Swansea V Newcastle at Liberty Stadium : Match Preview

02 March 2013 08:52
Swansea V Newcastle - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Ki set for central role

Michael Laudrup is set to return Ki Sung-yueng to his regular midfield role for Swansea's Premier League meeting with Newcastle.

The Korean played at centre-half in the Capital One Cup final win over Bradford, but Kyle Bartley or Garry Monk will partner Ashley Williams against the Magpies.

Michel Vorm is likely to return in goal if he can shake off the flu while Neil Taylor is getting closer to a return from a broken ankle.

Swansea enjoyed a 2-1 victory at St James' Park in October, a result which helped give them a momentum which has barely let up since, reaching a new high at Wembley last time out.

Newcastle, meanwhile, were in the midst of a miserable run which saw them take just two wins from 14 league games and fall into a relegation battle.

But three wins in the last four have eased the worrying on Tyneside, with Alan Pardew's French contingent of January signings making a big impression.

And Vorm has no doubt Swansea will be facing a much stronger side on this occasion.

"We had a great win at Newcastle earlier in the season, although I had to watch it on TV because of my injury," he said.

"I think they are a stronger team now with the signings they've made and it's going to be a tough test. It's going to be a very open game, but we are strong at home and we are all want the victory after they beat us here last season.

"After the euphoria of the cup win last week, we are all looking forward to it."

Newcastle could be without captain Fabricio Coloccini.

The Argentinian hurt his back during Sunday's 4-2 win over Southampton and is struggling to be fit for the trip to south Wales. January signing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa could take over at the back.

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot will continue to deputise for Tim Krul, who is expected to be sidelined for up to five weeks by the ankle injury he suffered at Metalist Kharkiv last week, while winger Hatem Ben Arfa may travel despite being short of match fitness after recovering from a hamstring tear which has ruled him out since December 10.

The Magpies will run out at the Liberty Stadium sitting six points clear of the bottom three and having booked a Europa League last 16 clash with big-spending Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala - they play the first leg in Moscow next Thursday evening - as a result of their marked improvement.

But perhaps more importantly, they are once again playing the kind of football which fuelled their return to prominence last season, and that is a source of excitement for their manager.

Boss Alan Pardew said: "We are much more aggressive in our play. We have tried to be aggressive all year, even with teams that perhaps didn't have the quality to play that way.

"We have always played on the front foot, as Manchester United and Arsenal proved, but ultimately, we didn't have enough to win those two games.

"I always enjoy it, but you don't want to have defeats. I don't like any time when we lose and we have had some tough weeks when I was looking at the squad and knew it wasn't good enough, not strong enough.

"It's difficult to go into games like that, so it's been nice this last few weeks to have a strong squad - strong enough - and not only that, but get results on top of that as well because it doesn't always go hand-in-hand.

"Your squad comes together, but it takes a while for it to click into gear. Fortunately, we almost hit the ground running when the new guys arrived."

Source: PA