Newcastle United could drop out of the top half of the Premier League if they lose to Swansea City in this game and clubs below them, including Liverpool and Stoke City, manage to pick up points this weekend. The Magpies are 10th with 14 points from 11 games, while the Swans are just a point behind and looking to leapfrog Alan Pardew's men with a win at St James' Park.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 3pm GMT and live radio coverage starts from 2pm GMT on BBC Radio Newcastle. Real-time text updates are available online, at Gamecast, via Soccernet.
Newcastle are in poor form in the Premier League, having won just once in the last six league games. They may have only lost twice in that time, but both those defeats were at home (0-3 to Manchester United and 0-1 to West Ham United) and the fact the club are winless since late October will trouble the players.
They have had some good results in recent games - the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield and the hard-fought 2-2 draw, at home, to Belgian side Club Brugge in a Europa League group stage game come to mind. However, the general performance levels, both individual and collective, at St James' Park are a far cry from the high standards set last season. And perhaps that is the trouble. Perhaps Pardew overachieved last year, when he led Newcastle to European competition in the first season back in the Premiership and is only now discovering how difficult top-flight English football can be.
Meanwhile, Swansea are in decent form, even if they have drawn their last two games 1-1 (at home to Chelsea and away to Southampton). Michael Laudrup led his team to a famous 3-1 win at Anfield in October but, in truth, the side has not been as sparkling as they were last season. Nevertheless, 11th place is still a very good spot to be in, particularly if they can win at Newcastle and use that as platform to kick on for the rest of the season.
The Liberty Stadium club do have some high-profile fixtures coming up, with league games against Manchester United, Liverpool and West Brom (at home) and Arsenal and Tottenham (away) scheduled before the end of 2012.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L D D W W
- Last Match: Newcastle United 0 - 1 West Ham
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D D W L W
- Last Match: Southampton 1 - 1 Swansea City
Newcastle will welcome the return of Ivorian international Cheick Tiote, after a three-match suspension for a red card. However, France midfielder Yohan Cabaye will likely miss this game, with a groin problem picked up in the midweek friendly against Italy.
Also, Argentine midfielder Jonas Guttierez and defender Fabricio Coloccini have been ruled out with injury and suspension, respectively. The news doesn't get any better. Pardew may also have to plan without Senegalese striker Demba Ba, who has a shin injury. Worse still, Ba's international team mate, Papiss Cisse, could also miss out, after disagreements between the club and the Senegal FA over participation in the midweek games. Haris Vuckic and Ryan Taylor are both long-term absentees and James Perch and Ryan Gosling will also be unavailable.
Probable Line-Up: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, S Taylor, Santon; Ben Arfa,Tiote, Anita, Ferguson; Cisse/Ba, Ameobi
Laudrup's side are no less fortunate and have injuries to key players, including Korean Ki Sung-yong. Goalkeeper Michel Vorm and Kyle Bartley are both unavailable for this game, although they are recovering well from groin and thigh injuries. Neil Taylor was ruled out for the season after his ankle injury.
Ashley Williams, Leon Britton Kemy Agustien, Danny Graham and Chico Flores are all fighting to be fit in time, although latest reports suggest Flores will be fit. In any case, unfortunately for the 25-year-old Spaniard, the good form of club captain Garry Monk means he will have to wait his turn, following an ankle injury.
Probable Line-Up: Tremmel; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Dyer, Britton, De Guzman; Hernandez, Michu, Routledge
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