Afternoon all! Our Premier League coverage continues from St James' Park as Newcastle United
welcome Swansea City
. The home side are currently on a horror run of form, but a fairly solid campaign has left them in ninth and safe from relegation. The same cannot be said for Swansea, however, who sit just three points outside of the drop zone with four games remaining. Team news is expected to arrive within the next 10 minutes.
In terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Swansea have won their last three league games against the Magpies. The last time that Newcastle beat the Welsh outfit was in April 2012, when they won at the Liberty. As mentioned above, the corresponding fixture last season ended in a 2-1 Swansea victory.
BREAKING TEAM NEWS:
Loic Remy returns to the Newcastle squad this afternoon, but the on-loan QPR forward is only fit enough for the bench. As a result, Shola Ameobi
continues in attack alongside Papiss Cisse, while Dan Gosling continues in central midfield. Swansea, meanwhile, are without their top scorer from last season Michu. However, Leon Britton returns to the XI. Full teams to follow.
NEWCASTLE: Krul; Coloccini, Williamson, Dummett; Anita, Gosling, Tiote, Gouffran; de Jong; Cisse, Sh Ameobi
SWANSEA: Vorm; Rangel, Amat, Williams, Davies; Britton, Shelvey, De Guzman; Routledge, Bony, Hernandez
So there we have it. It appears that Newcastle will line up with three central defenders this afternoon. On paper, it is an extremely attacking lineup, which is not too surprising based on their recent troubles finding the back of the net. Swansea, meanwhile, make two changes from the team that lost to Chelsea last time out, with Jordi Amat and De Guzman replacing Chico Flores and Nathan Dyer.
Newcastle have taken 46 points from their 34 matches this season, with that tally leaving them in ninth spot in the table. As it stands, they are 16 points ahead of the relegation zone, which is testament to their form at the start and indeed middle of the season. In recent weeks, however, they have been on a horror run of form, losing each of their last four and failing to score in the process.
It is the second time this season that Alan Pardew's side have gone four consecutive league games without scoring, but they have never failed to score in five successive Premier League games and therefore an unwanted record could occur this afternoon if they suffer another blank. What's more, the former Champions League outfit have failed to score in nine of their last 12 in the league. It has been a serious struggle.
The news does not get better in terms of their recent record at St James' Park. They have lost six of their last eight at home and scored just twice on their own patch in 2014. Sunderland, who were 3-0 winners at Newcastle earlier in the year, have scored more times at St James' Park than the Magpies in 2014.
Overall, Newcastle have won seven of their 17 home games this season, drawing three and losing seven. If the Premier League had started on January 1, then the Magpies would be in 17th spot. Pardew's side have scored just nine goals in 15 games since the turn of the year and conceded 28 times in the process.
Pardew's seven-match ban for a headbutt on Sunderland midfielder David Meyler has played a huge role in Newcastle's collapse in recent months and there is no question that the supporters are frustrated. As many as 40,000 turn out week-in week-out at St James' Park, but results and indeed performances have not been good enough since the end of 2013. Little over 30 minutes until kickoff in this Premier League fixture.
That said, it will be another season of Premier League football for the Magpies. They are just two places below last season's champions Manchester United, while a strong end to the season could see them finish in the top eight. It would not tell the whole story far from it in fact - but a top-eight finish at the start of the season would have been welcomed by the club and supporters alike.
Swansea, however, will have little sympathy with Newcastle. The Welshman outfit have huge problems of their own having won just one of their last nine in the league, losing five times in the process. They have also failed to win any of their last 11 on the road. In fact, they have not won away from the Liberty Stadium since beating struggling Fulham last November. As it stands, they are in a serious relegation scrap.
As a result, Garry Monk's side currently sit 15th in the league on 33 points. They are just three points outside of the relegation zone and are looking over their shoulders with just four games remaining. What's more, Swansea have won just one of their 18 games against teams in the top half of the table this season, although that sole success did come against Newcastle in Wales.
Swansea's home form this season has been fairly disappointing with just five wins from 17 games, losing seven times in the process. They have really struggled on their travels, meanwhile, with just three wins and 10 defeats. Since Monk replaced Michael Laudrup at the helm, Swansea have taken just two away league points.
Newcastle are not exactly in a rich vein of scoring form, but Swansea have gone 14 away league games without keeping a clean sheet, which is an indication of their troubles. There is no question that the Welsh outfit are still pleasing on the eye, but results have suffered and as it stands, they are in a real battle to secure their Premier League status for another season.
Swansea played quite well last time out against Chelsea, but were beaten 1-0 courtesy of a late strike from Demba Ba. Reportedly there have also been problems off the pitch, with talk of a training ground bust-up occurring before the defeat against the Blues. However, such talk has been quelled by winger Nathan Dyer.
