Swansea City-Newcastle United Preview
Swansea City continue their quest to emerge from the bottom of the Premier League table and escape the relegation zone Saturday against Newcastle United at St. James' Park.
After sacking manager Paul Clement prior to the Boxing Day fixtures, Carlos Carvalhal has done an admirable job in his first two matches on the touchline as the Swans nabbed a 2-1 win over Watford at Vicarage Road on Dec. 30, but suffered a 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Jan 2.
The Swans (4-4-14) are still bottom of the table on 16 points, but only four points adrift.
Carvalhal's club managed only one shot on target against Tottenham. Despite the loss, the club hoped to move forward quickly as they faced Wolverhampton in the third round of the FA Cup, but could only manage a scoreless draw.
Swansea received some good news on the injury front, however, as midfielder Ki-Sung Yueng has declared himself fit to play after missing the past six matches due to a calf injury.
"I feel good and I am looking to play under the new manager. It is up to him to make the decision on whether I am involved," Ki said. "It's a big game for us at Newcastle. It will be tough, but we have to get points. If I get to play, I will do all I can to help the team as much as I can.
"We can go there and win, but we have to be careful. We cannot always go forward and end up losing the game. I think the boys have done really well in the last few games. They have all made sacrifices for the team and now we have to maintain the standard against Newcastle."
The Swans have had some recent success at St. James' Park, winning three of their five league visits. At no away ground have they won more in the competition.
Newcastle (6-4-12) are unbeaten in their last three matches across all competitions and won for the second straight time, 3-1 over Luton Town in the third round of the FA Cup last weekend. Ayoze Perez netted a brace against Luton and Jonjo Shelvey added the third goal as the Magpies advanced with little trouble.
"First half, we finished really well, we were up 3-0," Benitez said. "Maybe it's harder to keep concentration in the second half. In the second half we needed more experience to manage these games. Keep the ball, and then a fourth goal would have finished it, but we couldn't manage it."
Jamaal Lascelles could be a key to victory for Newcastle as he has scored in both of his Premier League appearances against Swansea, including the winner in the 1-0 reverse fixture victory.
Updated January 11, 2018