It will be difficult for Swansea to fully focus on this match having just achieved the biggest success in club’s history, but the Swans need to try and win this game if they are to cement their place in the top half of the standings. Newcastle escaped the danger zone as they hammered Southampton at St James Park, and the Magpies will fancy their chances of getting something from Liberty Stadium.
Glorious Wembley victory
Just five years ago, Swansea were playing their football in the third tier of England’s league system and they have now won the Capitol One Cup, which speaks volumes about club’s journey over the last few years. Shrewd transfer dealings and an excellent choice of managers are the main reasons behind club’s recent success, and the Swans now have a chance to establish themselves as a genuine top table side. Swansea currently occupy 9th place in the standings and they are five points clear of 11th-placed Fulham, but staying there will be no easy task. With in-form Newcastle coming to town, Michael Laudrup’s side is highly unlikely to perform at a high level just six days after the biggest match of the season, as they will struggle to find motivation after ensuring this season ends a success. The Danish manager might decide to make changes to the starting line-up, but that is unlikely to make a big difference.
Key defender Chico Flores is still few weeks away from returning into action, but Neil Taylor has resumed training after a six-month spell on the sidelines.
Newcastle showing character
Following some amazing showings that almost saw Newcastle achieve a top 4 finish last term, it was really disappointing to see the Magpies struggling to escape the danger zone in the opening exchanges. Nevertheless, Alan Pardew’s side were always going to show improvement when they key players returned into action, and with club board helping by making funds available for a number of quality signings in January, the Magpies have started playing to their potential. Hatem Ben Arfa may still be struggling to return to full fitness, but that is not proving to be a problem as the new French contingent shows just how strong Ligue 1 is. With the likes of Cabaye, Sissoko and Debuchi setting the pace, Newcastle have won three of last four Premier League fixtures, while also beating very good Metalist side to the place in Europa League last 16 stage, so you will forgive me for believing they can continue the rich vein of form at Liberty Stadium.
Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini miss out through injury, while Hatem Ben Arfa should be back in contention, but he is unlikely to start.
As I have already pointed out, producing a decent showing just few days after such a big success could prove to be a very difficult task for Swansea, and that is something in-form Newcastle can definitely exploit. The Magpies are on top of their game at the moment and I’m pretty sure they will get at least one point from Liberty.
Top pick: Double chance on Newcastle 1.75 (3/4) @ bet365
Alternative pick 1: Newcastle Draw no bet 2.62 (13/8) @ Coral
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 1.83 (5/6) @ BetVictor
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