Stoke City-Swansea City Preview
It's now or never for Swansea City, who desperately need to find a way to collect some positive results if they want to avoid relegation.
That quest continues Saturday against Stoke City.
Manager Paul Clement seemed to have guided the Swans (8-4-21) back to a level respectability over the winter months, but they currently are amid an 0-1-5 Premier League stretch.
The Welsh side finds itself at the top of the drop zone, 18th place on 28 points and two from safety with five matches left.
Last time out, the Swans gave a decent account of themselves against Watford at Vicarage Road, but were done in by a lone strike from Etienne Capoue. Despite the loss, Clement emphasised his club will push forward and relish their fight for top-flight survival.
"They know how important this is for the club, for the fans and for the city," Clement said. "The big thing is that the belief is still there. With five games to go, I still believe there are a lot of twists and turns ahead and I still think it will go to the very end.
"The players are up for this fight, 100 percent. I have seen them battling, going at it hammer and tong in training this week. They know how important this game against Stoke is and the intensity in training has been there."
The Swans will be without two key components after midfielder Jack Cork picked up an ankle injury against West Ham United and Wayne Routledge continues to deal with a hernia.
Stoke (10-9-14) are aiming for a second consecutive Premier League win after beating Hull City 3-1 to end a four-game skid. The Potters sit in 11th place on 39 points.
Mark Hughes' men made quick work of Hull last week as Marko Arnautovic netted after just six minutes and Peter Crouch and Xherdan Shaqiri followed with second-half goals. Goalkeeper Jack Butland believes a fourth consecutive top-half finish is well within the team's grasp.
"There is still the belief we can reach our targets and we have the players to do it," Butland expressed. "It's in our own hands and it always has been. The four games before last weekend set us back a little but it's still in our own hands and we now have games that we are more than capable of winning.
"It's down to us and no one else."
Swansea have won just one of their last seven Premier League contests against Stoke, who are looking to win consecutive away league games at Swansea for the first time.
Updated April 20, 2017