Our first away trip of the season will see us visit the Liberty Stadium – home to Swansea City – following on from the 2-2 opening day draw with Southampton.
The match last week, while entertaining and rather positive in terms of the way we approached the game in an attacking sense, still highlighted the same issues that blighted us last season. That being a rather ropey defensive unit although I do see signs in Chancel M’Bemba that he could turn out to be a very good central defender. It’s early days though so let’s just see how it pans out first.
While our draw was fair it was at home to Southampton who are a good side, however the draw the Swans managed at Stamford Bridge is a rather more notable achievement. They’ve played in a certain way for a good for years now going to back to before they arrived in the Premier League, but they are building on it each year and continue improving aided by Garry Monk who played for the Swans back in the day when their current philosophy was introduced to the side.
The home side have very few injury concerns to contend with as manager Garry Monk has a near fully fit squad to choose from. Ki Sung-Yeung is the only injury doubt after limping off in the match against Chelsea and it is touch and go whether he will be risked given the fact that a hamstring injury was sustained. Jordi Amat in in contention to play after recovering from a broken metatarsal.
United do have a few absentees with Emmanuel Riviere looking to be the longest term to date after undergoing cartilage surgery. Remy Cabella and Paul Dummett are both now back in training but are unlikely to feature this time around.
One surprise face that could continue his role in the team is Vurnon Anita. The more open-eyed fan will have noticed that our performance dropped off when he left the field of play on a stretcher last weekend so to see him back and in line to resume his role in the team is quite pleasing. Hopefully he can build on a positive start to the season.
The other area up for discussion is the striking berth. We saw both sides of Papiss Cisse last weekend with wayward passes balanced out by an ability to find the back of the net but at some point he is likely to have to relinquish his role to Aleksandar Mitrovic. However I don’t think that will be tomorrow and while Cisse is scoring then there is no need to drop him in my opinion.
Our recent record against the Swans is woeful with no wins in the last six meeting between the sides and only one point gained in that time. You have to go back to April 2012 – a 2-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium – to fins our last recorded win against Garry Monk’s side.
However historically we do have the edge still although that gap is narrowing. At Swansea a total of 18 games have been played with United winning nine, Swansea winning seven with two draws to make up the rest. Overall, home and away in all competitions, there have been 37 meetings with Newcastle winning 19, Swansea 13 and five draws.
Facts and stats:
Swansea have picked up more Premier League points against Newcastle than they have managed against any other side.
Only one player has scored in the Premier League for Newcastle at the Liberty Stadium. That man is Papiss Cisse who has bagged four goals on his visits to Swansea.
Newcastle used just one English player (Jack Colback) on the opening weekend of the season, the fewest of all Premier League sides.
Swansea lost their last home game (last season against Manchester City). They have never lost back-to-back home league games under Garry Monk.
It’s another tough game, one that I’m not expecting too much out of if I’m being completely honest. Swansea showed against Chelsea that they are capable and, despite being labelled as ‘deluded’, I’m sure most of us will admit that we’re not at the same level as Chelsea.
That being said, anything can happen on a given day and you never quite know what to expect. Against Southampton we were good in spells and really turned the screw before running out of steam and in the end we were lucky that one of those late chances that fell to the Saints wasn’t put away. If we can take the good bits of the performance last weekend through into this match and leave the bad stuff behind then who knows?
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 15th August, 2015
Venue: The Liberty Stadium, Swansea