Is now the right time to face Swansea?

Looking concerned

Looking concerned

Injuries, fatigue, and that blasted pesky Europa League. I could be talking about Newcastle United’s horrific season last season, but the same could be said for Swansea City’s European forays this season. With injuries sustained to top players like Michu, Bony, Rangel as well as a relatively slow start to the Premier League, one could easily draw comparisons between the two sides.

I have never been a fan of the excuse that the Europa League is a hindrance to a side’s Premier League form, and that with adequate investment and preparation for the new season you can compete on all fronts, and I would still stand by that. While early season form seems to show that Swansea are suffering from the same European hangovers that affected us last season, I still think Swansea will come back into form and sit in around mid-table by the end of the season. For a team only in their 3rd season of top-flight football, while balancing their first ever European competition on top of that, I would class that success.

However, I am a Newcastle fan, not a Swansea fan (despite my admiration for their set-up) and of course I would like to think that Newcastle United can sweep aside any notion of resurgence from Swansea City by beating them tonight. Newcastle United are on a terrific run of form having won their last 4 games, while in contrast Swansea have only won 1 game at home this season, a 4-0 win against the unwashed. With that in mind, one could be forgiven for thinking that Newcastle United are in with a great chance to make it 5 wins on the bounce and further continue their impressive recent form.

With that mindset comes a risk attached. Complacency on the terraces is bad enough, but if that complacency creeps into our play we could see Swansea come out with a point to prove. There is also the consideration that needs to be given to team selection. Do we keep our winning side together and rotate for Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford or do we gamble by rotating tonight, and gun it with fresh legs to properly attack an eminently beatable Manchester United and secure our first victory at Old Trafford in 40 years?

In past months I would not have trusted Pardew to make the right call, but other than the decision to drop M’biwa for Coloccini in our last game against West Brom, I do think Pardew has got team selections (and formations) largely spot on, and while the lingering sour taste of the derby defeat has not gone in its entirety, with a win tonight, and momentum going into this weekend’s huge game against Manchester United, Pardew could well find more and more clambering back on to the Pardew bandwagon. He still has some ways to go before I will be personally convinced, but he is getting there.

So is now the right time to face Swansea? I would say yes it is, but let’s keep it tight at the back and do a professional job. It will be interesting if, following a defeat, Laudrup comes out in his post-match press conference and says ‘We was tired…’

What do you think?

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11 comments

  1. This is an interesting view, I’m not so sure that it is a good time to face them as I feel the Europa league effects hasn’t yet taken it’s toll, it’s easy to look at the table and say 13th, surely Swansea are better than that, personally I would say they are better than 13th, but as we are aware the Mackems have had a very raw deal from the fixture lists, an incredibly difficult start was dealt to them, the same applies to Swansea who in their first 13 games have faced Man U, Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal, Southampton and Man City where they have amassed a total of 1 point, so obviously they struggle against the better sides, but from the other 7 games they have amassed 14 points which is a good haul, can we really class ourselves as being one of the better sides, lets hope we can because if were not then Swansea are very good against those slightly lesser sides.

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    1. Either way Spoof, should make for a good contest this evening, and surely the loss of Michu, Bony and Rangel leaves them fragile in pretty key areas.

      I know what you mean about being dealt a raw hand regarding fixtures, but many of us said that November could be a difficult month for Newcastle with us having to face 2 of the top teams in the league followed by Norwich and WBA both of whom were tricky fixtures, yet we won all 4 games.

      Hopefully we have caught Swansea in a down moment, we have the momentum, they have some key injuries, I would be disappointed with anything less than at least a point.

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  2. Yes, very true Ciaran, it should be a good contest, and as you say Chelsea and Spurs are hardly pushovers, so confidence wise we have to be full of it, and as I pointed out Swansea struggle against decent sides and currently we are a decent side so we have to give ourselves a good chance, but as both Norwich and West Brom have shown, it won’t be easy.

    How we approach the game will be interesting, do we do as we did 2 years ago and allow them to pass the ball to death but then be on them like a rash when they get into the final 3rd of the pitch and then hit them on the break, or do we try to take the game to them, ordinarily giving them possession would be suicidal now as they have so much more fire power than what they did 2 years ago, but as you have pointed out, their fire power will be missing, with that in mind I would expect Pardew to try to do what we did 2 years ago, but then again is Shola the right man to have when trying to hit teams on the break, surely Cisse or Ben Arfa would be better, would Pardew leave Shola out when we are so obviously much better balanced with him in the side, he could well keep Shola out for this one as the Man U game would be more suitable for Shola, it’s not easy trying to guess what Pardew will do, which is good as it means that he has options.

    I think he may well rest Shola for this one, keep him for the Manc’s

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    1. I do think we will afford them a lot of the ball but hit them quickly, and for the reasons you rightly stated, I suspect that Shola will not be starting. It is then up to Pardew to carve out a system that works well in Shola’s absence. We could change formations to a 4-3-3 and see Remy up top with HBA RW and Gouffran LW and a midfield 3 of Tiote Cabaye and Sissoko which would mean that it is a swap of HBA for Shola while keeping the bulk of the winning team in tact.

      Or, he could go with the same system and go with a ‘straight’ swap with Cisse in for Shola. My doubts with this stem from the fact that Cisse’s hold up play is terrible so playing the same system, and style with Cisse in the team simply is not going to work.

      I genuinely do think Pards will save Shola for Man U as we will need someone to hold on to the ball up top. Needless to say, a younger, fitter, better version of Shola is badly needed in January!

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  3. Your formation and tactic is more or less the same as 2 years ago, with Remy for Cisse and Gouffran for Ba, I have no idea what Pardew will do, but personally I would go for exactly the same as yourself.

    As you say as well as Shola, and Williamson for that matter are doing, they are only in the side because we have no other who can do the job which they are doing, I agree that we do need upgrades for both, but credit where it’s due, both of them are doing really well at present, from the summer I have been saying Lescott, I won’t change now and apparently Luuk de Jong is available, to me those 2 would be perfect.

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    1. Cannot say I know too much about Luuk de Jong’s hold up play, but if he is a dominant CF then I would go along with that, but somehow I still think we are in for Bafe Gomis, who is a slightly younger, slightly better version of Shola.

      I still do not understand why we did not go in for Douglas? Surely he was the dominant centre half we needed? Lescott’s age and wages would render any deal pretty much dead in the water.

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  4. De Jong is an old fashioned English type of cf, 6tf 2ish and very strong with it, as for Lescott, just for the remainder of this season go for a loan deal, we never know a players character but I get the distinct impression that Lescott has got his eyes on a certain Brazilian bound plane, for a short term fix I am sure he would make himself affordable to give himself every chance, the added bonus with Lescott is that he is a left sided cb which would allow Mbiwa to play on his natural right side of the cd, those 2 would be a dream pairing for me.

    I’m not sure about Douglas’s ability to be honest, but that’s a different subject, the way I read it was that Ashley was persuaded by Pardew and Carr that CB was essential and with the expected departure of Colo it meant that we needed 2 to be brought in, Mbiwa a more cultured cb was Colo’s replacement with Douglas to be the much needed additional powerhouse cb which was a must, but I feel it went wrong due to the club who were expecting either Colo or San Lorenzo to buy out Colo’s contract which would have made space for Douglas to join, but it failed due to Colo putting money before his family, I honestly do believe that Pardew was expecting Mbiwa, Douglas and Saylor to be his predominant cb’s, as for Willo moving on last summer, did we really try to shift him, or was and is that kidolgy to make us appreciate what we might have had without him, I really do believe that the Douglas deal was knocked on the head due to Colo unexpectantly staying with us

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