Swansea v Newcastle, Saturday 15:00
– Whilst succumbing 5-0 to Liverpool last time out in the league, Swansea were again involved in a 5-0 rout but this time their fortunes were reversed as they humbled Bradford to win the Capital one Cup last Sunday.
– Goals from Michu and braces from both Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman secured the first major trophy in the club’s 101-year history and they will be looking to continue this momentum in their homecoming this weekend.
– The undoubted star of Swansea’s season so far, Michu has come from relative obscurity to be one of the most important players in the Swansea squad. His physical presence has surprised many but it is his technique in front of goal that has garnered him the majority of his 15 goals, with the Spaniard crafting a shot on target every 56.1 minutes he’s been on the pitch.
– His fellow Spaniard Pablo Hernandez is another who’s been impressing with his passing ability and vision. He’s now made a successful pass in the opponent’s half once every 3.8 minutes and has taken sides on with dribbles 17 times, the third highest in the Swansea squad.
– Nathan Dyer has appeared reenergized in recent weeks, capping a fine performance in the Capital One Cup Final with two goals. He’s also back to carving out chances for his teammates, tying for second-highest total assists in the Swans squad with 5.
– When the season began, 19 year old Ben Davies would likely have been happy with a couple of appearance of the bench for Swansea, yet due to various twists of fate he has emerged as one of their key performers. He now boasts an excellent 73.2% tackle success rate from 56 attempted challenges, as well as 157 defensive contributions.
– Newcastle battled back last weekend to win a fine encounter with Southampton 4-2 at St James’s Park. An absorbing contest marked a continued return to form for Alan Pardew’s side but they will face a stern test against a buoyant and talented Swansea side this weekend.
– Moussa Sissoko is making an impressive start to his Premier League career, already racking up a successful pass in the opponent’s half every 5.3 minutes as well as a shot on target every 62.2 minutes.
– Widely regarded as Newcastle’s creator-in-chief, the talented Yohan Cabaye will be disappointed in the number of assists he managed to record this season. Despite making 54 crosses, he’s only registered one assist, the lowest of any player in top 20 for crosses provided on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini are clearly developing something of an intuitive understanding of when teams are choosing to slip through the Newcastle defence. Between them they’ve registered 203 interceptions this season.
– Although bought for his reputation as one of the best young defenders in Europe, Davide Santon is flourishing into a distinguished attacker as well. He’s recorded a solid 76.5% shot accuracy rate from 17 attempts this season.