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 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.
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.
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?
Join in the conversation and have your say…
Police Alerted After Newcastle United Fan Urinates On Statue Devoted to Sunderland Legend
Police have been alerted about social media footage which appears to show a Newcastle United fan urinating on a statue of Sunderland football legend Bob Stokoe.
The tribute, outside Sunderland’s Stadium of Light ground, recreates the late Stokoe’s famous dance across Wembley’s turf after he had masterminded the club’s 1-0 FA Cup final victory over Leeds United.
Footage has now emerged on social media of a male wearing a Newcastle United change shirt while apparently urinating on the statue.
In response to the images, a Sunderland Football Club spokesperson said on Monday: “This matter has been referred to the police and we will not be making any further comment at this moment in time.”
Stokoe, ironically, is also a hero and an FA Cup winner on Tyneside. Born in 1930 in Mickley, in Northumberland, the central defender made 261 appearances for Newcastle United and was a member of their 1955 FA Cup final winning team.
Arriving at Sunderland in November 1972 while they were struggling towards the bottom of Division Two, he plotted the club’s FA Cup final triumph in May the following year before guiding the Black Cats back to the top flight in 1976.
He resigned just months later following a poor start to their Division One. Stokoe died at the age of 73 in 2004 in Hartlepool after suffering from pneumonia.
Newcastle Fan Gets ‘Attacked’ by Aiden McGeady in Bar With Sunderland First Team
A video was published to Twitter which shows a Newcastle fan get ‘attacked’ by Aiden McGeady in a bar with the Sunderland first team.
Twitter user @rheppellhardy, who has since deleted his account following backlash, wrote a tweet on Wednesday night explaining what happened in a Stack venue, before the post started to gain traction.
He said: “Why the fuck has the actual Sunderland first team come and started on me and big Premier League Aiden McGeady ripped me top in the stack 🤣🤣🤣.
He issued the above video before captioning it with: “Someone who I’ve never heard of said how much are yous on ur skint 🤣 league 1 yina”
Again he wrote in another post: “Scuse me mate can a have a word, do you know who I am” 🤣🤣 No fucking clue mate”
There were plenty of reaction tweets too….
@worthy_noah: “I remember my first pint aswell mate”
@worthy_noah: “Not sure I went on like this much of a cock like”
@MackemTalk_: “You saw the state of you lad he’d Snap you in half But again You had to act like the Big man Because Your boyfriends where with you”
Did you see what happened?
Fans urged to clap at Newcastle match in memory of teen
Fans are being encouraged to clap at Newcastle match on Saturday in memory of teen who died from cancer.
Mason Kirk passed away suddenly from a rare form of cancer in January – ITV reports.
The family of the 17-year-old are urging people to clap at the 17th minute of the Newcastle vs Brighton match.
His dad Michael told ITV News Tyne Tees: “After complaining about back pain for several weeks and unsuccessful trips to a walk-in centre, and his GP, I took him to A&E where he received an MRI scan that showed lesions in his spine.
“We were transferred to the RVI, which is where we received a diagnosis no parent wants to hear – aggressive and inoperable late-stage ATRT cancer in his spine and brainstem”
“Mason died on the 27 January, just nine days after he was diagnosed.
“It’s took awhile for me to pull myself round (as I suffer from severe mental illness). So I decided to begin organising something to raise awareness of ATRT and teen cancer, and to pay tribute to our beautiful brave son.
“Mason was an avid Newcastle United fan, I took him to his first game when he was 6 and he caught the NUFC bug. Later, he and his friends bought season tickets.”
Michael continues: “Mason’s memory will live on through myself, his Mam Leanne, his little brother Alfy, cousin Liam and the rest of our family.
“He was the nucleus of our lives…our world is shattered but we cannot let our courageous son’s story go untold.”
“We realise things are tight for a lot of us at the minute but we’d like any donations to go to Great North Children’s Hospital or the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”
ITV also said that Mason will feature in the programme.
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