Burnley face the full-bore roar of SJP

Sean Dyche is a complex man. He has the affable nature of a Hollyoaks pub landlord, the dress sense of a mid-tier Nordic Noir gangster, and the voice of a 60-year-old Latvian prostitute with no gag reflex.

He is also a managerial genius, performing miracles on minute budgets and even bringing European football to Turf Moor not so long ago. The Europa League takes clubs to far-flung, underdeveloped places and it must have been harrowing for travelling fans to see the deprivation and hardship suffered by the unintelligible toothless locals, before leaving Burnley with a sign of relief.

Sean Dyche might sound like a man who not only smoked crack but decided to chew and swallow the glass pipe, but he’s one of the most astute bosses in the business. He has fashioned a Burnley side which play with such joyless pragmatism that they bring a tear to the eye of Sam Allardyce. The Clarets approach each game with all the grim charisma of a Christmas special from Mrs Brown’s Boys. They can suck the fun out of a football match quicker than you can say “Colin Robinson”.

This will be vital to their strategy on Saturday because St James’ Park has reawakened. More of a 12th beast than a 12th man, the crowd played a key role in the 3-3 with Brentford and a critical one on Tuesday as ten men gave everything they had for the fans. Burnley will be desperate to keep quiet a crowd that has rediscovered its voice – and what a voice. If I was to pick one thing that embodies the North-East, it would be the full-bore roar of SJP. At times this feral chorus is like a living thing, encapsulating passion, pride, hunger, and hope, all at once. It is the battle cry our ancestors roared in defiance at the marauding Scots, the charge of the Northumberland Fusiliers. On Saturday, it could be the difference in claiming all three points.

Howe approaches this game with a better idea of his starting 11 than he’s ever had – and bizarrely, Joelinton’s name will be first on the team sheet after two tremendous games against Norwich and Brentford. More importantly, our back line should be settled now with Lewis and Manquillo at full back, while Schar and Fernandez hold the centre. Neither CB is particularly pacey, but then there are pensioners with long covid who are faster than Burnley’s forwards – it will be much more of a physical contest.

Burnley know how to defend, as they showed in a turgid 0-0 against Wolves on Wednesday. Therefore, we will have to move the ball quicker than we have done to date if we are to break them down. And if ever there was a game in which the recently off-colour ASM needs to shine, it is this one. Nothing less than three points will do.

Prediction: 3-1

Danger man: Chris Wood

Dan Jenkins / @PlumsGinger

‘Must win game: episode 3’

Here we are again. Another ‘must win’ home game for NUFC after the previous ‘must wins’ against Brentford and Norwich ended in draws despite encouraging displays. At some stage soon those two words will lose all meaning as the team in 17th extends their lead over us, unless the side can put together a consistent 90-minute performance and secure three points.

Eddie Howe has clearly had an uplifting and positive impact on this side, evidenced by the individual performances of two players whose days on Tyneside looked numbered. Joelinton has been excellent in two of Howe’s three games, looking a threat and using his physicality well, whilst Jonjo Shelvey is starting to offer endeavour alongside the incisive passing he’s always been capable of. Add into the mix the reintroduction of Fabian Schar, Martin Dubravka, Jamal Lewis and (albeit forced) Fede Fernandez, and the team is starting to look like our strongest XI.

Howe now needs to settle on a team and give it a run as we enter a hectic Christmas period. No game can be ‘written off’ regardless of the opposition. Palace beating City and West Ham defeating Liverpool in recent weeks shows the big teams we are due to face in December can be overcome, however unlikely that sounds as I write this.

For this Saturday though, all that matters is coming away with the win against a doughty Burnley side who will pose their usual physical challenge. Anything other than that, and the talk of ‘must win’ games really will sound totally hollow. Just win.

Howay the Lads!

Danger man: Maxwel Cornet. The pacy forward has registered five goals in nine appearances since joining the Clarets.

Result: A nervy 2-1 victory (as long as we keep 11 men on the field!)

Craig Shaw         @shawzey15


Normally with Burnley at home to only thing to look forward to is leaving. It’s usually desperate between two awful teams who won’t commit to try and win. Enough to turn you off Football permanently.

This time seems different . I might be the only person in the world holding this position,  but after Tuesday when we didn’t win the must win, I seem to have mellowed to the idea that if we are going to go down,

I’m certainly not going to torture myself every time we play. If we win on Saturday, it will be fantastic but after everything that’s happened so far this Autumn which still seems like a dream (Ashley/Bruce/Charnley gone plus the takeover) I’m going to try and enjoy the games, sing my heart out and for the first time in years,  enjoy myself.

We can’t go on saying we must win, or we are down, I’m becoming more accepting of the situation we are in and our weaknesses. They are everywhere people that’s why we are bottom.

