Premier League

Key Battles: Bundesliga Loanees May Decide Swansea v Newcastle

 • by James Nalton
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Newcastle United travel to South Wales on Sunday where they face Swansea City in the 4pm televised game.

Both sides have had mixed starts to the season, with Newcastle winning one and losing two, while Swansea have one of each: a win, a draw, and a loss.

The two teams are expected to be taking up similar positions in the table come the end of the season, but there will be no reason why either of them can’t banish their bottom half expectations and make a push at the other end of the table, just behind the big six.

Jonjo Shelvey vs Swansea fans

Jonjo Shelvey returns from suspension for Newcastle and there is the possibility that he’ll play against his former club.

Though he had some good moments in a Swansea shirt and was often one of the clubs more creative forces in midfield during his time there, he could get a mixed reaction when he returns on Sunday.


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Former Swansea and Wales winger Leighton James believes that the player won’t get the best of welcomes, and this atmosphere has the potential to expose the Englishman’s bad side.

“Jonjo is a talented player but he was often frustrating to watch. He could be inconsistent and his discipline let him down,” James told The Mag.

“That discipline is a key thing for a player and his sending off on the opening day of the season for stamping on Dele Alli showed it is an area he still has to work on.

“He had some great moments for Swansea but I would not expect him to have a good reception.

“The final memory Swansea fans will have off his time at the club was the way he played and conducted himself at Oxford in the FA Cup.

“People do not forget things like that and he will have to be ready and able to handle a few boos and some hostility heading his way on Sunday.”

Mikel Merino vs Renato Sanches

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Perhaps the most mouthwatering battle will be the one between the two clubs exciting summer signings in the midfield department.

Both 21-year-old Mikel Merino and 20-year-old Renato Sanches have been tipped for big things in the game.

Yet they have arrived in the Premier League from Bundesliga clubs, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively, where they were considered surplus to requirements.

Merino is the slightly more defensive player of the two, but has the tendency to burst forward from his starting position as a deep lying playmaker.

Sanches, meanwhile, on loan from Munich, is an energetic and talented central midfielder who will try to control several aspects of the game from the middle of the park.

While on the face of it this televised game might not be the obvious choice for a Sunday afternoon’s entertainment, these two midfielders could provide a surprisingly cultured spectacle.

Ciaran Clark vs Wilfried Bony

Swansea’s signing of Wilfried Bony on deadline day could be a game-changer when it comes to deciding whether they end up in a relegation scrap or a comfortable mid-table position.

Having returned to the club following a spell at Manchester City where he was rarely first choice, and even spent last season on loan at Stoke City, he now has the chance to regain the form which saw the Manchester club pay over £25million for him in 2015.

Ciaran Clark will have a tough time containing the striker if he’s firing on all cylinders as he possesses great power, pace, and a vicious shot if he’s given space.

Since the injury to Florian Lejeune in the first game of the season, Newcastle have found themselves with the same central defence which they used in the Championship. Bony will certainly keep them honest and provide a test of Clark’s credentials as a Premier League level defender.Bony at Swansea

Christian Atsu vs Mike van der Hoorn

If Swansea stick with the back three they’ve used in the last two games, then Mike van der Hoorn could find himself up against Christian Atsu, who has started all three of Newcastle’s games this season and is now looking to push himself to the next level.

“For me, it’s very important that I keep working,” said the Ghanaian.

“We have a lot of talent – we have great players who are playing also wide, the same position as I play. I need to push myself to another level.”

The winger joined on a permanent deal this summer after spending the last season on loan at St James’ Park from Chelsea.

After a number of loan moves from the London club, it now finally feels like the 25-year-old is able to get his career settled and on the right track.

Van der Hoorn and the rest of the Swansea defence will hope that he waits another week before taking his game to the next level.

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