"You could see by the performance on Sunday [against Chelsea] how united we are as a group so there's no problem whatsoever," Dyer, who is on the bench this afternoon, told reporters. All is not well at the club, but victory this afternoon could see them open up a healthy gap on the teams around them.
In terms of what is still to come for Swansea, following this match they face back-to-back home games against Aston Villa and Southampton, before traveling to Sunderland on the final weekend of the season in what could be vital. A couple of wins from their last four would surely see the Welsh side secure another PL campaign.
Taking a look at the statistics, both have fairly similar defensive records this season. Newcastle have conceded 52 times in their 34 games, while Swansea have conceded 50. Down the other end, Swansea have hit 45 – 11 of which have come from Wilfried Bony
– while Newcastle have scored 38 (on-loan QPR forward Loic Remy has 13 of them). Right, just about time for my pre-match prediction with five minutes until kickoff.
PREDICTION: You have to wonder just how motivated Newcastle will be this afternoon. In truth, they have little to play for in the remaining weeks of the season. The same cannot be said for Swansea, however, and I am backing the Welsh outfit to surprise a few with an away victory. I am not expecting too many goals, but I am predicting Swansea to pick up all three points with a 2-1 win.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital this afternoon. Right, the home side get the first half underway.
It must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium on what is a fine afternoon on Tyneside. It is Swansea that have taken control of the early possession, but Shelvey has an effort from outside the box blocked by Coloccini. The ball rebounds straight into the face of referee Chris Foy, which brings a stoppage to proceedings. Not too often that you see that, but the English official is alright!
Not too much for the home supporters to get excited about in the opening four minutes as Swansea continue to enjoy possession of the ball. A half-chance arrives for the away side as Hernandez delivers a cross towards Bony, but the Ivorian cannot rise inside the box and the danger is hooked clear by Anita.
Slightly untidy period of the match in the last couple of moments, with both sides struggling to keep hold of the ball in the final third. The referee has also been called into question to deal with a number of challenges, but has not produced a card thus far. Good intensity to proceedings, but no chances thus far.
Good spell of pressure from the home side as Gouffran collects possession in a wide area before working the ball into Cisse, but Williams is across to clear at the vital moment. Swansea break down the other end when Hernandez attempts to flick one towards Bony, but the powerful forward cannot take it in his stride.
Half-chance for Swansea as Hernandez combines with Rangel before driving a low cross into the box, but there are no takers in a blue and yellow shirt. The better football has been played by Swansea, which is bringing a reaction from the home supporters, who will surely need to be patient this afternoon.
Swansea continue to force the issue with two corners in quick succession, but Coloccini and Anita take it in turns to clear the danger. Newcastle just cannot get out of their own half at the moment, however, as Swansea continue to press in the middle of midfield. That said, clear chances have been extremely limited thus far.
Again it is bright work from Swansea as Shelvey switches towards De Guzman, who combines with Hernandez down the right before winning a corner from Coloccini. The resulting set piece is taken short towards Routledge, but De Jong clears the danger. Moments later, Krul collects an in-swinging corner from Davies.
Shola Ameobi takes matters into his own hands for Newcastle after collecting possession outside the Swansea box, but his cross is cleared by Williams. Cisse appears to have a problem moments later as the Newcastle forward hits the ground. It seems that the striker might not be able to continue in this match.
Cisse returns to the field, but is still clearly struggling. Newcastle have raised the intensity in the last couple of moments with Gosling and De Jong both involved in the final third, but another cross from Gouffran is cleared by Williams. Still goalless with 20 minutes on the clock at St James' Park.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Swansea as Hernandez delivers towards Bony at the near post, but Krul is on hand to make the save from close range. That is the closest that either side have come.
SUB! Newcastle are forced to make a change as Debuchy enters the field in place of Cisse, who failed to recover from that early strain. That will mean a reshuffle in the Newcastle XI.
Anita has moved into a more advanced position for the home side, while Debuchy has gone to his regular role at right-back. Newcastle are still struggling for possession, however, as Swansea threaten once more with Bony, but the Ivorian is found in an offside position once more.
GOAL! Newcastle 1-0 Swansea (Ameobi)
Newcastle take the lead with 23 minutes on the clock as Ameobi bundles his way into the penalty area before finding the bottom corner. Relief around St James' Park as the home side finally register at home.
It is harsh on Swansea, who have been the better side thus far, but that is football at this level. Plenty happening in the middle of the park at the moment as the challenges continue to arrive. However, referee Chris Foy has not deemed it necessary to produce a booking in the opening 26 minutes of action.
