Swansea v Newcastle
Sunday September 10 16:00
Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Swans swimming along nicely
You could have excused the doom and gloom amongst Swansea fansa couple of weeks ago. Star man Gylfi Sigurdsson was always going to leave the club and it was clear Fernando LLorente was going to join him sooner or later.
But not only have they been replaced with the returning Wilfried Bony, the hard-running Sam Clucas, on-loan Chelsea starlet Tammy Abraham and one of Europe's hottest prospects in Renato Sanches but they've banked a load of money in the process, too. The latter two came on loan and the Ivorian cost a fraction of what he was originally sold for.
It may be too early for Bony to start this one but Sanches might get a game, which would allow the Swansea faithful to see his all-action displays in the flesh for the first time. Clucas might play as well. He started three matches for Hull in The Championship before his move so certainly isn't short of match fitness.
Benitez with plenty to think about
Boy, did Newcastle need that 3-0 win just before the international break.
With little to get excited about in terms of transfers and back-to-back defeats early on including one to fellow promoted side Huddersfield, things were looking bleak. They're not out of the woods yet in terms of fan dissatisfaction and some think that Rafael Benitez may be running out of patience with matters in the north east but that 3-0 win has papered over the cracks for now, at least.
What is with Newcastle and acts of gross indiscipline? This one may have been the worst of the lot all those years ago but both the on-field sending off of Jonjo Shelvey and the retroactive punishment to Aleksandar Mitrovic are right up there with the stupidest and rashest acts of the season so far. Shelvey, who of course used to play for Swansea, returns for this one after serving his three-match ban.
You can see why Swansea are favourites at [2.56]. They've won three of the last four at home against this lot and bar an understandable thrashing at the hands of Man Utd that looked a lot worse than it was - three of the four goals were scored in the last 10 minutes of the match - they've been good. A decent 0-0 at Southampton and an impressive 2-0 win at Crystal Palace suggests Paul Clement is starting to shape this team his way and if those signings already mentioned gel then they could surprise a few people.
Newcastle look far too short at [3.35] for a promoted side with not too much to get excited about in terms of players against a now-established Premier League outfit. A lay of them should really see you secure a winning wager but that's not really how we do things around here.
In addition to Mitrovic, Dwight Gayle may also miss out due to injury. He may also miss out anyway as Benitez seem to have decided that after a fine scoring season in The Championships, he just isn't cut out for playing at this level. Gayle is 15/8 and that's a poor price for someone who's extremely unlikely to start. Joselu at 2/1? At least you'll get a run for your money with the Spaniard expected to lead the line but six goals in 24 games at Deportivo last season hardly suggest he's prolific.
If you're going to go for someone in this market, your best bet might be the favourite. Tammy Abraham, a man hardly short on confidence after helping himself to the Number 10 jersey despite just being on loan. Opta tell us he's scored 24 league goals since the start of 2016/17, the most of any player under 21. He got one at Palace and in the Capital One Cup a few days before that so is in some sort of form right now. He's 17/10 to score anytime but (see below why I say this), if you're going to back him, it may be better value to be with him for first goalscorer honours at 4/1.
Not only have Newcastle lost three of their last four here but all three of those were without scoring. They also failed to score in two of their three games so far this campaign.
Not that Swansea are any sort of hot shots themselves. They also failed to score in two of their first three games and that may be partly explained by the Opta stat that with just 27, they've had the fewest touches in the opposition's area of any Premier league side.
Yeah, this could be a low-scoring match decided by the single goal though 0-0 wouldn't shock too many observers, either. Covering all those outcomes by backing under 1.5 goals at [3.2].
Mike Jones averaged exactly four yellows game last season and exactly three this season. He did also show five reds last season from 30 games and with Newcastle's disciplinary problems we've mentioned.
Jamie's P and L:
Staked: 3 pts
Returned: 0 pts
P and L: -3