Swansea v Newcastle did not look like being one of the plum ties of Easter weekend when it first emerged on the fixture list last summer.
Yet football connoisseurs could well be licking their lips at the prospect of Brendan Rodgers’ graceful Swans hosting Alan Pardew’s sharp Magpies side on Good Friday.
Given the way Newcastle breezed past Liverpool last Sunday, as we predicted they would, odds of 19/10 against an away win are sure to tempt a lot of people.
Pardew is attracting praise for the way he has assembled what suddenly looks like the league’s most potent attacking trio in Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.
Those who can cast their mind back beyond the last fortnight’s sports pages though – and Newcastle’s three successive league wins – might recall that the Magpies have generally stuttered and stumbled rather than soared on the road of late.
Newcastle have lost an astonishing five of their last seven away trips in league and cup, which perhaps explains why Swansea are the 7/5 favourites in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
Goals from sensational loan signing Gylfi Sigurdsson have not made up for Danny Graham and Scott Sinclair losing their scoring touch – the club’s leading scorers have failed to find the net for the past six and eight league matches respectively.
The Swans, after all, can boast two wins and two draws against the current top five at home this season and their blend of elegant combination football is sure to test sixth-placed Newcastle’s defensive resolve.
So it seems likely that Swansea will control the possession on Friday evening, but their hopes of a victory are dampened by their unexceptional finishing.
Despite continued impressive team performances, goals from sensational loan signing Gylfi Sigurdsson have not made up for Danny Graham and Scott Sinclair losing their scoring touch – the club’s leading scorers have failed to find the net for the past six and eight league matches respectively.
If Newcastle can keep their own deadliness in front of goal, the prospect of their strikeforce cancelling out Swansea’s advantage in possession by securing a draw looks the best option on offer at 9/4.
Anyone using the free £25 bet for joining bwin.com on Swansea and Newcastle to draw would pocket winnings of £81.25 if a stalemate is indeed the outcome at the Liberty Stadium.
Another stat which has been easy to overlook amid the acclaim that Swansea rightfully receive is that Rodgers’ team have mustered fewer goals this campaign (35) than relegation-threatened Bolton and Blackburn.
Should Swansea struggle to find their mark in front of goal but keep Newcastle off the ball with their fluent passing game, backing a goalless first half at 37/20 could be a wise alternative if you don’t fancy the draw.
Recommended bet: Swansea and Newcastle to draw @ 9/4
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