That said I’m desperate to get that first win on the board and I’d like it to be Saturday as the fixture list looks to us like it did for the damsel in distress, tied to the train lines, with the whistle of the train in the distance.

They always got rescued by a hero in the end. Always.

Have we got it in us to defeat Burnley? Of course, we have. We play like we did the other night or against Brentford without a bullet to the foot and we will win.

My main worry with that is that the Clarets are much better than either of those, more streetwise and that’s why I think it might be another draw. It does nothing for our situation, granted, but Newcastle are reborn whether it’s in the Championship or not.

Howay you useless Bastards!!

Scott Robson

Only a matter of time…

All eyes are on St James Park this Saturday as bottom of the table side Newcastle United host 18th placed Burnley in the Premier League as they attempt to record their first win of the campaign in what will be their 15th attempt this season.

The hosts will be hoping to fight back after their draw against Norwich earlier in the week with Teemu Pukki’s late second half goal spoiling the chances of the Magpies gaining their first three points of the season. Burnley will be looking for a better performance too after their draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers during the week.

The draw against Norwich means that the magpies are still the only club in the topflight without a win this season. Burnley have drawn four out of their last five fixtures away from Turf Moor this season.

Both of these sides seem to be called as draw specialists with a combination of 14 out of the 28 games played between them. The two teams have already met in the League Cup this season which The Clarets won 4-3 on penalties following a goalless 90minutes. Last season the Magpies won both their fixtures between the sides and will be hoping to extend their run of just one defeat in the 8 times they have faced each other. Newcastle will be hoping that Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin can continue their goal scoring records against The Clarets with them both scoring two goals each in their last two league games between the sides.

Magpies boss Eddie Howe will be without Centre Back Ciaran Clark who will miss out through suspension after his dismissal against Norwich. Matt Ritchie and Jamal Lascelles will be back in contention after serving their one match ban from collecting 5 yellow cards. Only time will tell whether Federico Fernandez keeps his place in the team with Lascelles coming back, personally I think Schar and Fernandez work well together and that would be my choice.

Sutty’s Match Prediction: I’m going with a Newcastle victory. I fully believe Eddie Howe and the boys have got what it takes to steer the club to safety, and you can tell there has been a massive improvement in the squad since he arrived. Joelinton for me keeps getting better and better, I’m over the moon he is finally getting the chance to show how good he can be and it’s only a matter of time before he finds the net more regularly.

Newcastle 2 Burnley 0 with Joelinton and Wilson finding the net.

Jack Sutton @jsuttonwrites

Heavy lifting…

We played well (in spells) against Brentford and got little. We were average against Arsenal and got what we deserved. Considering the situation, I thought we did ok against Norwich too. And Howe is 100% making a difference to the fans, and the players. He’s lifted the place.

Thing is, the lift means little if there isn’t something tangible from it. Brentford, Norwich, Arsenal and Burnley needed to yield a minimum of 7 points. And I think we’ll be lucky to end up with three. We must be better defensively, and we cannot make individual errors every week. It’s as simple as that. I really think that anything other than 3 points on Saturday and we aren’t staying up. It’s that massive a game.

But it’s really not easy. Burnley have lost once (by one goal to Man City) since the end of September. Once. They’re capable of goals, are hard to break down and love a draw. This is a huge game but perhaps not the “If we play well, we’ll win” type game that many think. Ultimately, they’re a threat at set pieces and by defending effectively. They love to be physical and will fancy themselves in that sort of battle against our feathery defence.

Come what may, we have to win. A draw isn’t good enough. We can’t have another “tough luck” story regardless of what happens in the game. It’s as simple as that. I don’t who scores or how we play. We need 3 points come 5pm on Saturday. It’s as black and white as that.

Dai Rees  @colemans_dream

Winning is a habit it would be nice to try

We are close to running out of must win games, that we don’t win, before it becomes a problem. In a lot of games this season we have been undone by stupid mistakes that make us look like relegation fodder. Darlow against Brentford, Lascelles against Southampton, Clark against Norwich and Brighton are all mistakes that have ultimately cost us points and in three cases probably wins. What next for a team that is going into unchartered territory. Remember Sheffield United away last season, that’s us now – so we need to play us to win!

With that negativity out the way, we need to see some or all of the players who made up our side for the best part of an hour involved on Saturday. Would be great to see Lewis get his confidence back by getting a regular run in the team, Fraser should come back in and hopefully get longer than nine minutes. Fernandez should be in the back four, I personally wouldn’t change the midfield and ASM always has a good game against Burnley.

The final step on the road to the win is making sure we keep eleven men on the park, don’t play hoof ball against their defenders (they love it), get it down and run at them. Try and play a bit of football like we have seen since Howe arrived, with a system, a plan, and an idea that keeping the ball is a good idea. Can we stay up? I think we need a minimum of six points before the new year, over to you lads.

Stephen Ord @smord84