It’s the battle of the Birds! Magpies vs Canaries. We like to pick up cheap shiny things such as the odd Yohan Cabaye or Demba Ba, whilst the Canaries like to be lowered into deep, dark holes filled with nauseous gas just to see if they will come out of it alive. In football speak, the deep hole is the Premier League, the nauseous gas is the hairspray in the changing rooms. Generally Norwich don’t last long in such an environment!
You will have to forgive me. I can’t remember the layout of these previews and to be honest I can’t be bothered to open up my last few from last season for reference – so this is a ‘wing it and see’ piece.
This should have been the intro, however this game marks Chris Hughton’s first return to St James’ Park since his unfair dismissal at the tail end of 2010. The man hardly set a foot wrong during his tenure at this club. He gave us promotion from the Championship at the first time of asking and had us comfortable during our first season back in the big time. His only ‘crime’ it would seem, was having a face that did not fit with Ashley and Co. He was too nice. I for one extend a warm welcome back to the former Spurs coach and I hope our fans at the game do the same.
Newcastle United: Papiss Cisse (illness) and Cheick Tiote (calf) are both back in training and expected to make the match day squad. Hatem Ben Arfa is available again following the completion of his three match European ban from his Marseille days, whilst it is unknown how long Vernon Anita will be away after his wife gave birth to his child in recent days. Danny Simpson (hamstring), Tim Krul (arm), Ryan Taylor (knee) all remain sidelined. Captain Fabricio Coloccini (hamstring) will miss this one, but is expected to be fit for Reading next week.
Norwich City: Simon Lappin and Steven Whittaker (both ankle) are out. Elliott Bennett (knee) is 50/50, whilst summer signing Jacob Butterfield is fit again after making his return during a 90 minute appearance for the U-21’s. James Vaughan and Daniel Ayala are both out on loan.
A few things that may interest you:
This will be the Canaries’ fifth visit to Tyneside in the Premier League. They will be looking for their first victory.
Newcastle have failed to score in the first half so far this season in the Premier League.
Sebastian Bassong is not the only Norwich player to have worn our colours at some point during his career. He joins distinguished names such as Craig Bellamy, Darren Huckerby (just the one appearance for us), Ruel Fox and erm… Gary Megson… in having the same honour.
Norwich have only beaten us in our own back yard four times in history in all competitions, twice in 1988, once in 1938 and once in 1936.
Jonas Gutierrez has been fouled more often this season than any other player in the Premier League (14).
Steve Morison will be looking for his 10th Premier League goal since joining from Millwall last summer.
Whilst Newcastle are the 8th most successful Premier League side in history with a total points haul of 1022, Norwich are 28th with 251 points.
Of their last 35 Premier League away games, Norwich have failed to keep a clean sheet.
If you fancy a flutter then the odds are pretty generous this week. I fancy us to win this one comfortably and a 3-1 win would see the punter take home 12-1. Having a look at first to score, the obvious choices could see the gambler make a tidy return: Cisse is 9-2, whilst Ben Arfa will fetch 7-1.
A bit of history:
When the Premier League began in 1992/1993, Newcastle were still battling it out in Division 1 – a league we would win. However, Norwich were not only in the Premier League, but were leading it for much of the season. They eventually finished third behind Manchester United and Aston Villa.
The following season the Toon were promoted. Norwich claimed a famous win away to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup, but in March 1994 the Canaries succumbed to a 3-0 loss at St James’ Park thanks to goals from club legends Andy Cole, Rob Lee and the one and only Peter Beardsley. The Magpies would eventually take Norwich’s third place finish that season. The line up’s on that day were as follows:
Newcastle Utd: Srnicek, Robinson, Nielson, Peacock, Beresford, Sellars, Fox, Bracewell, Lee, Cole, Beardsley. Subs: Holland for Bracewell, Mathie for Fox.
Norwich City: Gunn, Ullathorne, Culverhouse, Prior, Adams, Woodthorpe, Bowen, Goss, Megson, Crook, Eadie. Sub: Akinbiyi for Adams.
This game saw Darren Peacock make his debut following his move from QPR. Whilst the Toon faithful would see their side transform into the ‘Entertainers’, Norwich fans saw their side relegated in 1995. They would not return to the top flight until 2004.
Thoughts on the game:
I’ll keep this short and sweet. Tiote is due back, our first team is rested and our big players should be far too much for Norwich to handle. We are missing Fabricio Coloccini and Tim Krul, two players anyone would miss – and I expect us to make some sort of howler and give a goal away – but we should still have more class than the Canaries can cope with despite Chris Hughton having his boys up for this one. They are struggling to score this term and have not managed a victory yet. I don’t see that changing now that our first team have rediscovered their desire and spirit following the Everton comeback. Two goal win for the Toon.
A word from Alan Pardew:
“Both of us (Pards and Hughton) could probably look each other in the eye and say we have done a decent job at Newcastle – so far on my part.”
“On his part now (Hughton), he has a different agenda, a different project, and a tough one because Norwich second year in have not really had too much investment in the team – it’s tough. But they have got some good players and had some great results last season. It’s a game that for us would probably put us in the top eight if we won, and that’s obviously where we want to be.”
A word from Chris Hughton:
“I had a very good three years there (at Newcastle). The supporters were excellent towards me in a period of time that wasn’t all good. During those three years we did get relegated and come up again. They were difficult times but the supporters were good to me. I enjoyed the time I spent there and there are a lot of staff and players still there from my time.”
“I am looking forward to going back but it is about the performance. I will feel the occasion better if we give a good account of ourselves. It’s a very difficult place to get a result. They are an extremely good team, one which will be pushing for a Champions League place. It is a daunting place to go but we have a team I would like to think would look forward to that experience and hopefully I can enjoy it better that way.”
“We are conscious that we need to score goals to win football matches. But we have been more solid since that first game (a 5-0 loss to Fulham) which I am pleased about. I could not fault the endeavours of any of the players but we need to start putting some more goals in. There would be a bigger concern if we weren’t creating chances. You’d like to think sooner or later it would turn.”
The man in the middle for this one is 42-year-old Preston born Neil Swarbrick. He has been a referee for nine years and was elected to the Select Group last summer. He has not officiated a great deal of top flight games in his time to date and this will be his first in the Premier League this season. He has overseen three of our games so far, we have won two and drawn one. His record for the Norwich games he has taken charge of stands at 2-2-2. Lets hope this man continues to be a lucky charm for us.
Date: Sunday 23rd September 2012
Venue: St James’ Park
Howay the lads!