Newcastle look to get back to winning ways when Swansea come to St James’ Park tomorrow for what will be our first home Saturday 3pm kick-off of the season to date.
After a disappointing result compounded by an even more disappointing performance against West Ham last weekend, the pressure is mounting on Alan Pardew and Co to start getting results. It’s been a quiet start to the season in which we’ve pulled up few trees, both in terms of results and performance, but there would perhaps be fewer alarm bells ringing if performances had at least been present even if results had still been hard to come by. The fact is though that they haven’t and that needs to change sooner rather than later.
Yohan Cabaye has been ruled out through injury as has Jonas Gutierrez. James Perch will once again be missing as will Fabricio Coloccini who serves the second of his three game suspension following his red card at Anfield a couple of weeks ago. Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling, Haris Vuckic, and Adam Campbell are also all currently missing through various injuries.
Returning to the fold we have Cheik Tiote who has now finished his three game suspension. He’ll play a part tomorrow no doubt before sitting out the Europa League game next Thursday through….. You’ve guessed it, suspension!
Sammy Ameobi has trained since withdrawing from England U21 duty whilst Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Shane Ferguson and Shola Ameobi have returned from international duty with Holland, Italy, Northern Ireland and Nigeria respectively injury free.
There are question marks over the availability of Papiss Cisse, with Senegal looking to invoke a FIFA rule meaning that he wouldn’t be available for the game tomorrow after United pulled him out of international duty courtesy of a back complaint. Their point of view is that if he is fit to play for Newcastle then he is fit to report for Senegal. No similar issue has been raised over the withdrawal of Demba Ba however.
Ki Sung-Yeung is out with a hamstring problem while former Newcastle target Neil Taylor is a long-term absentee for the Swans. Chico Flores and Danny Graham may return after a dead leg and back problems respectively but there will be no place for Leroy Lita who is lacking in fitness after being recalled from a a loan spell at Birmingham City.
The last time Swansea visited St James’ Park both sides played out a 0-0 stalemate, which to be fair to Swansea isn’t a bad result considering their record against us. You have to go back to October 1980 to find the last time Swansea recorded a win at St James’ Park – a 2-1 victory in the old Second Division.
Overall there have been 36 games between the two sides. Newcastle have won 22 of them compared to just the nine victories for Swansea. We’ve scored 70 goals against them with the Welsh outfit finding the back of our net just 39 times over the years.
It more of a case of who we have available rather than who we can play to be fair. Once again we are down to bare bones which will again take us back to the summer and the wisdom (or lack of?) of not being busier in the transfer market.
Tim Krul will play in goal with Davide Santon at left-back. Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson will once again be paired in the heart of defence, with the former playing captain for the day, while right-back is likely to be filled by Danny Simpson.
Moving up the pitch I’d expect to see Hatem Ben Arfa on the right with Cheik Tiote making a return next to Vurnon Anita in central midfield. Shane Ferguson will probably get the nod on the left in the absence of Jonas Gutierrez.
In attack it will be Demba Ba and Shola Ameobi, or maybe Papiss Cisse if he ends up being available.
That is in a 4-4-2 formation which I think is safe to assume we’ll be using…
Stats and facts…
Swansea have won just one game in the last nine league outings whilst Newcastle have won just one from the last six league games.
Neither side have lost after taking the lead in a match this season.
Swansea have exactly the same amount of points as they did at the same stage last season. Newcastle are 11 points worse of in comparison.
I feel like I’m saying this every week now, but as each week goes by it becomes more important. We need a win to try and get our season going, whether it be a scrappy 1-0 via an 89th minute own goal, or a deserved win based on performance. I’m past caring, I just want three points on the board!
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 17th November, 2012
Time: 3pm (UK time)
Venue: St James’ Park