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Newcastle must beat Norwich to boost survival chances: How important is the game for the Magpies who look to maintain their Premier League status?



Credit: @NUFC Instagram - the game at SJP will be under the lights and kicks-off at 7:30pm...

Not to be overdramatic BUT, The Magpies currently sit bottom of the Premier League table and are without a win in their first 13 league games for the first time in their history and must beat relegation rivals Norwich on Tuesday evening.

Most Newcastle supporters understand that the current predicament is a direct result of Mike Ashley’s tortuous 14-year stewardship of the club.

Eight of the current squad featured when the Toon played Norwich in the Championship back in 2016. The game ended in a memorable 4-3 victory with late goals from Yoan Gouffran and Dwight Gayle. 

Karl Darlow, Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, Matt Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey, Dwight Gayle and Isaac Hayden all played a part that day – highlighting the lack of quality in the current squad. 

Under Steve Bruce, relegation was a certainty.

The introduction of Eddie Howe as part of the new era created by the Saudi-led takeover, has given the city a lift and filled it with hope, excitement and expectation.

Howe’s front foot attacking style is something the Magpies have been starved of since Bobby Robson’s management. In his first game as manager, Howe created a buzz around SJP with comments about his attacking style and want to be successful on Tyneside.

It was certainly an entertaining affair which finished in a disappointing 3-3 draw with newly-promoted Brentford.

there were improvements in forward areas, but it was the same old story at the back as Newcastle shipped three goals at home for the third consecutive game. The Toon then travelled to Arsenal on Saturday where the difference in quality was expected but no less embarrassing. 

However it’s vital the new boss gets the support and time he deserves to try and fix fourteen years of horror. 

There are 8 games until the January transfer window opens, where Newcastle are expected to spend big in an attempt to save themselves from the realistic threat of relegation.

The current Premier League table…

The change in fortunes must come this week.

Firstly, with a win over fellow strugglers Norwich who have collected four points in two games under their new manager. Then the Mags must get three points against Burnley, also at St James’ Park.

Two victories in two games could close the significant gap to safety that seems to be widening with every game but doesn’t solve the defensive frailties that are clear for everyone to see. 

With the huge financial boost provided by the Takeover a couple of months ago, the atmosphere around the club has changed.

The potential to spend around £190million in January could be huge come the end of the season, meaning any points picked up before then will be a bonus.

But, anything less than six points from the next two games, both at SJP, would represent a disappointing return.

Especially given the upcoming fixtures in the Christmas period which include away games at Leicester and Liverpool before the home visits of both Manchester clubs.

Newcastle must gain some much-needed momentum and change the directly of the club before it’s too late. Being the richest club in the Championship is a distinct possibility if things don’t improve on the pitch, and fast.

The Team

Many may feel the decision to revert to a back four has already been made for Howe after the suspensions of Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie but the lack of depth in the squad is worrying. 

Cieran Clark may replace Lascelles but the better and more popular choice would be to bring Federico Fernandez out from the cold into the starting eleven.

Fernandez has been deemed widely as the best defender at the club and seems to organise the defensive line far better than the suspended no.6. He hasn’t featured since the abysmal performance away at Wolves which marked the predictable end of Steve Bruce’s tenure.

However, his inclusion on Tuesday evening seems a no brainer and would perhaps strengthen the back four.

Another player that seems to be out of favour is Spanish right-back Javi Manquillo, who has been one of the most creative players this season.

Providing 2 assists and scoring the well-worked goal at Old Trafford already means he has contributed more than the majority of players. He is often the preferred choice when reverting to four at the back, especially given the lack of options in that position. 

The 27-year-old played in Simeone at Atletico Madrid, albeit on just six occasions but does have some defensive knowhow. His ability to get forward and create may be able to help Newcastle in what promises to be a tight affair with the Canaries, making him most people’s first choice pick at right-back.

Jamal Lewis signed from the Canaries back in 2020 but has made just 25 appearances at left-back, despite the hope that he might be the exciting, forward thinking wingback the club needed to provide more attacking threat.

However, his lack of defensive positioning and struggles playing in a back four may be a deciding factor as to wether he features come this evening. He was a key part of the relegated Norwich side with one of the worst defensive records in the Premier League.

For me, it’s worth giving the lad a start to see if there is any improvement. Again, the lack of other options means that the 23-year-old is likely to part of the stating eleven and any other combination tried this season has failed to lead to a win.

Jacob Murphy may be Howe’s preferred option – only time will tell.

Howe is known for playing a 4-4-2 formation with plenty of forward runners and may be looking towards his preferred style come 7:30pm. With this in mind, it would be nice to see the defensive line shape up like this: 

If there was ever a game to attack, it’s Norwich at home. The Canaries have the worst attacking record in the league, netting just seven times in thirteen games. 

Newcastle set up defensively too often and have yet been put aside on seven occasions and conceded the most goals in the Premier League, 29.

Surely this puts into perspective that setting up to be hard-to-beat is long gone. It’s time to attack.

With that in mind, here is how we think the home side should set up in midfield for the must-win clash: 

This set-up gives Saint-Maximin the opportunity to focus on running at the defence and creating opportunities for his fellow attackers.

Likewise Joelinton, who is likely to put a foot in and help out defensively too. The Brazilian plays his best football on the left or right sides and was the star man last time out at St. James’ Park. 

The centre of midfielder is always a big talking point and tonight it will be no different.

Jonjo Shelvey has played both games under the new manager and is the most creative option in that position. He was decent against Arsenal despite having very little of the ball and having to chase the opposition all over the Emirates.

Isaac Hayden is the most defensive midfield option in the side and will provide the cover when Newcastle are attacking. He is a ball-winning midfielder and his performances are often underrated as a lot of his work goes unnoticed.

His passion and spirit is something that Newcastle are going to have to show a lot of in the next few months if they want to maintain their Premier League status come May.

Hayden could be an important player even if Howe spends big in January…

Joe Willock is yet to replicate his unstoppable form of last season but has been asked to defend a bit too much when playing in a midfield two.

The cover provided by two deep lying central players may give him the opportunity he needs to be a threat going forward and break the lines frequently to provide opportunities for the home side.

His attacking abilities were there for all to see last campaign and if given a more advanced role, the ex-Arsenal midfielder may be able to gain some confidence and put in a match-winning performance this evening at SJP. 

Striker Callum Wilson has severely lacked service all season buy has already managed to net a couple of important goals.

The experienced Englishman will be looking forward to the must-win battle with the hope of increasing his season goal tally while helping his side to their first victory of the campaign.

Hopefully the more forward thinking approach and the push to play at a higher-tempo will provide our talisman with plenty of chances.

Predicted Line-up

The 4-2-3-1 formation has the potential to become 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 very easily and perhaps there will be glimpses of style changes throughout the game, depending on how it is going. With the line-up listed below, the Magpies have the best chance of claiming their first three points – role on 7pm: 

HWTL – Our Prediction: 3-1 Newcastle (Wilson x2, Maxi x1)…

Pre-match thoughts? Who would make your starting eleven for the visit of Norwich this evening? Will Newcastle claim their first win of the season? 

Score predictions?

Join in the conversation and have your say…

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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United



North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..


“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”


Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.


What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.


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Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?




The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

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What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)



deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.


Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.


With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?


Toon are charging for Europe


If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.


Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 


In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.


Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed


Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 


Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.


Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.


Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 


On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.


Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.


Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 


With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?


So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?


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