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, but it has been a strong response from Swansea, who continue to enjoy possession. Newcastle are on the attack with Debuchy moments later, but Williams is across to make the challenge. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining.
Another half-chance for the home side as Ameobi bundles his way into the Swansea box before attempting to pull the trigger, but Amat is across to clear. De Jong picks up possession moments later, but cannot get enough power on his shot. Strong pressure from the home side as Ameobi has another shot blocked. Much better from the hosts with 31 minutes on the clock. Swansea need to ride this spell out.
CHANGE OF REFEREE! Referee Chris Foy has been forced to leave the field after failing to recover from that early blow to the face after a Shelvey strike rebounded off Coloccini. As a result, Anthony Taylor will officiate the remainder of this match. Not too often that you see that!
BOOKING! Taylor's first major piece of refereeing brings a yellow card for Gosling as the Newcastle midfielder fells Routledge outside the box. The resulting free kick causes concern inside the Newcastle box, but Bony is once more ruled offside at the vital moment.
Not too much happened in the early exchanges this afternoon, but it has been an end-to-end contest in the last 15 minutes or so. Swansea continue to threaten on the counter, but Newcastle appear in the mood for more as Ameobi continues to cause problems in attack. Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining.
Half-chance for Swansea as Bony finds some space outside the box before striking towards goal, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. The Ivorian has looked the most likely for the visitors this afternoon.
Newcastle appear to have another injury problem as De Jong hits the ground inside the Swansea half. The Magpies have Remy on the bench, but it is unlikely that he will b risked at this stage of proceedings.
SUB! Newcastle are forced into another first-half change as De Jong leaves the field. His replacement is Remy, who only returned to the squad this afternoon following a long injury lay-off.
Suffering two injuries in the first period is hardly ideal, but the Newcastle supporters do not seem to mind as their leading scorer enters the field. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last few moments, but Swansea continue to enjoy possession of the ball. Still 1-0 Newcastle on Tyneside.
Half-chance for Swansea as Dummett fells Hernandez outside the Newcastle box. The resulting set piece is taken by Shelvey, but his powerful effort is wide of the post. That pretty much sums up Swansea's half.
Half-chance for Newcastle as Gouffran meets a cross from Debuchy, but his header is straight into the arms of Vorm. Strong pressure from the home side in the latter stages of the half, with Swansea struggling to influence proceedings. Up until this point, the Welsh outfit have created very little at St James' Park.
GOAL! Newcastle 1-1 Swansea (Bony)
Swansea are back on terms in first-half stoppage time as Bony heads a Davies corner into the back of the net from close range. Brilliant work from the striker and we are all level at St James' Park.
HALF-TIME: Newcastle 1-1 Swansea
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Swansea holding Newcastle to a 1-1 draw. The home side were ahead after 23 minutes through Ameobi, but a powerful Bony header levelled the scores in first-half stoppage time. It is so delicately poised ahead of the second period at St James'.
STATISTICS: Newcastle have had more of the ball thus far with 52% possession, but they have managed just one attempt on target - their goal. Swansea, meanwhile, have also hit the target on just one occasion, but have had three more efforts in total than the home side. Just the one yellow card to report, meanwhile, with Gosling in the book for the home side.
BENCH WATCH: Newcastle have already been forced into two changes this afternoon, with Debuchy and Remy replacing injured pair Cisse and De Jong. However, they still have young forward Adam Armstrong in reserve. Swansea, meanwhile, have the likes of Dyer, Emnes and N'Gog on an attacking bench.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - will be vital. Should Swansea get it, the crowd could turn at St James' Park. Right, the away side get the second 45 minutes of action underway on Tyneside.
No changes for either side at the interval, which is not too surprising based on the fact that Newcastle have already made two subs and Swansea equalised in the latter stages of the first period. However, I suspect that both managers will consider alterations if the score remains level for the next 20 minutes or so.
Decent start to the second period from Swansea as the Welsh outfit dominate the ball outside the Newcastle box. The home side attempt to threaten on the counter as Gouffran slides a through pass towards Remy, but Williams is across to clear. Moments later, Gosling brings a really smart save from Vorm.
Another half-chance for the home side as Remy drives into the Swansea box before cutting it back to Anita, but his effort is wide of the post. Wonderful noise inside the stadium as the match continues to move from end-to-end. It is so delicately poised, but Swansea are certainly the team in the most need of the points.
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, but both sides continue to force the issue in the final third. Routledge threatens with a low cross into the Newcastle box, but Krul is alert to the danger. Down the other end, Vorm just prevents a corner following a back-pass from Williams.
