Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea.
Date: Fri 6th Apr 2012.
Referee: Howard Webb.
It’s off to Wales this weekend and it’s to play a team that has been praised for their footballing style and one which looks easily assured of their place in the Premier League at the end of this season. I think we’ll have to play well to beat Swansea at the Liberty and I reckon this will be a hard-fought game from which we might be pleased with a point in the end.
We are however in ascendancy and have a certain amount of momentum with us. I can see no good reason why Alan Pardew would change the 4-3-3 formation we’ve played with success in recent weeks and I wouldn’t be surprised if he puts out a similar team to the one we played on Sunday. If Perch and Williamson can again put in the sort of performance they did last Sunday we should be pretty solid at the back despite being without both our first choice centre-backs. There are however doubts over the fitness of both Perch and Guthrie, so a certain amount of reshuffling may be necessary.
If we play the flowing football we’ve managed in recent weeks this could be a great game to watch and I reckon it could easily see 4 or 5 goals.
Swansea manager Brendon Rodgers is currently the subject of speculation as the man to replace Harry Redknapp at Spurs if Redknapp should be the next England manager, although Swansea insist he’s not going anywhere of course. Rodgers, however, intimated that he might be when he said:
“Swansea will be successful when I go. The most important thing is the club will have continued success because of their common sense approach which we’ve seen over their recent history.“
Either way, I doubt this will detract from their performance on the weekend. Swansea have only lost 3 at home all season so we’ll have our work cut out.
Swansea come into the this on the back of two straight defeats to Spurs (away) and Everton (home), but up until those two games they were in fine form beating Fulham and Wigan away and Man City at home. Overall this season they’ve won 10, draw 9 and lost 12 but they’ve only lost 3 matches at home (and won 6 and drawn 6 too).
We of course are flying high with wins against Liverpool, West Brom and Norwich, although our away form in the last 6 isn’t spectacular having won only 2 of them (West Brom, Blackburn) and lost the other 4 (Arsenal, Spurs, Fulham, Liverpool).
|Last 6 League Games||Pts|
|Swansea – All Games||L||W||W||W||L||L||9/18|
|Newcastle – All Games||D||D||L||W||W||W||11/18|
|Swansea – Home||D||W||D||L||W||L||8/18|
|Newcastle – Away||L||L||W||L||L||W||6/18|
There’s precious little history between Newcastle and Swansea in the Premier League years and we’ve only played them once, which was the 0-0 draw at St James’ Park earlier this season.
We did of course play them in out Championship season beating them 3-0 at home (Harewood (2) and Lovenkrands) and drawing 1-1 away (Carroll for us, Cotterill for them).
I can’t find any stats for fixtures outside the Premier League but, for the historians reading, I did find this little gem where we beat them 3-0 in a 3rd round FA Cup match in 1953: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/newcastle-v-swansea. We lost 3-1 at home to Rotherham in the next round!
Nathan Dyer is back in contention for a place and Steven Caulker – who was ineligible for the Spurs game – will be back. Frerrie Bodde is out with a knee injury and Kenny Agustien is out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury but otherwise Swansea are looking fairly fit.
Swansea (from): Vorm, Williams, Taylor, Caulker, Tate, Britton, Graham, Sinclair, Dyer, Routledge, Monk, McEachran, Lita, Moore, Bessone, Rangel, Situ, Allen, Tremmel, Gower, Richards, Sigurdsson, Obeng.
Ones to watch out for are Iceland’s Gylfi Sigurdsson, currently on loan to Swansea for 1899 Hoffenheim, who has 6 goals in 11 league games for the Swans and scored last weekend in their defeat at White Hart Lane. Danny Graham is their top scorer with 10 league goals in 25 and Leon Britton usually does a good job of running things from midfield.
We could find ourselves up against ex-Toon winger Wayne Routledge too of course.
Danny Guthrie went off against Liverpool last weekend after pulling his calf but might be in contention for a starting place. All Pardew has had to say on it is “we’ll have to see“. Apparently Perch picked up a knock in the last game too and he is also doubtful, and Vuckic picked up an injury in training that will rule him out.
Otherwise our injury list is pretty much as it was for the last game: Steve Taylor is still 3 months away from fitness and Peter Lovenkrands 2 months. Colo could be back for the Bolton game on Monday but it’s more likely his hamstring injury will need until the Stoke game on 21st April to properly mend. Sammy Ameobi needs over a month and Leon Best is still out for some undetermined length of time as far as I can establish. Silvain Marveaux is allegedly only a matter of days away from fitness though, which might give Alan Pardew a further option after Easter.
James Taverier has been recalled from loan at MK Dons, so he may be in contention too, possibly as a stand-in for Perch in central defence if Perch isn’t fit in time.
Newcastle (from): Krul, Elliot, Simpson, R Taylor, Santon, Tavernier, Ferguson, Perch(?), Williamson, Kadar, Cabaye, Tiote, Guthrie(?), Obertan, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Gosling, Abeid, Shola Ameobi, Ba, Cisse.
What The Managers Say
At the time of writing I couldn’t find a quote from Brendon Rodgers but Swansea’s Nathan Dyer had this to say about us:
“They have really impressed this season.
“They have some very good players there and maybe they’ve caught some people by surprise.
“But we took a point at their place earlier in the season and we’re determined to get something from this game after two losses, so it should be a very good game to watch.“
Ahead of the game, Alan Pardew has had this to say about things:
“We’ve got momentum and that is the most important thing for us.
“We go to the next game, set up the next game and that is a very important ingredient of what we have done this year. Hopefully all our fans can get down to Swansea safely and hopefully we can put in a performance that warrants that journey.
“And if we get a performance there then we have got two good home games after that.
“Swansea play a different system, a different way and it will be different questions asked of us, but that’s what we’ve been good at.
“We’ve been asked all sorts of questions – Stoke, Manchester United, and now we go to Swansea who keep the ball, stretch the pitch, keep the ball away from you for long periods.
“But with the players we’ve got we can still hurt them when we get it, and that’s what we are trying to achieve.”
And about Ben Arfa he said:
“I’m highly delighted with Hatem, and he should be highly delighted himself.
“He’s had to be patient. I’ve been drilling things into him about the responsibilities in this team.
“Then he’s had to bring his flair. He’s doing his responsibilities, and he’s showing his amazing ability.“
Regarding Colo’s injury status he said:
“I spoke to Coloccini this morning and he’s going to give himself a good chance for Bolton, and try and concentrate on being fit for that. He isn’t going to be far away so if he doesn’t play it’s probably going to be me deciding it’s too risky rather than him. Knowing him, he’ll want to play.“
Howay The Lads!