After a much needed win over West Ham, a disappointing deadline day followed by the dreaded international break has seen us lose a little bit of momentum, but tomorrow’s trip to Swansea is now upon us, giving Benitez and the boys the perfect chance to put some much needed smiles back on the faces of the fans.
We may, however, be up against it without even kicking a ball, with it looking increasingly likely that Benitez will be forced to sit out the game, having failed to recover in time from an operation earlier in the week.
Benitez is a ‘busy’ manager, often directing his teams from the sidelines. It’s undeniable that his presence and tactical nous would be a big miss, but the players – who look set to be lead by Rafa’s trusted right hand man, Paco Moreno – will be ready to put in a performance on the back of our opening win of the season over West Ham.
Swansea, like us, are coming off the back of their first league win of the season, however Paul Clement’s side, unlike us, have a spring in their step from signings made since then. It’s a big game for us. Losing could be another unwanted reminder of how Ashley’s lack of investment will cost us. A win, however, would install some much needed positivity around the club, showing we can compete with our Premier League rivals on the pitch, despite enduring a summer that suggested we couldn’t off of it.
Hopefully Merino can put in another calm and composed performance, whilst Hayden’s combative style could be key in the potential midfield battle involving a certain Renato Sanches.
Atsu and Ritchie’s effectiveness on the counter will be vital to our threat going forward, but hopefully the pair can continue where they left off after lively performances against West Ham.
Given our tendency to sit deep and look to hit teams on the counter (especially away from home), there will also be a big emphasis on Joselu (who I expect to start) to hold up the ball and bring others into play when we instigate attacks. He did that very well against West Ham so here’s hoping for more of the same tomorrow.
Their capture of Portuguese sensation Renato Sanches is an incredible coup for the club, whilst the return of former marksman Wilfred Bony will have the fans in good spirits. Both are expected to be involved.
Tammy Abraham – who, at one stage, looked all set to join us over the summer – got off the mark for Swansea in their win at Palace last time out. He’s believed to have been quietly impressive during his brief time with them and will be one to keep an eye on.
Click here for a closer look into tomorrow’s opposition, as we’ve been speaking to Swansea fan Seab who gave us his thoughts on NUFC and some insight into his team’s season so far.
Swansea (13th) – Played: 3 / Won: 1 / Drawn: 1 / Lost: 1
Newcastle (14th) – Played: 3 / Won: 1 / Drawn: 0 / Lost: 2
We look to be heading into this one in decent shape, with Florian Lejeune, DeAndre Yedlin and Dwight Gayle all in contention after missing out through injury.
Jonjo Shelvey is back from his ban, however Aleksandar Mitrovic will sit out the first of his 3-game suspension. Chancel Mbemba will miss out after suffering an injury on international duty.
For Swansea, new boy Renato Sanches looks set to make his debut, whilst fellow Deadline Day signing Wilfried Bony is also expected to be feature.
Jordan Ayew – who starred in their 2-0 win at Palace – has won his fitness race, but Kyle Bartley, Nathan Dyer and Ki Sung-yueng will be missing for the Swans.
Newcastle United XI – (4-2-3-1) – Elliot – Manquillo, Lascelles, Lejeune, Clark – Hayden, Merino – Ritchie, Perez , Atsu – Joselu
Swansea City XI – (3-5-2) – Fabianski; van der Hoorn, Mawson, Fernandez; Naughton, Clucas, Carroll, Sanches, Olsson; Ayew, Abraham
I expect a good atmosphere and them to play at a good tempo. We’ll have to be resolute and far more effective going forward than we were in our last away day at Huddersfield.
In Bony and Abraham they carry pretty potent threat up top. Starving them of service and stopping the likes of Renato Sanches could be key.
A repeat of the Huddersfield performance and I expect the outcome to be the same, but replicate the sort of energy and enthusiasm we showed against West Ham and i’m confident we’ll get a result.
Prediction: Swansea 1-1 Newcastle
Howay the lads!