Half-chance for Swansea this time as Shelvey finds some space outside the Newcastle box before striking towards goal, but once more Coloccini is on hand to make the block. Newcastle are down the other end with Gouffran, but his cross is collected by Vorm as both sides continue to commit numbers in the final third.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side as Dummett drives into the Swansea box before putting it on a plate for Remy, but his effort is wide of the post. Golden opportunity for the Frenchman.
Little over 30 minutes of football remaining and it is so delicately poised. Neither side is too interested in settling for a point here as the end-to-end period continues. Another half-chance falls to the home team as Gosling meets a cross from Debuchy, but his header is just wide of the target once more.
Another half-chance for the home side as Anita settles on the ball outside the box before curling one towards the bottom corner, but it just moves wide of the post. One-way traffic in the last couple of minutes. It would not be a surprise if Swansea boss Monk was considering making a change at this stage of events.
Remy is next to try his luck for the home side after finding some space outside the box, but his effort was always curling high of the crossbar. Newcastle continue to look the most likely as Swansea struggle for possession of the ball. However, it remains 1-1 with little over 25 minutes of football remaining.
Swansea just cannot keep the ball at the moment as Newcastle continue to dominate possession. Another half-chance arrives as Remy drives into the heart of the Swansea area, but Rangel is across to clear. Defeat for Swansea this afternoon would leave them in a seriously dangerous position in the table.
Swansea continue to play as if one point is enough for them this afternoon, but the table tells a very different story. Still no movement on the away side's bench, which is strange at this stage of proceedings. Newcastle, meanwhile, have already made two changes, both of which occurred in the first period.
A dangerous near-post corner from Davies threatens the Newcastle defence, but Anita just manages to clear at the vital moment. Swansea's eighth corner of the match arrives moments later, but once more Coloccini is on hand to clear the danger. No real chances in the last few minutes as time continues to tick away.
Ameobi wants a penalty for Newcastle after clashing with Rangel inside the Swansea box, but the referee is not interested. You just get the feeling that there is a late goal in this match as the pressure continues.
Ameobi wants a penalty after clashing with Rangel inside the box, but the referee is not interested. Swansea just cannot get out of their own half at the moment, meanwhile, as the pressure continues to arrive.
CHANCE! Clear chance for Swansea as Shelvey clips a cross towards Bony inside the Newcastle box, but the striker's header is straight at Krul. Little under 15 minutes of football remaining.
Another half-chance for the away side as Hernandez finds some space on the edge of the box before attempting to curl one towards the top corner, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. Still no movement on the Swansea bench, but they certainly have attacking options in reserve. Is there to be late drama here?
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Swansea as De Guzman attempts to place one into the top corner, but it just moves high of the crossbar. Brilliant effort, but still the score remains level this afternoon.
SUBS! Swansea make their first change of the match as Emnes enters the field in place of Hernandez. Newcastle make their third sub moments later as Adam Armstrong replaces Gosling.
Wonderful opportunity for 17-year-old Armstrong to make an impact on his home debut for Newcastle. Bony threatens for Swansea moments later after meeting a through pass from Britton, but Krul is out to clear at the vital moment. Little over five minutes of normal time remaining in this Premier League encounter.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Swansea as Bony drives into the Newcastle box before attempting to round Krul, but the Dutch goalkeeper just does enough to clear the danger. What an opportunity!
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last minute or two, with both sides guilty of losing possession too easily in the final third. The home side have a free kick outside the box when Amat fells Armstrong, but the resulting set piece from Gouffran is straight into the arms of stopper Vorm.
Newcastle continue to probe and press in the final third, but Swansea remain compact in defensive areas. In truth, neither side really deserves to lose this match. Gouffran is again involved for Newcastle, but his through pass is cleared by Williams. Not too much time remaining at St James' Park.
Half-chance for Swansea as Shelvey drives into the Newcastle box before attempting to beat Krul at his near post, but the Newcastle stopper makes the save. Down the other end, Anita fires high and wide.
The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional two minutes and we are indeed into the second of those. It appears the points will be shared.
Swansea have a penalty as Tiote fells Emnes inside the box. Terrible challenge from the Newcastle midfielder. What a moment for the Welsh outfit.
Swansea have a penalty as Tiote fells Emnes inside the box. Terrible challenge from the Newcastle midfielder. What a moment for the Welsh outfit.
GOAL! Newcastle 1-2 Swansea (Bony, pen)
Bony completes his brace by sending his penalty into the top corner. Brilliant finish from the Ivorian and Newcastle are now heading for another home defeat.
FULL-TIME: Newcastle 1-2 Swansea
Just incredible. Swansea win it late on courtesy of a penalty from Bony. Newcastle have now lost their last five in the league and the supporters make their feelings known. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to stick around for all the reaction. Good afternoon!