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CHN Friday Links + 5 Point Preview of Swansea v. Newcastle United

Hatem Ben Arfa... super genius.
Hatem Ben Arfa... super genius.

Good day, Toon fans. Circumstances have dictated a little bit of creativity in the arrangement of my posts this time around, so what we will have here is a very brief links section followed on by the 5 point preview for the match which will be starting in just over 2 hours time. It should be an entertaining one.

As Newcastle United fans, we're predictably gun shy about our star players and what will or won't happen to them over the summer... in the mini-links, I think there's a story that will make us all feel better. Well... ok... maybe we won't feel better until all the dust has settled and we make it another window without selling star players, but there are a lot of words strung together in an order that is encouraging, let's say.

Ryan Taylor always knew his time would come at Newcastle United - Newcastle United - Shields Gazette

Taylor – who made just three Premier League starts last season in a frustrating and injury-hit campaign – never whinged or moaned during his long spells out of the United side. And it’s payback time for the former Wigan Athletic player, signed by Joe Kinnear in January 2008. “Sometimes, in this business, you’ve got to take things on the chin,” he said. “It’s how you react, and I’d like to think I reacted well in the past by not throwing my toys out of the pram, or going and knocking the manager’s door down. “I just got on with it and knuckled down.

Ryan has meant a lot to this team this season. It was good to see him get recognition. Early in the article, it is mentioned that Ryan wrote him into Toon legend with Ryan Taylor Over The Wall, which he did... From fringe player to permanent Toon legend is pretty good.

Newcastle ace Tim Krul faces Dutch rival - Newcastle United - Shields Gazette

“Normally, keepers come rushing out, and if I’d put my hands there, I’d probably have been sent off, but I saw what he was up to, and luckily for us the referee saw it as well.”

I really didn't want to step backwards in time and go back to the Liverpool match, and this article really doesn't do that. This quote, however, was too much to pass up. I wonder aloud exactly what Timmy saw that brought him to "I saw what he was up to." It struck me as odd at the time that Tim had not gone wide and tried to collect with his arms at all. I don't recall if it was Perch or Jonas who was charging in from the defensive left side of the box but they were nowhere near close enough to make a play if The Benign Ponytail rounded Krul. History shows us that Tim gave him the ol' Matador, he dove and, well, you know the rest.

Newcastle United Alan Pardew Predicts Demba Ba Resurgence - Sky Tyne and Wear

Pardew, speaking ahead of Newcastle's trip to Swansea on Friday, said: "Demba isn't going to be happy if he's not scoring goals. "It's just the nature of the beast. He's a goalscorer so Papiss (Cisse) getting all the goals and getting all the credit isn't going to keep him happy. "I hope he gets angry on Friday and slaps a couple in himself."

Demba. As much as the switch to the 4-3-3 has ben a star-maker for Hatem Ben Arfa, it (and Papiss Cisse's arrival) have had the opposite effect on Demba Ba. In fairness, it is completely different to play as part of a front three instead of being THE target as he was for the entire season before the ACON. I think he's going to get it figured out... and soon. With very few exceptions you don't just stop scoring goals when you're in the form that he was in. As it sits, however, his deeper role in this 4-3-3 is not communicating well with his inner striker.

Yohan Cabaye reveals pal wants to join Newcastle - NUFC News - NUFC - JournalLive

Cabaye said: “I told my friend (Mathieu) Debuchy he should come here. He said he would love to come to England and Newcastle. He would like to come here. “Newcastle now has a big reputation in France. When we play, French TV now shows Newcastle games. They try to show every game and support them.” Speaking through a translator, Cabaye revealed that his burning ambition remains to return to Continental competition.

Newcastle United: Official Barclay's Premier League Team of France™ - and that's only one of the excellent things to come out of this article.

5 Point Preview!

  1. Newcastle are undefeated in their last 6 matches in all competitions vs. Swansea City. In a tale of the contrasting fortunes of the two squads, to get to that 6 match number, you have to stretch all the way back to the early '90s.
  2. Swansea love to pass the ball. They have the second-highest completion percentage in the league behind Manchester City. This kind of breaks into two sub-points here. Newcastle have at times struggled against teams who want to possess the ball. Reverses to Manchester City and Chelsea spring to mind, but also the 0-0 home draw with Swansea the last time around. Even with all the passing in that match, however, Swansea managed 0 shots on goal. Sub-point b) Newcastle were nowhere near the squad at the time of the last match v. Swansea as they are this time. What I mean is, in the first 27 matches of this season, Newcastle had managed exactly one (1) counter-attack goal. We have turned into a lethal countering squad in the newly implemented 4-3-3. It could only take one misplaced or intercepted pass to put this match on Papiss', Demba's or Hatem's plate.
  3. Swansea are mostly healthy for this match- something that cannot be said for our boys in black-and-white. As such, it's cheap but it has to be acknowledged that James Perch is a key in this match. I have to confess that I was in a certain number of people in the world who felt he was going to get chewed up and spit out by Liverpool's (granted mostly toothless) strike force. It did not happen, and he will have to turn in yet another solid performance against another Geordie striker in the form of Danny Graham.
  4. Bert van Marwijk. Ok, he's not really a key to this match, but it would not be a surprise to see him in the stands. Dutch second and third string goalkeepers Tim Krul and Michel Vorm will square off again, looking for any small amount of foothold to climb up into contention with Maarten Stekelenberg for the #1 shirt for their national team. Both keepers have been in excellent form this season, and (from the Department of Duh Department) whichever side can solve the other's Dutch keeper will win.
  5. Streaks. Newcastle have not won 4 matches in a row since 2006. Newcastle have won 8 of their last 10 matches against Welsh squads. Swansea have only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 7 matches at home and have only won two of those matches. Neither side looks set to keep a clean sheet if you look at the form sheet.

Newcastle United FC

Currently: 6th place, 15-8-8, 53 pts.

Out: Sylvain Marveaux (groin), Danny Guthrie (groin), Steven Taylor (Achilles), Fabricio Coloccini (hamstring), Peter Lovenkrands (thigh), Leon Best (knee), Sammy Ameobi (knee)

Possible: Danny Guthrie (calf)

Projected XI (4-3-3): Krul | Simpson, Perch, Coloccini, Jonas | Raylor, Cabaye, Tiote | Ben Arfa, Cisse, Ba

Projected Subs: Elliot, Ferguson, Santon, Tavernier, Gosling, Vuckic, Shola

Swansea City FC

Currently: 11th place, 10-9-12, 39 pts

Projected XI (4-4-2/4-5-1): Vorm | Rangel, Williams, Caulker, Taylor | Routledge, Britton, Sigurdsson, N. Dyer | Sinclair | Graham

Projected Subs: Tate, Monk, McEachran, Moore, Gower, Allen, Lita

No pontificating here... must publish!

What will certainly not happen:

Swansea City 1 (Graham) - 3 (Ba, Cisse, Ben Arfa) Newcastle United