“Get on the rollercoaster, the fair’s in town today…”
Two matches thus far for Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez in 2018, with two victories being the result. The Magpies will now look to make it three consecutive wins across all competitions when they host Swansea City AFC on Saturday afternoon.
Kick-off is set for 3PM local time, as St. James’ Park will undoubtedly provide another spectacular atmosphere. Both sides enter after FA Cup fixtures last weekend. Newcastle defeated Luton Town 3-1 at home, while the Swans played out a 0-0 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Swansea have responded well to manager Carlos Carvalhal, who took over the team last month after Paul Clement was sacked.
Currently 13th in the table, Newcastle know that another win will be a significant boost to their quest this season. With matches against the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United on the horizon, a home game versus Swansea absolutely must deliver three points.
The key to this scenario taking place will likely be found in Benitez’s approach, and the players that he selects for his line-up.
A scoring streak continuing?
One bright spot from results against Stoke City and Luton Town has been striker Ayoze Perez, as the Spanish forward has scored three goals in two matches. The 24-year-old has displayed a strong determination and excellent positioning during the past few weeks.
Perez has linked well with Dwight Gayle, as the two appear to be the ideal pairing up front for United. Summer-signing Joselu has struggled with consistency, and it would be somewhat of a surprise to see him get the start.
In the midfield, expect Jonjo Shelvey to face his former club alongside Mikel Merino. Goalkeeper Karl Darlow should get an opportunity to continue his solid play at the back. However, it is always difficult to guarantee anything when it comes to the subject of a Benitez line-up this term.
Newcastle United must collect maximum points in certain games this season. Against Swansea with the Toon Army cheering them forward, Saturday will provide one of those games.