Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Stoke 2 Swansea 0

Two set-pieces, two headed goals. This was classic Stoke City.

Pitting their tall team which specialises in aerial adeptness against skilful – but vertically challenged – players proved unmanageable for Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers. It was not a day to cherish for the purist, nor Swansea’s debutant goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel, who struggled to cope.

At least there was one heart-warming sub-plot as Matthew Upson, hampered by injury problems in recent years, managed his first goal since scoring in England’s 2010 World Cup defeat against Germany.

He netted the opener for Stoke against the run of play after Swansea had made the better start. The Welsh club had sliced through Stoke’s defence in the second minute and should have taken the lead but Scott Sinclair skied over, near the penalty spot, following Nathan Dyer’s inviting cut-back cross.

The home side’s response was predictable – aggressive and aerial – but their key players were looking surprisingly sluggish despite being rested for the Valencia game. But, as many teams have found out, Stoke do not need to play fluent football to score. Etherington floated over a corner and Upson charged in to power home a header.

So much purposeful running from Swansea, so much diligent pressing off the ball, and yet they were chasing the game. Gylfi Sigurdsson curled over a free-kick in the 26th minute as their frustrations continued. Upson then showed his defensive prowess with a well-timed tackle on Joe Allen when he was poised to shoot after surging forward.

Swansea were re-gaining their confidence at least. But, in came another Stoke set-piece, and they were 2-0 down. This time it was a throw-in from Ryan Shotton, which was met by a Peter Crouch downward header that Tremmel could only push into this own net.

The visitors stuck to their principles in the second half as Dyer cut inside from right and curled wide a 20-yard effort. Those trademark Stoke set-pieces remained an irritant though as Shotton’s long throw was flicked on by Crouch then headed over by Jon Walters inside the six-yard box.

Impressive Upson made another timely block, deflecting over Angel Rangel’s strike, before another familiar sight – Walters missing a close-range chance, this time heading wide at the back post from a deep cross.

As the game drew towards a close, Stoke looked increasingly in command, although goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was forced to push the ball on to his bar in injury time from a Steven Caulker header after Sigurdsson’s free-kick. A run of four successive league losses was over for them and their infamous, winning formula had been re-discovered.

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