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Swansea City vs Newcastle United
Swansea go back to the Liberty Stadium as conquering heroes after winning the League Cup at Wembley this past Sunday but they face a far higher calibre of opposition in a resurgent Newcastle United side whose form has seen a dramatic upswing after their transfer dealings in the January transfer window.
(Right back Mathieu Debuchy looks a quality signing for the Magpies)
Moussa Sissoko has been the signing who's made the most eye-catching start to his St James Park career with 3 league goals already & he's also helping to bring the best out of striker Papiss Cisse who can blow hot & cold. Although Sissoko has been the star new signing so far Gouffran has also added another dimension up front & Mathieu Debuchy is real football playing right back & he's been important in bringing about 3 wins in their last 4, only losing to in form Spurs in that sequence. The games have all been high scoring too with 3, 5, 3 & 6 goals as Alan Pardew seems to have recognised his players are far more comfortable in attack than defence, they have a nice mix of physically gifted players & technical maestros to think they could make a decent side & they'll have enough to worry Swansea.
(Swansea will want to use their League Cup win as a platform to build on)
Swansea's success in the League Cup was great for them, pre-game we suggested the final was a formality & it worked out like that, but it is testament to Michael Laudrup & the club that they took the competition seriously & were deserved victors. They need to carry that feel-good factor through for the rest of the season as the higher up the table they finish the more prize money they'll receive & the more attractive a proposition they'll be to potential signings (& their coveted crop of current players!). They'll surely play a stronger team than when up against Liverpool two weeks back & they've got the players in their first eleven to compete against anyone (the squad as a whole needs strengthening though), Michu will be looking for his 16th league goal of the season & Nathan Dyer will surely still be pumped up from his brace in the final. If Swansea do concede & fall behind there's no way their fans will allow them to be passive & accept defeat so we can see a high tempo game on the cards.
The home fans will be in full voice for the Welsh side & that could mean that they play with a little more adrenaline than usual which could just maybe set this up to be a stormer, there have been 24 goals in their last 7 home league games & Newcastle have also looked incisive in recent games so 4/5 about over 2.5 goals looks a decent punt.
Morecambe vs Rochdale
Down in League Two, Morecambe entertain Rochdale at the Globe Arena. Morecambe are in 10th place currently still have a faint outside chance of a play-off place whilst are down in 15th position.
(Morecambe's Jack Redshaw will be looking to keep up his better than 1 goal in 2 scoring ratio)
Visitors Rochdale suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat at home against Accrington Stanley & it's been typical of their recent form since the turn of the year where have only won once & suffered five defeats. On the road they have struggled all season & they have failed to pick up any points in five of their last eight away games. They are leaky on the road & have conceded on average two goals per game which means results are always going to be hard to come by.
We expect Morecambe to be too strong for a leaky Rochdale side & grab the three points which will keep their small glimmer of hope in the play-off chase at the best odds of 13/10.
Over 2.5 goals Swansea City vs Newcastle United at 4/5 (SkyBet, Bet365 & Stan James)
Morecambe to beat Rochdale at 13/10 (SkyBet & BetVictor)