SWANSEA swept past a poor Stoke City, but the priceless three points still leave them in the relegation zone as Hull and Bournemouth both won.
Goals from Fernando Llorente and Tom Carroll, his first for the club, were enough for Paul Clement’s side who were far superior to Stoke, who looked like they were on the beach.
Marko Arnoutovic summed up Stoke’s day when he lazily skied his penalty which could get back to the midlands before the team bus.
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Swansea took the leads inside 10 minutes when Gylfi Sigurdsson’s corner found the Llorente with acres of space to head home from close range.
Swansea were by far the better side in the first half, with Stoke boss Mark Hughes showing his frustration watching his lacklustre outfit against the worst defence in the league.
The home side should have doubled their lead when Jordan Ayew forced a good save out of Jack Butland making his return in goal after a year out.
Saido Berahino, 23 Premier League games without a goal, should have opened his account for the Potters when his point blank header was straight at keeper Lukas Fabianski.
Butland had a few nervy moments on his return to action, and spilled a simple free kick on 60 minutes that fell to Federico Fernandez whose shot was blocked by Geoff Cameron.
Stoke were awarded a second half penalty when Xherdan Shaqiri was bundled over in the box by Fernandez and Arnautovic blazed his effort miles over the bar.
The visitors were punished straight away when the Swans went straight down the other end, and Carroll’s long range drive was deflected by Joe Allen and sailed in over Butland to seal the points.
Carroll forced a superb save out of Butland a minute later when he tried again from 25 yards, but the keeper finger tipped his drive wide.
FACTS, STATS, GOALS AND LOLS
- Mark Hughes and Paul Clement showed their faith in their misfiring strikers as Saido Berahino and Fernando Llorente were handed starting places.
- Swansea boss Clement loves a cliché. In his programme notes he tells supporters “no games are easy at this level” – fantastic insight.
- It was great to see Jack Butland back in action. The Stoke keeper made his first start in over a year since breaking his ankle on international duty with England.
- Xherdan Shaqiri showed some outrageous step-overs that drew wolf-whistles from the crowd. If only he could have supplied the right cross at the end of it.
- Llorente’s header was as simple as they come. The Stoke defence failed to pick him up and his header comfortably beat Butland.
- Swansea played some neat stuff immediately after that, but the tense home fans quickly got on their players’ backs whenever they misplaced a pass.
- Berahino should have pulled Stoke level in the 31st minute but his header from six yards was hopelessly wide.
- He missed another sitter too, this one was even closer as his tame header was easy for Lukasz Fabianski.
- Peter Crouch also squandered a few chances for Stoke to leave boss Hughes furious on the touchline.
- Marko Arnautovic’s penalty miss was a shocker. He ballooned over the bar from the spot after Shaqiri was fouled by Federico Fernandez yards.
- Tom Carroll’s goal for Swansea was a belter. Hit from 30-yards that took a deflection off Joe Allen and looped over Butland.
Manchester United (A) April 20
Everton (H) May 6
Sunderland (A) May 13
West Brom (H) May 21
West Ham (H) Apr 29
Bournemouth (A) May 6
Arsenal (H) May 13
Southampton (A) May 21
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
Swansea: Fabianksi 7, Naughton 6, Fernandez 7, Mawson 7,Kingsley 6, Fer (Ki, 20,6), Britton 7, (Baston 85,5), Carroll 8, Ayew 7, Llorente 7(Van der Hoorn 58,6), Sigurdsson 7
Subs not used:Nordfeldt,Roberts, Montero, Narsingh.
Goals:Llorente and Carroll
Booked:Tom Carroll, Kyle Naughton
Stoke: Butland 6, Johnson 6, Shawcross 6, Martins Indi, Pieters 6, Shaqiri 6, Cameron 7, Allen 6, Arnautovic 6 (Diouf 84,6) , Berahino 5 (Ramadan 76), Crouch 6.
Subs not used: Grant, Bardsley, Muniesa, Whelan, Adam,
STAR MAN -TOM CARROLL
WHAT THEY SAID
Swansea manager Paul Clement speaking to Match of the Day: “I am very proud of the team today. ”
“I thought it was a must win game and Hull have won and it was absolutely right.”
“If the gap had gone to five points with four to play the task would have been very difficult.”
“Nothing changed between us and Hull but what has changed is we have got momentum now.”
“We played terrific, we rode our luck but overall deserved to win and can look forward.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes speaking to Match of the Day: “We made it difficult for ourselves. If you are away you have got to make sure you are in the game and don’t concede early.”
“We hadn’t got going. At 1-0 for the most part we were OK but clearly the game has changed on missing the penalty – if we could get back on terms who knows?”
“We need to be better at managing the game and affecting the opposition.”