Tactical Battles That Will Shape Swansea City's Clash with Newcastle United

Dan Sheridan@@dansheridanContributor IDecember 3, 2013

SWANSEA, WALES - MARCH 02:  Newcastle manager Alan Pardew (c) reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Newcastle United at Liberty Stadium on March 2, 2013 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

In-form Newcastle United make the long trip to South Wales this week to face a Swansea City side that have won just once at home in the Premier League this term.

The Magpies have triumphed in their last four games and lost just one of their previous seven top-flight fixtures, but Michael Laudrup’s men will be hoping to halt their progress.

With the Toon looking to cement their place in the top six, manager Alan Pardew is likely to name an unchanged side to the one that beat West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

And with the Swans eager to put defeat at Manchester City behind them, we look at four key tactical battles that could mould the outcome of Wednesday’s clash at the Liberty Stadium.


SWANSEA, WALES - OCTOBER 27: Alvaro Vazquez of Swansea City in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and West Ham United at Liberty Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Alvaro Vazquez vs. Newcastle’s Central Defenders

It won’t be lost on either manager that Swansea City are the most accurate long passers in the Premier League, whilst Newcastle United have played fewer long passes than any other side.

As such, the battle between Swans striker Alvaro Vazquez and the Toon’s centre-backs should be a fascinating one.

In the absence of Michu and Wilfried Bony, Laudrup is expected to continue with the Catalan forward against the Geordies despite his failure to score since his loan switch from Getafe.

The height and strength of Mike Williamson, coupled with Fabricio Coloccini’s calmness and sense of timing, could go a long way to nullifying the home side, but Vazquez will be desperate to break his duck.


NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30:  Cheik Tiote of Newcastle United competes with Billy Jones of West Bromwich Albion during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion at St James' Park on November 30, 201
Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Jonathan de Guzman vs. United’s Wrecking Ball

Still reeling from his crucial miss against Manchester City on Sunday, Jonathan de Guzman will want to rectify that error against Newcastle United—but he’ll have to get past Cheick Tiote first.

With his side trailing 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium, the attacking midfielder found himself clean through as half-time approached, but blazed a seemingly easy chance over the bar.

Swansea City went on to lose 3-0, and if the Dutchman is still mulling over his badly timed blunder, Tiote will offer little in the way of sympathy on Wednesday.

The Ivory Coast international has been in commanding form for the Magpies of late, and his wrecking-ball role in front of the Toon’s back four could frustrate the attacking midfielder at the Liberty Stadium.


Can Ben Davies Halt Moussa Sissoko?

A year that began in style for Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko is ending on a similar theme, and despite his troubles in between, the Frenchman is in imposing form.

His blistering winner against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday underlined the threat posed by the former Toulouse man and will no doubt have given Swansea City left-back Ben Davies something to ponder.

Housed predominantly on the right in recent weeks, but with a penchant for drifting infield, Sissoko’s strength and confidence appear to be growing by the game.

And if the Swans are to keep the 24-year-old in check, they’ll have to rely on Davies to make an early impact and take the wind out of Sissoko's sails.


Ashley Williams vs. A Reborn Shola Ameobi 

While much praise has been heaped upon Newcastle United forward Loic Remy recently, his imposing strike partner is enjoying a new lease on life some 13 years after making his senior debut for the Magpies.

Visibly buoyed by the prospect of a World Cup appearance with Nigeria next year, Shola Ameobi is currently playing some of the best football of his long career on Tyneside.

Used as support for Remy, his powerful physique and aerial ability offer the Toon a useful outlet up front, and all that’s missing from his game at the moment is goals.

However, if the 32-year-old continues in a similar vein, that will change sooner rather than later. Swansea City will look to centre-back Ashley Williams to keep Ameobi off the scoresheet on Wednesday.


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