It’s back to the bread and butter reality of the Premier League for Swansea who will undoubtedly be on a high after their Capital One Cup triumph last Sunday. It will be their first outing since thrashing Bradford 5-0 at Wembley and pits them against a resurgent Newcastle side. Soberingly for the Swans their trophy triumph has glossed over a run of two wins in the last six league matches that has put their ambitions of a top-half finish in danger. But with outside distractions now gone Michael Laudrup will be compelling his side to focus their efforts on pushing for the top-six. With the goal threat of top scorer Michu anything is possible for the South Wales club and they will be hoping to make home advantage count and do the double over the Tyneside club.
That being said the Magpies have been excellent in the last month with their new French signings signalling an upturn in form that has seen them take nine points from the last available 12. With significant daylight now between them and the relegation zone Alan Pardew’s men can start looking up rather than down and travel to the Liberty Stadium as one of the form teams in the division. Last season they recorded an impressive 2-0 victory against Swansea thanks to a Papiss Cisse brace but might have to settle for a point this time round owing to the fact they’ve won just once on the road this term and their hosts will be riding the crest of a wave after their cup success.
Chico Flores is out for Swansea so either Garry Monk or Kyle Bartley will partner captain Ashley Williams in central defence. Michael Vorm (flu) should start in goal.
Newcastle could hand a first Premier League start to Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa with Fabricio Coloccini struggling with a back injury. Hatem Ben Arfa is fit to return but only as a substitute
What the managers said…
“I still think we could at least arrive [at] 50 points. I think we have to do a little better than last season, to do better than 11th. We are ninth – we would like to stay there. That means 13 points more in 11 games. That should be possible. I admit we have some very very difficult games out there. We have to compete otherwise we could lose most of them. We’ve been competitive the whole season apart from Liverpool and two or three half matches. We can’t stop doing that now.” Reaching 50 points is the target Michael Laudrup has set for Swansea to reach before the season ends (BBC Sport)
“Tomorrow is a big game for us because we’re more competitive than where we were. We’re a much stronger team. We would probably need to beat Swansea to catch them in the league so it’s a good game for us. Probably if they don’t lose to us it’d be difficult to catch them (in ninth) but what we should be thinking about is winning there and trying to get them in our sights. It’s easier said than done, of course.” Alan Pardew wants his Newcastle side to maintain their recent form and catch Swansea in the table (The Journal)
Pre-Match Statistic: From the 31 league games contested by both sides Newcastle have won 18 times to Swansea’s nine.
Prediction: Swansea City 2-2 Newcastle United