives Stoke victory over Swansea


Since leaving Swansea, Bony has scored more Premier League goals against them than he has any other side (4)

Stoke claimed a third successive Premier League victory as they overcame a Swansea side still winless since the opening day of the season.

Former Swans striker Wilfried Bony scored his first goal for Stoke before Wayne Routledge headed the visitors level in a frenetic first half that saw the hosts hit the post three times.

The volume of Stoke chances eventually told as visiting defender Alfie Mawson turned Ramadan Sobhi’s shot into his own net, and Bony then nodded in a third after Joe Allen’s shot was saved.

Mark Hughes’ side are now up to 12th in the Premier League table while Swansea, despite some initial signs of improvement, remain second from bottom and five points from safety.

It was a galling evening for the visitors, who had the chance to re-sign their former midfielder Allen from Liverpool in the summer.

Instead it is with Stoke he is enjoying the most prolific season of his career, his two assists on this occasion adding to the four goals he had scored in his previous four appearances for the club.

A fifth match unbeaten represents an impressive transformation from Stoke, whose dismal start to the season had left them at the foot of the table after five games.

Relive Stoke’s win over Swansea

Stoke’s former Swans strike

One thing missing from Stoke’s revival until now was a goal for Bony, so there was a sense of fate to the way the striker on loan from Manchester City put the Potters ahead against his former club.

Another former Swan, midfielder Allen, provided the assist with a half-volley from a half-cleared corner – an example of the visitors’ ragged defending that was symptomatic of a frantic start to the game.

Bob Bradley’s side were overrun by their dominant opponents, for whom Charlie Adam twice hit the post with shots outside the penalty area.

Marko Arnautovic did the same after rounding Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, but the visitors’ narrow escapes merely felt like delaying the inevitable.

Stoke’s pressure was unrelenting and, after substitute Ramadan wriggled past Swansea’s hesitant defenders and forced Mawson into an own goal, it was left to Bony to nod in from close range after more good work from Allen to seal victory and score against Swansea for a second successive season.

Allen’s performance saw him provide two assists in a Premier League game for the first time, while Bony scored for the first time since Boxing Day, having gone 23 games for club and country without a goal.

Bradley’s tall order

Swansea’s slump of nine matches without victory is their worst since their 2011 promotion to the Premier League.

There were hints of improvement in Bradley’s first two games in charge, a 3-2 defeat at Arsenal and a goalless draw at home to Watford.

He will also have been encouraged by his team’s initially spirited response to the torrential Stoke pressure – but Swansea’s defects remain.

They were porous in defence and weak in midfield, where Ki Sung-yueng and Leroy Fer offered precious little resistance against their vibrant opponents.

Lone striker Fernando Llorente led the line willingly enough but he and substitute Borja Baston were starved of service – characteristically for a Swansea team with just nine goals from 10 Premier League games this season.

Man of the match – Joe Allen

Wales midfielder Allen is relishing his new advanced role and, whether it was with his incisive passing or darting runs into the box, the former Liverpool player tormented his boyhood club

What they said:

Stoke manager Mark Hughes: “I was frustrated at times because we had all manner of chances to put the game to bed.

“Wilfried Bony – it was always likely to happen. It was written in the stars tonight and it happens so often. He and Joe Allen have been excellent since they came here.

“Joe Allen is an outstanding footballer. He has that knack of anticipating where the ball is going to land and that is why I have pushed him further forwards.”

Swansea boss Bob Bradley: “We had some good stretches but, overall, we lack confidence and in key moments we were second best.

“There is no easy solution to getting confidence back. When you are going through a bad stretch you have to have belief. It was 1-1 at half-time but we didn’t start the second half in a way that suggested we could win the game.

“It can be given as a penalty [for Routledge], it continued in to the box. The referee could have stood by his original decision.”

The stats you need to know

  • Stoke scored three goals in a Premier League match for the first time since February (vs Bournemouth), while they have now netted two or more goals in three straight league games for the first time since November 2010.
  • Swansea have lost four consecutive Premier League away games for the first time since their first ever four games on the road in the competition in 2011.
  • Joe Allen has four goals and two assists in just 10 Premier League games this season – his joint-best haul in a single Premier League season (also four goals and two assists in 2011-12).
  • Wayne Routledge’s goal was his first ever headed goal in the Premier League.
  • Mark Hughes’ side hit the woodwork three times in the first half – the most by one side in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game since Tottenham v Blackburn in April 2012.

What next?

Stoke face a trip to West Ham for a 15:00 GMT kick-off on Saturday, 5 November, while Swansea are at home to Manchester United at 15:00 GMT a day later.

Source link