Hold me…

As soon as Stuart Atwell took the whistle from his mouth on Saturday afternoon my mind turned to 19:30pm on Tuesday – and if I am honest, I am shitting myself.

I’ve taken a half day holiday, the lad is finishing college early,and we will make the c.100-mile trip up the coast for what is as big a game as Newcastle United have faced in their recent history – win and we will collectively bounce into Saturday’s game against another eminently beatable team with a spring in our step, lose however and the Barrack Road faithful will all but give up any remaining hope that we can pull off the greatest of great escapes.

Eddie Howe and his charges are about to be presented with an opportunity that they simply cannot afford pass up – and I for one, am confident that they won’t.

Enforced changes at the back will see our backline finally rid of the walking accidents that are Lascelles and Ritchie – fortunately our manager hasn’t been forced to drop them, allowing him to avoid the potentially negative impact that this could’ve had on morale given their senior status in the dressing room

Replace them with Lewis and Fede, bring in Manquillo for Krafth and that is a back four that will give us a base from which to get after Dean Smith’s Canaries.

Joe Willock, for all that we owe him after last season’s heroics, needs to be taken out of the firing line and should be replaced by Isaac Hayden, who in my opinion is the ideal foil for the much-improved Jonjo Shelvey, who all of a sudden looks like the player we know he can be – when he plays well, Newcastle United play well.

Up top, I’d like to see the currently out of sorts Calum Wilson supported by the triumvirate of ASM, Miggy and Joelinton whose collective aim should be to press Norwich back into their own half, ensuring that their supply line of Max Aarons and Brandon Williams are too preoccupied to cause our own full backs too many problems.

Get after them from kick off, give the crowd something to get behind and the three points are there for the taking.

And then there is the part we as fans have to play; yes its ‘only’ Norwich City who historically aren’t a club that will turn St James Park into the bear pit we all know and love – but we have to be at it on Tuesday: we have to be feral; we have to howl against for every decision that doesn’t go our way; we have to vociferously back Joelinton after his latest effort ends up in row z.

Our club needs us on Tuesday, more than any time in its recent history – and I for one plan on walking away from St James Park totally fucking hoarse.

It’s time for everyone connected with Newcastle United to stand up.

Lee Forster @LeeDForster

Right, this is it

Must win, can’t lose, whichever way you look at it this is Newcastle short of options.

That’s why I worry about a game like this. Newcastle in a must win game generally doesn’t end well.

We have seen it through the generations. When the pressure is wrapped around us like cellophane, we certainly don’t stick out our chests and rip off the shackles do we? This simply has to change.

This could be our biggest top-flight game since we faced the canaries in our last relegation season and lost 3-1. A repeat here has serious ramifications for the players here and the ones we want to bring in.

That’s for another day but suffice to say no one OF NOTE will want to join us in a million years if we can’t get two wins this week.

The changes that a load of fans have been wanting will happen this Tuesday as Ritchie and Lascelles will be suspended. Two players that have been suffering badly with form but two big voices in a side who are meek at the best of times, for me personally I think I’d actually preferred them in for this one (says me who’s slaughtered both lately).

The panic is real, but we have to be patient, try not to lose the game from the stands, stick with the side if it’s not going our way by the 15-minute mark. If we win 1-0 in injury time it’sas precious as blowing them away early. Keep the ball, keep the pressure up and Norwich will succumb, new manager or not they have proven away from home to be flaky. Like us.

We need more from attacking players than we did at Arsenal when we simply were not good enough going forward to create pressure

If we play like we did against Brentford I can see us winning well, but this side does not know how to win and makes some achingly bad decisions in trying to do so, so it’s not cut and dried.

Despite the early kick off time, this could be a long night which I believe we will win in a massive heart ruling head moment.

In the end we have to. No more excuses.

Scott Robson

A season-defining game

The stage is set for a season-defining game. Winless Newcastle must secure their first victory against a revitalised, resurgent Norwich – or surely, relegation beckons.

The Canaries have the lowest shot conversion rate in the league but are playing some fine football under new boss Dean Smith and created a hatful of chances against Wolves last weekend. Expect them to be more clinical up against our woeful back line on Tuesday night.

If I had been writing this a few weeks ago I would have predicted a high scoring thriller as per Brentford, but Norwich have a new-found defensive resilience under Smith. It is therefore more likely to be a tense and edgy affair, played out in front of a nerve-ridden home crowd.

Eddie Howe’s ability to impact his squad has been restricted by covid, but it is still easy to spot signs of significant improvement. However, his decision to deploy Krafth at Arsenal was dubious at best – surely Manquillo must replace him if we continue with four at the back? Equally, Lewis should come in for the suspended Ritchie and we can finally play with a pair of full backs who actually suit Howe’s footballing philosophy.

The seemingly undroppable Lascelles will be another absentee, hopefully paving the way for Fernandez to step in and show Jamal what leadership looks like. If the error-prone Clark gets in the team ahead of Fernandez, it will confirm that Federico is out of favour. Similarly, if we’re going to stop a buccaneering Norwich, then the Shelvey-Willock experiment has to end. Sacrifice Willock’s goal threat and ability on the ball for Hayden’s energy and capacity to break up opposition attacks.

Howe has no choice but to go for this. A full throttle start, an early goal and the crowd will roar the lads over the line to our first win. A nervous start that allows Norwich to dominate could spell disaster.

Prediction: 2-1

Danger man: Max Aarons

Optimism…

Fixtures are coming around thick and fast as Newcastle United host fellow league strugglers Norwich City in round 14 of the Premier League. Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Arsenal at the weekend whilst Dean Smith’s Norwich played out a goalless draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Eddie Howe will know the amount of work that needs to be done if he is to guide the club away from the relegation zone and understand these next two fixtures are if they are going to achieve that.

The Magpies have so far collected a very poor 6 points of out a possible 39 so far in the campaign and are sitting 3 points adrift of their opponents on Tuesday Evening who occupy 19thplace. Newcastle’s home record doesn’t sit well with the fans either with their defence conceding three goals in each of the past three games at St James Park.

Team News:

Newcastle United: Matt Ritchie and Jamal Lascelles will miss out due to suspension with both players picking up their 5th yellow card of the season in the defeat to Arsenal last time out. Jamal Lewis and Cieran Clark will be hoping to challenge for a place in the squad, Jacob Murphy and Javier Manquillo will be challenging Emil Krafth for his spot in the starting eleven.
Norwich City: Mathias Mormann will likely miss out after withdrawing from the game against Wolves in the first half through injury. Sam Byram and Christoph Zimmermann are looking likely to not be included in the squad as new manager Dean Smith could be reluctant to make too many changes.

The Canaries have not won on Tyneside since 1988, their last league meeting between the two sides in February 2020 at St James Park ended in a 0-0 draw. The two sides met in their last pre-season fixture before this campaign with Newcastle running out 3-0 winners on home turf.

Newcastle know that they will unlikely get a better opportunity to end their winless streak but Norwich will not be an easy nut to crack. Enforced changes in defence with Lascelles and Ritchie being suspended could be a god send for the magpies due to the poor form of the pair.

What should make it a cracking atmosphere is the fact that it’s Eddie Howe’s first home game in the dugout and the home fans will no doubt want to make sure the new gaffer feels supported.

Sutty’s Match Prediction: I’m going to be optimistic once more and go with a Newcastle United win. Even though we got beaten from Arsenal on Saturday, had it not been for our lacklustre defence we would have got something from the game. Now that we have been forced to change our back line, I think the Geordie Faithful will get behind the team and roar them on to victory. I’m going with a 2-0 score-line for Newcastle.

@jsuttonwrites