Swansea City v Newcastle Utd Fri 16:30
In what is a rare Friday night showing of a Premier League match, Swansea City and Newcastle United will kick off this weekend’s action when the Magpies travel to the Liberty Stadium to take on the Swans, as Paddy Power offer value looking odds on the Toon to take all the points.
Alan Pardew’s side go into the fixture knowing that European qualification is still a possibility for his side and with Everton some ten points adrift in seventh, a top six finish now seems just about tied up.
Newcastle are enjoying a three-match winning streak at the moment having most recently beaten Liverpool last weekend and with the Tynesiders attack looking as potent as ever, Swansea’s sterling home defence are bound to be in for a tough examination this week.
Papiss Demba Cissé continued his fine scoring form against the Merseysiders by netting both goals in the 2-0 victory but stars such as Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba were also on hand to contribute when needed.
James Perch was more of a defensive highlight for the North East outfit and after picking up a knock in training during the week, looks set to return to the starting line-up with Fabricio Collocini still out with a tear in his hamstring.
One centre-back set to feature for the hosts will be Steven Caulker who has been a key talking point in the media this week regarding the youngster’s future in the English top flight.
Caulker has attracted great praise during his loan spell in Wales and despite claims that Swansea are keen to gain his services on a permanent basis, the defender says that he would be looking to fight for his spot at parent club, Tottenham Hotspur.
Spirits would be understandably low in the Swansea camp given the two-match losing run the side are currently but Rodgers’ men will be keen to get back to winning ways and spoiling the Magpies’ parade would be an inspirational way to do just that.
It’s no secret that the Swans’ defence when playing at the Liberty Stadium has been nothing short of miraculous and the ground is currently the second hardest venue in the Premier League to score at with Swansea conceding an average of just 0.80 goals per game this campaign.
Attack has been a different case altogether however, and the likes of Danny Graham and on-loan Gylfi Sigurdsson will need to be in good form if they’re to penetrate the Newcastle pairing of Perch and Mike Williamson.