Norwich v Newcastle – Premier League match preview

Carrow Road
After taking just one point from a possible nine, slipping down to the murky depths of 6th in the league and losing our entire squad to four-year injury layoffs, it’s only a matter of time until we are battling away in the Championship again.

And to top it all off Newcastle now face a daunting trip to Carrow Road, where a loud, slurring and terrifying Delia Smith awaits.

Things are not that bad are they? We have cleared over a third of this season and are still above Liverpool. Result! If NUFC are considered the suprise package in the Premier League this season, then 11th placed Norwich City must be a close runner up. We can expect our stretched resources to be thoroughly tested this weekend.

Norwich City:

Elliott Ward (knee) has missed the entire season so far and is still nowhere near a return. James Vaughan (knee) has been laid off since September’s win over Sunderland and has no chance of playing against the Toon. Ritchie De Laet (back) is close to a return and could be involved, whilst Daniel Ayala and Zak Whitbread both come back into contention.

Newcastle United:

Steven Taylor (achilles) is out for the season. Sylvain Marveaux (groin) is probably looking at March/April, whilst Danny Guthrie has joined the sick list with the same injury and will be out for roughly a month. Mike Williamson is over his ankle injury, but well short of match fitness. Fabricio Coloccini’s thigh problem is not as bad as first feared, but he is still a major doubt for the Canaries and I think we can pretty much rule him out for this one. Tamas Kadar has been given the No40 shirt and is likely to be included in the squad. Cheik Tiote is not yet ready but Jonas Gutierrez is back following his one game ban and Leon Best is fit.

Shamrock’s top-10 mind blowing facts and stats:

1- If you took every Norwich V Newcastle league fixture ever and added up the score, it would be 28-26 to the home side.

2- Newcastle’s squad is considered to be worth £90m, almost four times that of Norwich at £25m.

3- Tim Krul is set for his 70th career league appearance.

4- Considering our midfield is so good, we have one of the lowest pass rates in the Premiership having completed just 3,413. That puts us down in 17th place. Fortunately, Norwich are placed below us in 18th place with 3,407 passes.

5- Demba Ba has the highest goals-to-shots ratio of the Premiership’s leading scorers with 36% of his efforts being on target. Edin Dzeko of Man City (34%) is next in line.

6- With the exception of Arsenal (24), Newcastle and Norwich share the joint youngest squad average age in the Premier League with Manchester City, Sunderland and Swansea at 25 years old.

7- Only West Brom have conceded as many penalties (5) as both Norwich and Newcastle this term.

8- Danny Guthrie and Steven Taylor are both injured for “trying too hard against Chelsea as a result of Mike Dean’s failure to send David Luiz off.” – It’s a fact. Just ask Alan Pardew.

9- Shola Ameobi is still looking for his 50th career league goal! Or his 25th in 5 years…

10- Norwich are hot favourites for this one with odds of 11/8. Newcastle could be worth a punt at 19/10.

Tactical ponderings and team selection:

What I do know about Norwich, is that they are relentless attackers. They average 13 shots on goal per game and do not fear anybody. 70% of their attacks come from wing play, so they will be testing our full backs. However, the Canaries are very good in the air and they are not afraid to pump a long ball up field to the head. Players like Grant Holt are very strong receiving such service and our centre backs will have a real battle on their hands.

Unfortunately for us Mike Dean injured Steven Taylor, who would have loved this sort of battle. Now we face the dilemma of who to select for such a scenario. James Perch is obviously a given. I don’t want to criticise him – he has actually been quite impressive of late during his late show cameos, however I’m not convinced by his aerial ability or physical strength for this type of role. That said, I really hope the travelling Toon Army get behind him and show great support in order to give the lad a bit of extra confidence. Perch is wearing our colours and will no doubt try his best. We cannot ask for more from him.

Moving on then – who is going to fill in? There has been talk of Danny Simpson or Davide Santon. We need a couple of strong full backs to counter their wing play, so I’d keep Simmo on the right. After Ryan Taylor demonstrated his lack of defensive know how without the guidance of Captain Colo or the tenacious work rate of Jonas Gutierrez last week, we have to wonder when Santon is actually going to get given a chance. Seeing as we are forced into defensive changes, I’d finally give him a go against Norwich and leave Gutierrez free to attack a bit more.

If Pardew decides Santon is still not ready to have a game in his best position and starts Ryan Taylor, then common sense would indicate that Santon is also not ready to play centre half! Tamas Kadar has been given a shirt number and is specialised in this position. He has no Premier League experience, but played a few games for us in the Championship (doing pretty well I might add) and has a bit of international experience. He is comfortable on the ball and fits the mould of a young Coloccini. Surely he would be the best option?

