Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Big Match Preview

Swansea City vs. Newcastle United
Saturday February 9, 12:45, Liberty Stadium

Goals might be in short supply at Saturday lunchtime as the two tightest defences in the Championship come face the face with another in South Wales.

Both Swansea and Newcastle have conceded just 20 goals in their respective 29 games this season - defensive solidity which has proved the bedrock for each side's promotion push.

After their shock 3-0 reverse to Derby in midweek though the Magpies come into the game knocked off the Championship summit for the first time since October.

That Pride Park defeat -
their largest of the campaign to date - was their first loss in 16 league games, but Chris Hughton's side lie behind leaders West Brom only on goal difference.

Hughton, who was given the Toon job permanently after impressing as caretaker, has overseen an impressive attempt to see United bouncing back at the first time of asking to the top flight.

The St James' Park side boast a strong backline with the reliable Steve Harper in goal, protected by local favourite Steven Taylor and the Argentinian Fabricio Coloccini.

With their forceful midfield including the likes of Alan Smith, Nicky Butt and Kevin Nolan - their top scorer with 10 goals, Newcastle have the last remaining unbeaten home record in the division.

Strikers Andy Caroll and Shola Ameobi, both with eight goals this term, also provide attacking threat, and the signing of Coventry's Leon Best in the transfer window boosted their forward options.

However, the North East side will have their work cut out to pierce a Swans defence which have conceded just one goal in their last six league games.

Under former Portuguese star Paulo Sousa, the Welsh side endured a tough start to the season - collecting just 11 points from their first ten games.

However, just two defeats over the past four months have seen City firmly establish themselves in the play-off race, currently residing in 5th.

Paulo Sousa has built a side strong in defence and good to watch

Sousa, who replaced Roberto Martinez during the summer, has also kept up the Spaniard's tradition of playing attractive, passing football, and Swansea are once again considered one of the best footballing sides in the Championship.

Despite the easy-on-the-eye style though, Swans fans have seen their side register just 26 goals - only relegation threatened Plymouth have scored fewer.

It means, amazingly, striker Lee Trundle and midfield Darren Pratley are the club's joint top scorers this term with just five goals apiece.

Sometimes football throws up strange occurrences where, when two strong sides in defence clash, the game surprises us with plenty of goals.

However, after their heavy loss in the East Midlands, Newcastle will be wary and will hope to shut up shop and go back to their miserly ways. With Swansea's scoring record, it may well be a stalemate.

Nobes' Prediction: Swansea City 0 Newcastle United 0

No comments:

Post a Comment