Report - Swansea City 3-1 Stoke City
19th January 2013
After Ben Davies opened the scoring for the Swans early in the second half, Jonathan de Guzman netted a brace soon after to give Laudrup's side a pretty comfortably victory against Stoke.
The Swans had chances to take the lead before that in the opening half, but Michu missed a great opportunity to head home Rangel's cross as Stoke struggled to put Vorm into any action.
Michael Laudrup continued to rotate his team to cope with the busy schedule, as they have yet another midweek game up ahead, with the Capital One Cup Semi-Final second leg against Chelsea on Wednesday night. Chico Flores was rested as a precaution which meant Garry Monk returned to captain the side. In Midfield, Leon Britton was left on the bench with Ki starting alongside de Guzman and Michu. Up front, there was a surprise place for Itay Shechter, as Graham sat on the bench due to stomach problems apparently.
The first half was a rather forgetful one as neither side were able to create a decent number of clear cut chances. Ben Davies failed to connect with the ball inside the box, and Michu had his first real off-key game as he failed to find the back of the net from Angel Rangel's perfect cross. The club's top goalscorer got his head to the ball but it fell a yard wide of the post.
Stoke looked surprisingly lethargic, and backed off the hosts, almost inviting them into their own half. There were only spells where they looked willing to push up and pressure them deep in their own half. As a result, they found it easy to dominate possession, and you could see that a win was definitely possible if they could improve some of the play in the final third.
Laudrup's side burst into life early in the second half, and the scores were changed thanks to a superb finish by the young full-back Ben Davies. The teenager has rounded off an impressive debut Premier League campaign with a goal of top quality. Rangel looked to be causing more of a problem down the right flank but Davies benefited from poor defending to work his way past two opposition players before a calm, low finish into the right bottom corner.
It was nothing less than the home side deserved as Stoke looked very ordinary. Peter Crouch might have won the majority of his aerial duals but they were never useful as the Swans simply regained possession and looked to counter quickly.
8 minutes after the opener, Jonathan de Guzman, who was probably the best midfielder on the pitch at this stage, doubled the lead. Charlie Adam conceded a very needless foul 25 yards from goal. de Guzman stepped up and curled a delighted shot over a tall wall and into the top corner. The Stoke goalkeeper left you wondering why he was so far over to one side, almost touching the other post as he simply couldn't get anywhere near the Dutchman's strike.
The lead was looking comfortable but there was still over half an hour on the clock. Vorm wasn't called into action very often as Stoke only managed a few shots off target before half time.
The third goal was the pick of the bunch and demonstrated Swansea's sublime attacking play. The move started from the right back position. Ki then passed the ball up to substitute Graham, who deserves much credit for an exquisite first-time pass on the half volley to put de Guzman through to fire home.
Swansea were unfortunate not to hang on to keep a rare clean sheet as Michael Owen came on to get the slightest touch on a cross to head past Vorm as Ashley Williams failed to make contact.
Manager Michael Laudrup afterwards said the win was perfect preparation for Wednesday's big Cup tie against Chelsea.