That’s exactly what happened on Thursday as Tony Pulis opted to leave several first-team players at home for the trip to Valencia and the Potters manager will now hope that this strategy pays dividends when Swansea arrive at the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke have been sinking down the Premier League table in the past few months and that victory at Ewood Park on 2nd January must seem like a long time ago considering that just one point has been gained from the last five outings.
The home side are a best price 6/5 (Coral free bets) to claim victory although just because they badly need the three points doesn’t mean they are entitled to them. The simple fact is that Stoke have won just four of their twelve matches at the Brit.
Swansea took a while to claim their first away win of the season, although Brendan Rodgers’ team have scored away wins at West Brom and Aston Villa since the turn of the year and odds of 14/5 (Stan James £150 free bets) do seem big about another three point raid in the Midlands.
The reverse fixture saw the Swans claim a 2-0 win at the Liberty Stadium and Danny Graham hasn’t looked back since netting in that match, with the 26-year-old having racked up 12 goals for the Welsh side this term. He is an 8/1 chance (Paddy Power bookmaker) to score first in this game.
Stoke need to get back to basics after a series of poor results and that starts with a clean sheet and any kind of win to stop the rot. Ladbrokes offer 6/1 that the home side win by a 1-0 scoreline.