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Preview: Swansea City vs. Newcastle United

Sports Mole previews the Premier League showdown between Swansea City and Newcastle United at the Liberty Stadium.

Swansea City and Newcastle United will be looking to kick on from their promising starts to the new season at the Liberty Stadium in their Premier League clash.

The Swans held defending champions Chelsea to a 2-2 draw, while the Steve McClaren era at St James' Park began with a 2-2 draw against Southampton.


Swansea

Swansea manager Garry Monk prior to kick-off against Chelsea in the Premier League match on April 13, 2014© Getty Images

Garry Monk's men continued to display their credentials as a fearsome opponent in the top flight as they came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw against the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

New signing Andre Ayew hit the ground running with a goal on his debut for the club, while Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-yueng also appears to have maintained their fine form from the last campaign.

Bafetimbi Gomis led the line extremely well and earned his side the penalty that saw the dismissal of Thibaut Courtois, which he dispatched past the Belgian's replacement Asmir Begovic.

The Swans have well and truly found their rhythm under the tenure of Monk as he has helped carve his side into an established Premier League team, and further additions could see them challenge for a place in the Europa League.

Swansea's home record last season was impressive and aided their charge to earn their most successful points tally in their history in the Premier League.

They won nine of their 19 matches at the Liberty Stadium, and a stronger display this term may see them edge ahead of their rivals in the race for Europe.

Monk will have been delighted to see Ayew get off the mark on his debut, while Gomis will be a key player for the club this season after the loss of Wilfried Bony in January. Much will be expected of the duo in the campaign and they will be looking to continue their fine start against the Magpies.

Recent form: DWDDDD


Newcastle

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren watches on during the pre season friendly between Gateshead and Newcastle United at Gateshead International Stadium on July 10, 2015© Getty Images

McClaren will have been pleased to kick off his reign with a solid performance against one of the best teams in the Premier League when his side earned a point against the Saints.

New £15m signing Georginio Wijnaldum made an instant impact for the Magpies by notching a debut goal and put in an impressive display on his Premier League debut, while fellow debutants Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic played their part.

Fitness appeared to be an issue for the North-East outfit towards the end of the match as the Saints came close to a winning goal through Sadio Mane after Shane Long brought them level, but the home side held out for the point to get them off the mark.

McClaren will have been pleased to see his side new signings bed into the top flight quickly, while players that struggled under the old regime such as Gabriel Obertan were given a new lease of life under the 54-year-old in the opener. The club will be hopeful that the Frenchman's good form continues.

The Magpies had the second-worst record in the Premier League last season on their travels, winning just three of their 19 matches. McClaren will have identified that as an area to improve upon if the club are to distance themselves from the relegation zone this season.

However, Newcastle will have their work cut out for them against the Swans at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Recent form: WLDLLD


Team News

Ki Sung-Yueng in action for Swansea on November 29, 2014© Getty Images

Swansea may be without Ki for the clash against the Magpies as he is struggling with a hamstring injury sustained in the draw against the Blues.

Jack Cork is in line to replace the South Korea international in the lineup, while Jefferson Montero is poised to continue on the left wing after easing injury concerns of his own.

Defender Jordi Amat has been ruled out of the match as he requires another week of training before he can return to action from a foot injury.

Newcastle have been given a boost by the return to fitness of Vurnon Anita after the midfielder overcame the injury which saw him stretchered from the pitch against Southampton.

Paul Dummett and Remy Cabella are also on the comeback trail, but the game at the Liberty Stadium could come too soon for them to return.

Elsewhere, Mitrovic could push Papiss Cisse for the starting forward berth, while Siem de Jong may also come into contention after starting the Saints match on the bench.

Swansea possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Naughton, Williams, Fernandez, Taylor; Ki, Shelvey, Sigurdsson; Ayew, Montero; Gomis

Newcastle possible starting lineup:
Krul; Janmaat, Coloccini, Mbemba, Haidara; Anita, Colback, Wijnaldum; Sissoko, Obertan; Cisse


Head To Head

In the last meeting between the teams in April, the Swans recorded a 3-2 victory at St James' Park thanks to goals from Nelson Oliveira, Cork and Sigurdsson.

The sides played out a 2-2 draw in their last clash at the Liberty Stadium as Cisse scored a brace to cancel out strikes from Bony and Wayne Routledge.

Over the course of history, Newcastle have shaded the contest, winning 22 of the matches compared to Swansea's 14, while six of the matches have ended in draws.

However, Swansea are unbeaten in their last six matches against Newcastle, as the Magpies' last victory in the fixture came back in April 2012.


Video Preview

Hit play below to see what the Sports Mole Sofa had to say about this encounter:


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We say: Swansea 2-0 Newcastle

The Magpies showed promise in the opening fixture which suggests that they will not be involved in a relegation battle this season, but Swansea are an extremely difficult opponent to take on in their own stadium. Monk's men should have enough quality to secure a narrow victory to earn their first win of the campaign.



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The Swansea City fans celebrate after Swansea City's French striker Bafetimbi Gomis (C floor) celebrates scoring a second equalising goal from the penalty spot for 2-2 during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Swansea City at St
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