The recent dearth of goals has caused concern for both Swansea City and Newcastle United in recent matches. But finding that missing offence takes on a greater urgency for the Swans heading into their match Saturday at St James' Park as they continue their fight to avoid the drop.
Manager Garry Monk's team has been held scoreless for 195 minutes since Wayne Routledge tallied in the 75th minute to complete a 3-0 victory over Norwich City on March 29. Swansea City (8-9-17) have since slumped to consecutive defeats, including a frustrating 1-0 home loss to Chelsea on Sunday in which they played with 10 men for 74 minutes after Chico Flores was booked twice in a two-minute span early in the first half.
Despite playing short-handed, the Swans had more shots on goal than Chelsea - 4-2 - and proved resolute in defence until being breached by Demba Ba in the 68th minute. With his team only three points above the relegation zone, Monk realises playing a Magpies team also struggling to find their form may provide the needed lifeline for Swansea City to stay in the top flight.
"We've been looking over our shoulders for a while now," admitted Monk, whose team has taken just four points from their last 11 away matches since their last road win Nov. 23 at Fulham. "It's a serious situation, we know that, and we need to get some points on the board as soon as possible. Newcastle is a chance to get three points and that's what we'll be aiming for.
"We've been far too inconsistent. At times we can be unplayable, but at the other end of it, when we do perform badly, we're very bad. It's crunch time now and I want us to get wins and finish with as many as possible."
Newcastle (14-4-16) are comfortably mid-table - entering this match in ninth place - but their goal-scoring woes have been on full display during a four-match skid on the bounce in which they've been outscored 12-0 while putting only 10 shots on frame. The Magpies, whose lone goal in six matches was Papiss Cisse's injury-time strike that provided a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on March 22, were on the wrong end of a 1-0 verdict last Saturday at Stoke City in which they registered only one shot on goal.
"We lack creative flair and we lack a little bit of ability in and around the box," lamented manager Alan Pardew. "The Cabaye loss and Loic (Remy) on top of that have made it difficult for us to create. I think the frustration has boiled over a little bit and we need to settle it down, and the only way to settle it down is to get a win."
The rough patch on offence is the worst scoring drought for Newcastle in more than a quarter-century, dating back to their six-match goalless spell in the old First Division from Oct. 29-Dec. 3, 1988.
Swansea ran out 3-0 winners in the reverse fixture at Liberty Stadium. Nathan Dyer scored in stoppage time in the first half, and Newcastle were condemned to defeat on an own goal by Mathieu Debuchy in the 66th minute before Jonjo Shelvey added a third late. The Swans have enjoyed their previous two trips to St. James' in the top flight with a win and a draw and are trying to do the double for a second consecutive season.