Former Blackburn Rovers and Reading striker Jason Roberts has backed Swansea City to beat Premier League rivals Stoke City 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium on Monday night.
It’s primed to be an intriguing battle consisting of two contrasting styles, where Swansea will look to dominate possession while Stoke will be keen to remain compact and counter at speed.
Having played under Mark Hughes at Blackburn, Roberts has given his verdict on how the Potters will approach the game in their bid to claim a third successive league win.
"When we played against a side that we knew would dominate possession, the one thing we would be working on on the training ground is incisive counterattacking football," he explained.
"That is something I believe Stoke will be dependent on in this game."
Stoke have plenty of pace and creativity in forward areas with the likes of Bojan, Xherdan Shaqiri and Ibrahim Affelay but questions will be asked of their ability to defend.
Swansea head into the encounter winless in four but they’re formidable in South Wales, boasting a four-game unbeaten run with solid wins over Manchester United and Newcastle included.
When asked to stick his neck out and make a prediction, Roberts suggested the hosts will take a narrow win but made a key point in how crucial the opening goal will be in regards to the pattern of play.
I fancy Swansea for a 2-1 win they will dominate possession..if they score first Stoke will @lapazenglish have to abandon counter attacking— Jason Roberts (@JasonRoberts30) octubre 18, 2015
Importance of the opening goal:
Stoke’s hopes of achieving a positive result at the Liberty Stadium may rest on their ability to score first, remain compact and use pace on the counter to really hurt the Swans.
Aside from their win over Manchester United, Swansea’s record of overturning losing positions into victories isn’t particularly great and they can be flustered when facing an organised defence.
However, scoring first will force Stoke to come out and look for an equaliser and this is where the hosts can play through their opponents and thrive on the space available.
Garry Monk’s men will be keen to break their winless streak and retrieve their confidence ahead of a run of winnable fixtures against the likes of Aston Villa, Norwich City and Bournemouth.