Swansea City-Newcastle United Preview
LONDON (SE) - Newcastle United will be seeking to rediscover the form that led them to fifth place and a Europa League slot last season when they face Swansea City at St James Park on Saturday.
At this stage of the campaign last season, Newcastle were undefeated, winning seven times and totaling 25 points. This season they have three wins, three losses and eleven fewer points in the same span of games. The Magpies' 1-0 loss to West Ham last weekend was their second of the season on Tyneside, in contrast to 2011-12 when they didn't lose a third home match until May.
Midfielder Yohan Cabaye believes there is not a great difference in the standard of his side's play, but that they just haven't had the breaks so far.
"It has not been bad, but it has not been good enough either," Cabaye told the club website. "We have played well but we can play better than we have done. Every game has been tough and we have had a lot of injuries and suspensions.
"It seems like every game we are missing a big player for one reason or another. That has made things difficult but we need to keep our confidence and keep working hard, because if we stop working then it will be very difficult to get up towards the top of the league again."
The trend of missing key players may continue on Saturday. Newcastle revealed that Senegal are considering petitioning FIFA to prevent Papiss Demba Cisse from taking part after he missed their friendly with Niger due to a back injury. The international governing body have a rule preventing apparently injured players turning out for their club within five days of missing an international game. The match Cisse missed took place on Wednesday.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has not been fooled by United's stuttering start to the season and still sees them as a very dangerous opponent.
"They are a strong team," Laudrup told the club website. "And following their defeat to West Ham last weekend they will want to put on a good performance. It is a similar situation to when we played Southampton last weekend. They needed a win and we knew what to expect, and it will be the same on Saturday.
"It makes it a little more difficult for us but I hope we can play like we did in the first half at St Mary's but create a few more chances. Newcastle will want to put on a good display for the fans and we need to be prepared and make sure we are at our best to try and get something from the game."
Swansea were dealt a blow that with the news that midfielder Ki Sung Yeung will miss the match with hamstring injury. While goalkeeper Michael Vorm is also still out (groin), Danny Graham (back) and Chico Flores (thigh) are both in line for a return. Leroy Lita is back with the club after his loan to Birmingham was cut short due to an injury.
Newcastle took four points from Swansea in the first ever top-flight meetings between the sides last season. After a 0-0 draw at St James Park where Swansea won the possession battle yet failed to hit a single shot on target, Cisse scored twice at the Liberty Stadium to give the Magpies a 2-0 victory in the return.
Newcastle has dominated this fixture all-time, winning 22 of 36 total meetings. They've won nine of 15 league meetings at St James Park (three draws, three losses), outscoring the Swans 37-14 in those games. Swansea last won at Newcastle in October 1980, which is also the last time they scored there.