MATCH PREVIEW: Norwich City v Newcastle United, Carrow Road, 2/Apr/16, KO: 3pm, Premier League.

by • April 1, 2016 • Match previewsComments (10)1969

So it’s come down to this.  In a remote part of the country, in front of less than 30k, the future of Newcastle United is to be decided.  I’m an optimist. I think Moussa Sissoko is a good player.  I think Mitrovic and Mbemba will be worth £30m each (maybe more for Chancel) within 4 seasons. Tim Krul can be the world’s best keeper.  However I do not think that Newcastle United will be a Premier League side if we lose in East Anglia on Saturday.

SJP scoreboard 6-2 Norwich Home, 18.10.15I’ve said publicly that Benitez will keep this side up, I still think he will.  However I forgot that this is Newcastle United and the team has to have at least 5 first team players out of any important game.  They’re the rules.  I gather Benitez spoke to Keegan, Shearer and the like before taking the job up here.  he should have spoken to Souness and Pardew and asked them how one club could consistently lose players to training ground injuries.  Colocinni is still out.  Not injured during a game.  Haidara – injured again in training.  Tiote.  Any ideas? Janmaat might be out.  Krul and Elliot both injured on international duty.  Serious injuries that most goalkeepers avoid in their whole career.  Both keepers have sustained serious injuries in the last few years.  It’s happening too often across the club to be coincidence.  It’s boring.

I’ve realised that even a draw (assuming Sunderland beat a hopeless West Brom who’ve given up, again) might not be enough.  I noticed this when worrying about whether I would have to start driving to all the midweek home games next season.  If the Championship was only fun because of Level 7?  If Benitez and the players are constantly saying they’re ‘not even contemplating relegation’ then why am I?  I can’t help feel that the game is up if we lose Saturday.  I have total faith in Rafa Benitez.  I would back us to win comfortably with anything like a full strength team.  The problem is we may be heading there with Moussa Sissoko and Vurnon Anita playing fullback.  Shelvey is one yellow card from a two game ban.  Karl Darlow has played with success in the second tier of English football but he was shocking on his only appearance this season. Even he’s suffered a serious injury this season.  

DeliaSmithNorwich are nothing special but they’re everything we haven’t been.  They try.  Their young manager gets everything out of a limited squad.  Their players aren’t constantly injured.  they only have two injuries this weekend in Redmond and Tettey.  Two first team players but it’s better than the 11 (eleven) we have out (again).  Norwich haven’t won at home in the league since they beat Southampton on January 2nd.  They’ve conceded only once in their last three games and last time out they won at West Borm which has piled the pressure on us and Sunderland.  With a superior goal difference of four goals, they have a 3 point cushion on us going on 4 points.  Were they to beat us by two or three goals, then it would be effectively a 7 point cushion with 7 games to go.  Too much.

There is hope, however.  We have the manager.  Against Sunderland, with all sorts of players in mental positions we looked more likely to win the game.  The confidence seemed to come flooding back at the end.  Norwich were torn apart when we hammered them at our place in October in what was the highlight of Steve McClaren’s pathetic tenure as United boss.  Those scars should still be there for Norwich’s players and Winjaldum and Sissoko enjoyed their best days is black n white.  Alex Neil knows that a win puts him in a shoot out against Sunderland, Norwich’s next opponent at home.  A draw is a good result for Norwich, so how does he approach this one.  This is their season.  Us, Palace and the mackems back to back.  You’re looking at 5 points minimum from that lot.  After that it’s Arsenal, Man Utd, Watford and Everton to complete their season.  Best get the job done early.

We need to win, so we need to score.  We need to be positive.  I’m sure we will be.  Norwich don’t play counter attacking SHUT-UP-FOOLfootball like we can, they need to control the game to create chances.  Benitez will exploit this and hopefully we’ll be full of pace with Sissoko and Townsend.   Siem De Jong has to start.  Perez and Winjaldum starting together  doesn’t work.  De Jong brings other players into it.  He owes us big for that miss against Vile.  Mitrovic will get the nod over Cisse and Shelvey will play alongside Winjaldum again if Tiote isn’t fit (hopefully he will be).  We need Shelvey to get forwards more so I would play Saivet but i’d imagine Benitez doesn’t fancy him.  I’m getting really nervous as I type all of this.  It’s a massive game.  When I was younger and going to lots of away games teams like Sheff U and Wigan played in these type of win or bust games while we romped to 7 wins in a row under Glenn Roeder.  My away record this season sits at played 5, lost 5, scored 0.  I’m there again on Saturday and really dreading the drive back the following day with the realisation NUFC could be a Second Division Club once again.  Everything bar the manager screams relegation.  The owner, the ‘board’ and the previous manager.  Benitez can only do so much.  