Sitting deep, inviting crosses and high balls with no Tiote in support is not advisable with such an inexperienced and untested partnership in the middle. We need to set a high line, be organised, hope communication does not become an issue and try to play a more attacking game than we have done previously this season. With Jonas back on the left, Cabaye set to be vital in the middle and Obertan likely to continue on the right despite a poor showing against Chelsea (that is being kind), Pardew has a decision to make regarding what formation to set out with now that Leon Best is available.

It would make sense for Dan Gosling to be given a role in the middle, perhaps sitting just in front of Cabaye who can add bite to our defensive efforts whilst utilising his impressive passing abilities from deep. Hatem Ben Arfa has been fairly rusty since he made his return from a long lay off, but has shown flashes of his old self. For me, I’d rather play Best and keep Benny on the bench. Norwich will have a go at us. When we have both Ba and Best on the pitch they tend to do quite well at defending from the front and are also handy defending corners etc. Benny would be great as a late impact sub if the game pans out that way and the requirement is made.

I don’t see how Pardew can go for the cautious approach here in light of our injury problems and lack of trusted, established backbone. It’s time to ‘bump our guns’ and see what we have got.


Taking the reigns is 40 year old Martin Atkinson. Bradford born and based near Leeds, he should be nice and impartial for this one. He has been a Professional referee since 2003, having spent most of his time prior to this as an assistant. By 2005 he was in charge of Premier League games and by 2006 he was on the FIFA list. Atkinson took charge of the 2011 FA Cup Final and has been the man in the middle for Champions League ties as well as international fixtures. We have played 17 games under his watch, winning 6 and drawing 4. He generally likes to keep play moving and is not over zealous with stopping play and dishing out cards (usually), so should compliment an attacking free flowing game quite well.

Former Star Spotlight – Ruel Fox:

He played in the colours of both the Canaries and the Toon. He made 219 appearances for Norwich and scored 25 goals, achieving a 3rd place finish in the league for the 92-93 season. He signed for King Kev for £2.25m in 1994, making 70 appearances for us and scoring 19 times. Ruel then jumped ship in 1995 for £4.25m, joining Spurs like so many other Toon stars have done over the years….

Ruel is now chairman of Ridgeons League Division One side Whitton United, who are unbeaten so far this season. He is also keeping himself busy as a personal fitness trainer and running boot camps.

Ruel says:

“They’re not all household names (the Newcastle players) but there are some experienced players there. People might have thought they would struggle this season but Alan Pardew seems to have the same thought processes. They’re a tight unit in the same way with great team spirit and they are reaping their rewards.”

He hopes to get to Carrow Road, saying: “It will be the first time I’ve seen them live in two or three years. Norwich are very strong at home, I expect a very open game and there will be goals – but I have a foot in each camp so I’m going for 2-2.”

Final Thought:

Despite our injuries, I’d be secretly disappointed if we failed to get something out of this game. Norwich will be up for it, but may underestimate us as a result. If we can sneak an early goal it will dent their confidence.

Venue: Carrow Road
Date: Saturday 10th December 2011
Kick-off: 3pm UK time

Howay the lads!

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

101 thoughts on “Norwich v Newcastle – Premier League match preview

  1. Good write up Shamrock, it’s going to be a tough one methinks, would love the 3 points and if we play like we can it’s possible but I’d be happy with an away draw against a decent footballing side.


  2. I would like to see Tamas with James…. and then hopefully the fullbks are the same and gives option to attack. At the middle i will go with Dan and keep the bench with youths and also play ba and best up front or Ba and benny boy…. if colo plays then AP will go with Benny and caba… in an attacking mid with 2 strikz… my scoreline 4 sata is 1-3 to us…. wow…


  3. I think we will win but Id be more confident is we had colo and saylor. But ill go with a 2-1 win to us. Ba and Ben arfa


  4. Norwich haven’t done too badly this season and do play good football as Blackpool did last season but as we know, can they sustain it?

    We are short of quality cover but in saying that, Norwich have players that will be running off aches and pains as their squad isn’t exactly choc a block with experienced cover.

    Norwich will probably view this game as winnable due to our injuries but that could be their undoing and also so could fatigue as silly as that sounds.

    Remember, Norwich have been working their ******* off from start to now and it will be taking it’s toll.

    The pressure is off us really as we are expected to have a hard day against them by all and sundry but I doubt our manager and players are of that thought.

    We are top 6 regardless of injury and no player in our team/squad wants to surrender that against Norwich, so I know we wont be going there just to struggle through the game on a wing and a prayer.

