Premier League preview: Swansea v Newcastle United
By Football News
Moussa Sissoko shapes as Newcastle United's key man as Alan Pardew's side aim for a third straight win when they travel to Swansea.
Sissoko has already proven himself as a fine acquisition since joining Newcastle United from Toulouse in the January transfer window, scoring three goals and setting up two others since he made his debut in a 2-1 victory away to Astron Villa.
Since that win on January 29, Sissoko has helped Newcastle United to three more victories across all competitions, while the north-east club have won all but one of their past four fixtures in the English Premier League.
A win over newly-crowned League Cup champions Swansea on Saturday could see Pardew's men move as high as 10th, depending on other results.
Considering Newcastle United looked in danger of relegation just over a month ago, it has been an impressive turnaround by Pardew and his players with Sissoko and the rest of the club's French connection playing a key role.
Pardew will hope two other members of his French troupe will be fit for the trip to Wales with Yohan Cabaye battling an illness, while Hatem Ben Arfa is expected to be ready after over a month out with a hamstring injury.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup faces a new challenge after leading the Welsh club to their first-ever major trophy last week.
Laudrup needs to reinvigorate his team and get them ready for the run home in the Premier League.
Swansea have won just twice in the Premier League this year (3-1 over Stoke and 4-1 against Queens Park Rangers) and slipped to ninth after their 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool two weeks ago and West Bromwich Albion's 2-1 triumph versus Sunderland over the weekend.
With just 10 points separating eighth-placed Liverpool and Sunderland in 15th, Laudrup will know how quickly Swansea's season could turn into a slog to avoid relegation, especially if his players have a mental rest following their 5-0 win over Bradford City at Wembley.
The positive ahead of the visit of Newcastle is that Swansea have only lost two Premier League games at Liberty Stadium this season and have claimed two wins and a draw in their three home matches of 2013.