Newcastle United 2 (Cisse 5, 69)
It was great to see Newcastle go for an attacking line-up as Jonas pushed forward to join Cabaye and Tiote in a three man midfield, though you’d have to say it was more a five man midfield in the first half, with Papiss Cissé, Demba Ba and Ben Arfa taking turns to drop back on left and right hand sides.
Santon came in at left-back and it was mainly that side which was targeted in a first half which the home side dominated, with Nathan Dyer by far their most dangerous player, much as expected.
Despite an 80% possession figure in that first half, the Swans struggled to break Newcastle down as the midfield trio of Jonas, Tiote and Cabaye worked their socks off to prevent pressure on the back four. Sigurddson coming closest with a shot from well outside the area.
Swansea’s passing game was easy on the eye but they went in one down at halfway, a lovely first time Cabaye pass releasing Cissé who placed it across the Swansea keeper whose fingertips weren’t enough to prevent the goal.
The second half saw Ryan Taylor on for Cheick Tiote which will be a worry for Monday, though more immediately it didn’t change the flow of the game as Swansea carried on their possession play from the first half.
The other thing that hadn’t changed though was that Swansea found it very hard to break Newcastle down and for all their passing, when they got near the box they found it a lot tougher.
A deflection almost got the Swans back into it as a softish shot caught Williamson and Krul going to his right got his knee to the ball and it flashed past the opposite post.
On the hour mark United started to get a foothold and as Ben Arfa saw more of the ball so Newcastle became more and more involved in terms of possession.
On sixty nine minutes the ball broke to Cabaye who put another lovely ball into Cissé’s path and from inside the box on the left hand side he somehow scooped it over Vorm and into the net. Exquisite – ‘Papiss Cissé, he scores when he wants…’, nine goals in eight goals and counting.
Alan Pardew: “Papiss Cissé was our man of the match, of all our flair players he was the one that was really on it”.
By then Ba had made way for Ferguson with hopefully Alan Pardew just juggling his limited resources with Monday in mind, Demba had put in a good shift tracking back and with Newcastle seemingly on the defensive I couldn’t blame him.
A few minutes after the second goal, the manager put Gosling on for Cabaye who had put in an unbelievable shift, two superb assists and a non-stop running display covering every blade of grass.
No doubt many will give Cissé the man of the match but Cabaye would be mine, Pardew undoubtedly giving him every chance of being on top of his game in our next match against Bolton by giving him the last 20 or so minutes off.
Ben Arfa had shown composure when involved and like the rest of the team diligently tracked back. Perch and Williamson dealt with everything put in front of them but it must be easy not having to deal with the class of a ‘he scores when he wants’.
I thought both full-backs did really well, Santon seeing off Dyer in the first half and forcing him to change sides, while Simpson was bang on in terms of giving his opponent no space.
A talented opposition but Newcastle had the class, perspiration only gets you so far.
Swansea City: Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel, Ashley Williams (c), Steven Caulker, Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Joe Allen, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Nathan Dyer (Scott Sinclair 66), Luke Moore (Danny Graham 66), Wayne Routledge
Subs not used: Gerhard Tremmel, Alan Tate, Garry Monk, Josh McEachran, Mark Gower
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, James Perch, Mike Williamson, Davide Santon, Yohan Cabaye (Dan Gosling 73), Cheick Tiote (Ryan Taylor 46), Jonas Gutierrez (c), Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba (Shane Ferguson 59)
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, James Tavernier, Mehdi Abeid, Shola Ameobi
Referee: Howard Webb
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