    These games are winnable regardless of injuries and we have to look on it as a springboard towards January to keep us kicking the heels of those above us, whilst back heeling those below us…

    I hope it pans out 😀


  5. Interesting to hear about the injections… Early days yet for Saylor, if he is fed up now then wait until a couple months down the line! Good to hear how passionate he is about playing for us, although I dont buy the boredom thing. £35k a week will see to it that he keeps himself occupied! 😆


  6. Another fine article young Shamrock 😉
    We should go straight out and attack, and if so we will leave with 3 pts.
    As the King once said the best form of defence is attack attack attack


  7. Aye just attack them, They have that leon barnett lad who looked out of his depth when he played against us in the fizzy, The left back looks dopey as **** when ive seen them and the keeper looks hit and miss. I like Russell martin mind quite solid and hes playing out of position.

    Were probably not going to keep a clean sheet but i fancy us to score at least once…

    2-1 ➡ 😎


  8. aye when you have a weakness attacking is a way of trying to hide it.
    RICHIE dont you put your self doon this deep thinking is hard graft you keep lying doon and have a couple of beers and rest 😀 😀 😀


  9. Kadar and Perch in the middle. It would be foolish to risk Colo. Simpson can fill in at centre back for spells of minutes only and doesn’t look comfortable.
    Simpson and Santon at full back. Just for the reason we need to see Santon. Gosling in for Guthrie however different to the writer I would play Gosling behind Cabbaye. Jonas back for Sammy and Best instead of Obertan with Benny floating all over the park. Think we need to defend from the front high up the field and this is the logic for Best. He is a grafter. If we retreat to our 18 yard line and try and defend from there I don’t think we will be able to hold out.


  10. Ice…I wish, don’t think I’ve had a beer for about a month now…..will catch up next weekend though when I get home :mrgreen:


  11. Personally I would play


    Obertan has just not been good enough for me, and I’d like to take a look at how gosling can play on the wing and view his tracking back as he has also played right back. Add to that that I think we need two strikers to make the space for Arfa to pull of his magic, as he’s found it hard recently and he’s never had the space he had when we played him as a left winger last season.

    Not too confident about this really, Grant Holt must be about 18 stone. Put Perchy and Simmo/Kadar in there and we have the combined muscle of a couple of anorexic school girls. That’s why I’d plum for attack and lets see if we can just outscore them. You know, do things the old fashioned way? 😛


  12. Speaking of moustaches, when does this Movember thing finish? I’m dying for a decent shave 😕 😯


  13. Loving the stats and facts Shamrock! Great write up!

    Got some more Norwich based numbers coming early tomorrow.



  14. Ice, the link is longer than the article 😉 … the source in the last sentence negates the rest of it for me like 🙄


  15. We seem to be linked with him pretty regular usually a sign that theres something in it and its more believeable when the story initially comes from france as well they have more links with thier clubs than the **** printed here.

    Then again the mirror were linking us with del piero last week… 🙄


  16. ——-Best——Ba——–

    a love that team newkie


  17. my team for 2mora

    raylor simpson kadar santon
    gosling cabaye gutierez
    obertan ben arfa

    pardew would never play this team in a million ****ing years i think i got a bit carried away here like 😆


  18. Newkie, Army – I’d go for that lineup too… Only thing is Pardew has not fielded that formation before and the lads might struggle with it. Maybe worth a shout switching to it for the last 30 if things are not going our way? 🙂

    Anyhow, off to work. Glad you like the stats, statto.


  19. 😆 hahahaha!!

    kadar to have a blinder , ba to get his 10th goal , benny to shine , krul to make some top class saves and obertan to take a man on then i will be a happy lad at 5 oclock 2mora …. oh and newcastle to win 😉


  20. what about vukic!!!!! he was amazing in the pre season , hes got to get a chance sooner or later!!! is he injured???


  21. Shamrock-Aye well the only one I can see having a problem would be Gosling but its not as if we’ll be playing him out of position as he’s hardly played at all anyway! Cabaye in the holding role will be fine, and I think Arfa will appreciate the space.

