Swansea City vs Newcastle United: when the birds clash
The Swans and the Magpies will battle it out at the Liberty stadium on Saturday. Swansea’s slick game-play under Michael Laudrup coupled with the returning flock of talent from the doctor’s table on the Newcastle side should liven things up. So don’t expect this to be much of aerial duel.
Swansea will be back to Premier League action for the first time since clinching the Capital One Cup last week at Wembley, their first major trophy in 100 years. While Newcastle will be hoping to catch them after their cup hangover.
Last time these two teams met at the Liberty, Newcastle’s then new signing Papiss Cisse was “in the zone” and produced two magnificent finishes to secure all three points for Newcastle. Cisse, however couldn’t get involved in the tie earlier this season as he was under international red tape where Swansea ran out 2-1 winners. It was the turn of another new signing to stamp his authority as Michu took St. James’ Park by storm and was unlucky to score only once.
The Capital One Cup triumph would have greatly buoyed Swansea but they soon have to get back to ground. Taking the 5 goal drubbing away to Liverpool in which they fielded a second string team out of the picture, the only good result against a worthy opponent was the 4-1 mauling handed out to Queens park Rangers.
Failing to score a goal in 4 of their past 6 games shows exactly where the problem lies. Then again they scored 9 in the other two. However, it mostly depends on the influence Michu has on the game.
Newcastle’s away form has been dismal this season with a solitary win away from St. James’ Park. This is a much changed side from the last time these two sides have met. The influx of new French faces has added both quality as well as depth into the team. The recent results would give Alan Pardew confidence going into the game. 4 wins out of the last six with the only loss coming at the hands of a rampaging Gareth bale shows the strides that the side has made in recent weeks. But with a force of nature like Moussa Sissoko in the side, the side has gained momentum and they are now not afraid to play their game.
Neil Taylor is out for the season with ankle trouble. Chico Flores, who would be the automatic choice for partnering Ashley Williams at the back is suffering from a niggling ankle injury.
First XI (Probable): Vorm; Rangel, Bartley, Williams (Capt), Davies; Britton, de Guzman; Dyer, Routledge, Hernandez; Michu.
Subs (from): Tremmel (GK), Tiendalli, Monk, Agustien, Ki, Lamah, Moore, Shechter.
The Geordies are likely to be without their influential captain Fabricio Coloccini who hurt his back last game, trying to make an acrobatic clearance. But the January signings mean that they have a French international to replace him at the back in the form of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Also missing in action would be Dutch and Newcastle no.1 Tim Krul, who is due to miss a month’s action owing to an ankle injury.
Hatem Ben Arfa‘s inclusion in the squad also looks unlikely as Pardew is not happy with his fitness levels as of yet. The Toon Army may have to wait another to see the enigmatic Frenchman doing his magic with the ball.
Yohan Cabaye will lead the side if Coloccini doesn’t feature.
FIRST XI (Probable): Elliott; Debuchy, Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Tiote, Cabaye (Capt); Gutierrez, Sissoko, Gouffran; Cisse.
Subs (from): Alnwick (GK), Perch, Anita, Haidara, Simpson, Williamson, Marveaux, Obertan, Ameobi, Golsing, Bigirimana
2- Liverpool and Birmingham City, the two previous champions of the League Cup lost their subsequent Premier League encounters.
3- Moussa Sissoko has already scored 3 times in his four Premier League games.
9- Swansea leads the Premier League in the number of goal-line clearances made by a team.
14- Swansea have failed to record a win in any of the 14 occasions they have gone behind but have lost only two points from leading positions. First goal should be vital.
29- No team has used more player in the league that Newcastle.