Still, Norwich are shite.  We’ve been worse but look like an actual team now.  Seb Bassong is their captain and he’s not that good.  None of their players would get in our side (probably) and we’ve the best manager in the league.  Win against this lot and we’ll stay up, I’m sure of it.  Benitez will have had two weeks with the squad bar internationals.  I think we’ll see a difference and will build on the good work that was noticeable in the previous two fixtures.  Under Benitez we’ve become disciplined and compact.  Add goals and we’ll be fine.  We don’t do stupid red cards any more.  We don’t let our heads drop at the slightest sign of adversity.  3,000 mags in Norwich.  Travelling to see goals.

Prediction – United win.

ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892 

Don’t forget you can still access Issue 124 of Newcastle United’s number one fanzine. Just click on the image below and its all yours in its technicolor glory. With some Black & White as well, obviously.

Related Posts

10 Responses to MATCH PREVIEW: Norwich City v Newcastle United, Carrow Road, 2/Apr/16, KO: 3pm, Premier League.

  1. mikey says:

    Nah man. It’ll be a draw and that is not the end of our season.

    Relegation rivals often draw against each other in ‘win or bust games’, then go and get daft results at better clubs with nowt to play for.

    This attitude will sink us tbh. I agree, for once, that the fans will play a vital role in the run in. So ee can;t be going into games winding ourselves up and with the shit or bust mentality, thinking if we don;t win we’re doomed. That’ll feed through to the players and the atmosphere of club. If we all go mental if we get beat tomorrow , benitez will be asked, ‘well the fans think you are down?” etc. Its not a good approach to the run in.

    We’ll get a draw, and then we’ll do something daft like beat southamtpon or liverpool away. Nowt to play for teams. Tottenham last game at home having lost the league to leicester already imo and thinking about euros. Palace at home will be bouncing, as will Man City.

    Tomorrow is a winnable game, but as are the ones we are all writing off in our heads. It never works where you pencil in the ‘easier’ wins and write off the harder ones.

    Keep the faith.

    (And norwich claims to have more pubs per square mile than any other city in england apparently. Happy Days)

  2. Anton says:

    I’m with Mikey on this one – 70th minute at 0-0, and you’ll see both teams taking the ball to the corner flags. There’s too much to lose. I agree, what happens on Saturday is not season defining. We need to make the effort to win every single game of football no matter if we are in a relegation battle, mid-table or the champions league final.
    One of the big problems of the Pardew/McClaren eras was exactly this sort of “strategising”: let’s throw the game vs Liverpool and bet the farm on the next “winable” fixture. Let’s declare half the first team unfit for an FA Cup game vs Brighton – we have the battle for 12th place next week.
    Who’d have thought this attitude would breed a losing mentality across the team? Who’d have thought that players would stop taking the manager and the club seriously? Duh!

    Even if we lose the game tomorrow, there are plenty of points to be had… as long as we start wanting to play football again. I see Rafa more as a psychotherapist than a coach/manager at this point. I wish him all the luck in the world.

  3. mike says:

    never mind the fans its the players who have let us down. Its up to them to prove themselves, if the cant play for Rafa then they should be oot the door

  4. John says:

    If we are beaten we are down, and it will be time for a much needed clear out from Ashley down to Colluccini.

  5. Peter Shearer says:

    If we are to go down, please let it be decided before the final home game. Then at least fans will get a chance to let Mr Ashley know how they feel about it, instead of the usual pathetic calls for “support” from the fans. The lack of support from the fans has never been an issue. The mismanagement of our club has.

  6. mike says:

    down and out

  7. tomb says:

    I’m hoping for an end of season DVD titled ‘Rafas miracle’. We need 4 wins from 7 which is a real tall order but if Norwich get 2 more wins we are probably down. If Sunderland beat norwich and we win our next home game it all opens up again

  8. tom says:

    5/1 for us to survive if anyone fancies a bet. 8 to one on to go down!

  9. Andy bee says:

    Cut the shit we are down whatever ‘odds ‘ the bookies spout. So disjointed again today Rafa can’t change this shower in time to keep us up. Shame on virtually all of you so called players , special mention to Gini and moussa again ……wow so shit…..actually great great players (probably)…….but couldn’t give a rats shit about nufc……f8ck off the pair of you!

  10. tom says:

    See there are tweets from true faith saying we need to resort to measures to force out Ashley does that include giving up season tickets as large numbers are still paying into Ashleys account some have tried giving up as don’t want to be associated with Ashleys regime but the majority still complain but carry on paying him