    Gosling on the right would cut right down on our pace but I think he has a bit more nous and strength about him, I swear 50% of our lost possession is a poor pass from Obertan, or Obertan himself running in to trouble. I’m not with the group who say he’s absolutely ****e, but I think he needs to adapt his role with a bit more coaching before we play him every game, I think we carried him fairly well with our good start but he’s starting to be found out now…Now that I say that hopefully he’ll score a blinder against Norwich 😀


  22. Army-that other one is a good shout, although if I was doing a triangle attack I’d probably have Best as the target man with Barfa and Ba playing off him. Ba did really well in that role off Carlton Cole so god knows how many he’d score for us… 😆


  23. RICHIE just had e-mail from him,he loves the job wishes he done it years ago he cannot wait for monday to get back,think the sun must have done sumit to his heed 🙄 🙄 mind who wouldnt 4day week,place full of birds (fact is going out with one sat) cheap canteen free modern gym on site free private medical ect and his own dogs body to run aboot for him 😯
    cheers for asking ill let him know 😉


  24. Ice…glad he’s enjoyin it.
    Gonna start the serious house hnting here when we come back after Xmas, now we know how much cash we can spend. The only good thing about a recession is that there’s some canny bargains to be had.


  25. think its time for gosling to show us what hes got now!! hes got 6 weeks to show us unless abeid comes in


  26. JackrNoble JR Noble
    @NUFCnu just spoke abeid, he isnt in the squad
    52 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply
    Retweeted by NUFCnu


  27. Playing Abeid would allow for the easiest transition-in that we wouldn’t change how we play at all from when we have tiote. Still, I think its worth a shuffle, mainly at getting in someone who can challenge obertan.


  28. RICHIE thats great mate and your reet there is bargains now even bigger ones if you can hang on a little longer as it will get worse before it picks up it will take 3yrs or so imo and your in the driveing seat if you know what money you have 😉 and bloody make sure you can get a dish up on this one 😀 😀 keep your eyes open for a cheap dream-box and be ready,there 150euro under the shelf in malta 😉 so got to be some there


  29. oberton has done nowt for me yet,yes he has pace but hes doing nowt with it,pity aboot marv,we at hope arent getting much luck with injurys just have to hope some step up to the mark


  30. Ice-Aye, its annoying as I felt Marv had done enough to get the first team spot but he does have trouble with injuries. Its not even like we have a powerhouse striker who can bully defenders with every cross, Ba and Best might be tall but its still pretty average for a defender to deal with, the only way I can see Obertan being effective is sprinting directly to the byline and shooting full power along the floor/mid height across goal and hoping for a knock in.


  31. Ice…can’t wait any longer, sick of this flat, want me own space and me own pool 😉 How do those dreamboxes work? tried looking online and it just confused me 😕


  32. NEWKIE aye nowt worse for a defender than a winger running at you with pace,like lennon at spuds or dyer at swansea thing is they have a end product 🙁


  33. Ice-Exactly. What bothers me is he might actually have a decent cross or a decent shot if he got himself in the position to be able to do it. Instead of cutting in to shoot or getting to the byline and getting something in he just sits just outside the penalty area trying to decide which one to do, before eventually another defender catches up to him and robs him.

    Its not even that he’s putting in bad crosses, he just doesn’t do anything half the time at all 😕


  34. RICHIE the only thing i know is you must have internet and a dish,in uk a mate has it in cost £300 to get in but its only £15 a month gets all sports films ect about 500 odd stations,same in malta,200euros cost then 130euro a yr but you must keep internet in, son has one but he hasnt had time to get it up and running yet,if you find a sky guy out there he will know about it but dont go to a big dealer if you get my drift 😉


  35. NEWKIE i can see what pardew is trying to do great to have a guy like that who can turn defence into attack on the break more so away from home,but the lad as you say doesnt know what to do makes you pull your hair oot 👿


  36. Ice….to be honest, it’s only the football I want really, I’ll never learn the lingo if I’m sat in front of the box all day 😆 …..owt else I wanna watch I just download, if it’s a U.S prog then I get to watch it before it’s on in UK anyway….and for free 😉


  37. RICHIE thats what i mean yet get PL,Italy lge,spanish lge,dutch lge ect,more footy than you can shake a stick at


  38. Great preview again shamrock 🙂

    Toughie tomorrow. They’ll come at us and we need to deal with that first and foremost. However we’ll get our own chances as they never seem to be the best defensively. We need to take any chances when they come along

    Sounds easy init 😉


  39. Twitter rumour but….. Davide Santon’s Facebook page is apparently run by his dad and it claims that he is starting tomorrow 🙄


  40. well they are bound to try and bang away at the centre of the pitch imo ime just wondering who pardew is going to play in front of back four 😕


  41. Well I have ice, as you grow older, my age, you got out more in evenings and i just havent found the time.


  42. Toonsy-I’d have my doubts about that like….any idea whether he said it in English or italiano?

    Evening Spence, how’s life?


  43. Not too bad, poor as sin and actually having to work nowadays. If you ever go to Uni make sure you give up after the second year because the third one’s ****e 😉


  44. If the santon news is true, Cant see pardew being happy if hes revealed that after the enrique spuds palava last season…


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