Both teams believe they have a legitimate shot to win this game. Swansea have looked much better recently at the hands of Carlos Carvalhal despite a tough loss to Spurs. The manager picked up a win against Watford, and gave Harry Kane’s crew a tough time , but they did not look well against Championship side Wolverhampton in the FA cup, only managing a draw.
Newcastle will again be without Florian Lejeune, who is still injured with a foot injury. With Chancel Mbemba also injured, Cirian Clark will continue to start along side Lascelles.
Mitrovic is still nursing a back injury and will not be available for selection, leaving Rafa the choice of Perez, Gayle and Joselu to start up top. Perez will likely start right behind Joselu or Gayle in a number 10 role or second striker role thanks to him netting 3 goals in the past 2 matches.
Rounding out the injury list Newcastle is Jesus Gamez, who has not made much of an impact at Newcastle.
A bright spot for Newcastle is that Rob Elliot will be available for this week’s game. It is uncertain if Rafa will use him given the form of Karl Darlow, who has played well in the absence of Elliot.
Swansea will be missing a host of players heading into the match. The latest and most notable injury is a hip injury that will sideline their top scorer Tammy Abraham.
The Spaniard Angel Rangel is out with a calf injury, and the loanee Renato Sanches is listed as day to day with a Hamstring injury. Carvalhal thinks highly of the Portuguese starlet, so if he is available he will surely be on the bench.
Swansea might be without midfielders Leon Britton and Sung Yueng Ki, who both have been nursing calf injuries. The two returned to training this week but it is not certain whether Carvalhal will risk playing them in today’s match. This of course is a clash at the bottom of the table and Swansea are desperate for points, so do not be surprised if either one actually ends up starting.
Swansea will also be without Kyle Naughton who is suspended due to a red card in their match against Wolves
The talk of the town in Swansea has been the transfer rumors surrounding Alfie Mawson, the young defender who has been the only bright spot in a dreadful season. Despite many clubs offering to pay the 25million price tag the club have set for him. Manager Carlos Carvalhal has promised the player he will not sell him. Expect Mawson to play this weekend, and with a clear head now that his transfer saga
Newcastle won the reserve fixture thanks to a late goal from Jamaal Lascelles. That game was a coming out party for Mikel Merino who picked apart that Swansea midfield and made them look like fools for loaning in Sanches instead of him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Merino gets the nod in the middle of the pitch due to his performance against Swansea. Shelvey is red hot right now after scoring a goal in Newcastle’s FA cup match. Rafa may look to start them both in the midfield against Swansea.
I expect Newcastle will have a better performance at home against the Swans. They lost the possession battle in the reverse fixture and conceded 7 corners. I fully expect them to have more of an impact on the game , especially given the confidence they have coming off an impressive 3-1 win against Luton Town.
Newcastle Projected Lineup: Darlow, Dummett, Lascelles, Clark, Yedlin, Ritchie, Shelvey, Merino, Murphy, Perez, Gayle
Swansea Projected Lineup: Fabianski, Mawson, Fernandez, van der Hoorn, Olson, Clucas, Fer, Carrol, Narsingh, Dyer, Ayew.
Newcastle should win this match 2-1. Murphy and Gayle have been playing well recently which is why they got the nod over Atsu and Joselu. This Newcastle team is on a decent run of form, and don’t have to deal with the pressure of trung to bounce back after an awful showing against a Championship side. The loss of Rangel, and the loss of Sanches for this game is going to hurt Swansea. I think their attack of Dyer and Ayew may get a goal, but the midfield and defense simply are no match for the Newcastle midfield and attack due to injury.
The game has not been selected for TV coverage in the UK. I you are in the US and have NBC Gold, you can watch the game there. You can follow the match by tuning into BBC Radio Newcastle’s live commentary, courtesy of the official NUFC website.