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Michu set Swansea City on the road to a 2-1 victory at Newcastle United as Alan Pardew’s side, who were prevented from fielding Papiss Cisse because of a wrangle with the Senegal Football Federation, slipped to a second home defeat in seven days. Jonathan de Guzman’s goal three minutes from time secured the victory with Demba Ba’s injury-time strike a consolation for Newcastle.
Newcastle started nominally as 4-4-1-1, but at times, they resembled more 2-1-5-1-1 with right-back Danny Simpson repeatedly finding himself more advanced than winger Hatem Ben Arfa, and holding midfielder Cheick Tiote frequently outnumbered as Swansea broke at pace.
Michu, employed behind lone striker Itay Shechter, caused all kinds of problems for Newcastle central defender Mike Williamson with his intelligent movement.
The visitors might have struck the first blow when Nathan Dyer scuffed a sixth-minute shot across the face of goal and Tim Krul was relieved to clutch Pablo Hernandez’s long-range effort to his midriff four minutes later. Michu tested the Dutchman from distance with a curling left-footed effort with the Magpies short of inspiration.
However, as Ben Arfa picked up the baton, Newcastle gradually started to force their way into the game. The Frenchman blasted a right-footed effort into the side-netting and delivered a 27th-minute cross that Ba glanced just wide. It then took a fine one-handed save by Gerhard Tremmel to keep out Ben Arfa’s fizzing left-footed strike after he cut inside 12 minutes before the break.
As Newcastle pressed forward, Swansea took advantage of the space they left behind them and Krul had to save twice from Shechter in quick succession with his defence in disarray. He would have been helpless had Michu hit the target with a 41st-minute header after the Israeli had combined with Hernandez down the left.
Simpson had to get in a vital clearing header after Dyer had caught the Magpies flat-footed with a quick free-kick after the restart. Ba scuffed a volley after controlling Davide Santon’s cross on his chest and then Vurnon Anita almost capped good inter-play between the Ameobi brothers when he drilled inches over the top from 25 yards.
The chances were starting to come thick and fast and Ba might have scored twice inside a minute, first sidefooting wide from Sammy Ameobi’s driven cross and shooting straight at Tremmel after being played in by Ben Arfa.
Swansea could have been in front 10 minutes into the second half when Hernandez broke down the left and squared for Shechter, who took his time, but put a right-footed shot over. Krul had to dive to his right two minutes later to turn away Hernandez’s strike but there was nothing he could do seconds later when the same man latched on to his clearance and crossed for Michu to head firmly into the bottom corner.
Ba headed a 64th-minute Tiote cross towards goal, but without the power to trouble Tremmel, and then could not react quickly enough to direct Shola Ameobi’s driven cross on target three minutes later. Newcastle were grateful to see Michu miscue Hernandez’s 76th-minute cross wide.
But the sting in the tail arrived three minutes from time when Krul could only parry substitute Danny Graham’s shot and De Guzman smashed home the rebound from a tight angle, making Ba’s late header after substitute Sylvain Marveaux had struck the bar practically irrelevant.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew: "You have to understand that in a managerial career at any football club, you are going to have some times when things don't go for you. Now we have had a week where it really has conspired against us in a lot of ways.
"Jonas [Gutierrez] was so close to fitness. We were deciding on whether to play him yesterday and we felt with the injury he had, it was too risky, so he was very, very close.
"Then we had Papiss [Cisse] taken away from us, we had Shola [Ameobi] only arriving yesterday afternoon [from international duty with Nigeria], so we had a lot of things that didn't work for us this week.
"We kept getting promised that the decision was going to be overturned and that Senegal were going to let Papiss play, but we kept waiting and waiting and it was at about 1.40pm that we finally found out that wasn't going to happen. It did affect our preparation. Him missing today was a blow to us. We didn't feel we did anything wrong and he should have played."
“It's a concern, you don't want to lose and home game and we have lost two on the trot. But when you have a difficult period like we are having, you need your senior players in and around you and we haven't got them."
Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup: "It was the best away performance this season, including QPR and Liverpool.
"To come here and play Newcastle at a moment when we knew Newcastle really needed a win because they think they belong much higher than they are now after a home loss to West Ham a week ago, we knew it would be really difficult for us.
"But we put on a great performance. We can always discuss what is a big goal chance, but without my Swansea glasses, I can say we created at least eight or nine quite big chances, and that's very difficult to do as an away team against a team like Newcastle's."
|29 Dec 2012||v Arsenal (A)|
|20 Apr 2013||v West Brom (A)|
|14 Apr 2013||v Sunderland (H)|
|09 Feb 2013||v Spurs (A)|
|02 Feb 2013||v Chelsea (H)|
|26 Dec 2012||v Man Utd (A)|