Newcastle United v Swansea City – Match Preview
The Magpies’ superb start to the campaign, which saw them go 11 unbeaten, has unravelled in recent weeks with the 4-2 defeat at Norwich last Saturday their third in the last four. After a season of walking the tightrope with deathly thin squad things came to a head at Carrow Road with Alan Pardew going into the fixture without five first team players. Defenders Fabrico Coloccini and Steven Taylor were the two biggest misses with Pardew having to field fullbacks James Perch and Danny Simpson in central defensive positions. The move didn’t pay off for the Geordies as the Canaries took full advantage using their height and physical presence to score headed goals from three set pieces. The loss of Dan Gosling following his red card was another bitter blow for Newcastle who have performed admirably in the last month or so against both Manchester clubs and Chelsea. However a draw at Old Trafford is all they have to show for their efforts and they’ll be determined to get back to winning ways on Saturday. Goals haven’t been hard to come by with free transfer Demba Ba scoring twice in East Anglia to take his tally to 11 in 10 games whilst Yohan Cabaye has proved to be a beacon of creativity in midfield. Pardew will be expecting his side to go out and dominate from kick off against a Swansea side who have yet to register a victory away from the Liberty Stadium.
Brendan Rodgers’ men recorded their first win since the end of October against Fulham on Saturday – a run of four games. The Welsh club have started their debut campaign in the Premier League very well losing just the once at home but it’s their away form that is proving to be a big concern for supporters. They have picked up only two points from their eight fixtures on the road and need to start winning on their travels if they are to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle in 2012. Whilst they do lie 11th in the table they are only five points separating them and third bottom Wigan and with teams below them starting to pick up more points Rodgers should be ensuring his side are hard to beat away from home. They’ve conceded 18 in their seven games away from the Liberty Stadium scoring six and come up against a Newcastle side who have seen their defence decimated in the last fortnight. The likes of Scott Sinclair, Nathan Dyer, Danny Graham and former Magpie Wayne Routledge will be crucial to leaving Tyneside with some points under their belts and will be expected to punish a weakened Geordie back four. Michael Vorm will be equally as important and fans will be hoping he can repeat his heroics from last week in the North East and keep the black and white shirts at bay.
Newcastle – 7th
Last Five: Lost 4-2 v Norwich (A), Lost 3-0 v Chelsea (H), Drew 1-1 v Manchester United (A), Lost 3-1 v Manchester City (A), Won Everton 2-1 (H)
Potential Starting X11: 26. T. Krul 3. D. Santon 6. M. Williamson 2. F. Coloccini [C] 5. D. Simpson 18. J. Gutierrez 16. R. Taylor 4. Yohan Cabaye 25. G. Obertan 23. S. Ameobi 19. D. Ba*
Injury News: Newcastle are still without key players Steven Taylor, Danny Guthrie, Sylvain Marveaux and Cheick Tiote who will miss the visit of Swansea
Key Player: Demba Ba
The former West Ham striker who moved to Tyneside on a free in the summer is fast becoming the bargain of the season after his double at Norwich last week took him to 11 in 10 games for Newcastle. Ba has everything the Geordies crave in a striker with his work rate, aerial strength and deadly finishing endearing him to the St James’ Park faithful. He’ll be expected to continue his hot streak in front of goal against Swansea on Saturday.
Match Fact: Newcastle will be looking to continue their good form against Swansea in their first Premier League meeting having won three out of the last four against the Welsh side.
Swansea – 11th
Last Five: Won 2-0 v Fulham (H), Lost 4-2 v Blackburn (A), Drew 0-0 v Aston Villa (H), Lost 1-0 v Manchester United (H), Drew 0-0 v Liverpool (A)
Potential Starting X11: 1. M. Vorm 27. A. Richards 2. A. Williams 16. G. Monk [C] 3. N. Taylor 27. M. Gower 15. W. Routledge 7. L. Britton 12. N. Dyer 11. S. Sinclair* 16. L. Lita
Injury News: Rodgers is without leading scorer Danny Graham for the visit of Fulham whilst Angel Rangel remains out.
Key Player: Michael Vorm
A relative unknown until his stunning debut for the club against Manchester City the Dutch keeper is fast becoming a cult hero in Wales. Vorm was imperious last week against Fulham saving a penalty and pulling off a number of astonishing match winning saves to ensure his side ended the game with all three points. He’ll have to be at his best this time round against a free scoring Newcastle side.
Match Fact: Swansea haven’t won at St James’ Park since a 2-1 victory back in October 1980 when both sides were battling it out in the Old Division Two
Last Time at St James’ Park
Championship 28 November 2009
Newcastle 3-0 Swansea
Harewood (8, 28) Lovenkrands (21)
Despite losing three out of the last four Newcastle haven’t let their confidence drop and would have walked away from Norwich last week victorious if they had a full strength team out. They take on a Swansea side desperate to put points on the board over christmas to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle during the new year. It’ll be a tough ask to beat the Magpies at St James’ Park with Pardew’s men focused on getting back to winning ways.