Following the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, it’s a quick turnaround for United, who will be back in action on Tuesday at Turf Moor against Burnley.
While it would be nice to extend our recent winning run the reality is that it was never going to last. However against one of the favourites for relegation this game gives Newcastle a chance to get back on track.
Let’s start with the negatives. Newcastle will be without some key personnel on Tuesday, which is where the quick turnaround after the weekend will hurt. Most notably, Ryan Taylor and Gabriel Obertan are expected to be missing due to injury, as is Tim Krul. Krul’s continued absence is a real problem, though to be fair backup keeper Rob Elliot really couldn’t have done much about the goal that allowed West Ham to win on Saturday.
There will also be two noteworthy absences because of suspension. Jack Colback will miss a game after ‘totting up’ five yellow cards, and as the Daily Mail pointed out, Moussa Sissoko managed two bookings in under a minute earning himself an early bath on Saturday and as long as he wants in the bath on Tuesday! To sum up, we’re short of players.
That much is to be expected a third of the way through a league campaign though as the games start coming thick and fast. The more important trend isn’t missing key players so much as the outstanding and unexpected form of late. Before the West Ham match we’d racked up six straight wins. Also, a 1-0 loss away from home doesn’t really signal a loss of form and could just be put down to being a bad day. They happen. It’s how we recover form it that counts.
Still, it won’t be an easy affair on Tuesday, and a tense match with a single goal could very well win it. In a preview of this and other Premier League games scheduled for Tuesday, Betfair made the observation that neither side will have an easy time putting the ball in the net. It’s been pointed out that despite some improvement of late, Burnley struggle to score in general and that Newcastle have had far more difficulty scoring away from home this season. Both observations are undeniable. With both clubs missing a few key players — Burnley are without Matt Taylor and, for a while now, Sam Vokes — we could see some fairly conservative play.
For their part, however, Newcastle’s players sound as if they’re ready to seize an opportunity against Burnley to make it seven wins in eight matches. The Premier League website quotes Cheick Tiote with a strong positive outlook following the weekend defeat. Tiote said the club would do everything it could to come back strong against Burnley while acknowledging the significance of the game. These are easy things to say, but it’s nice to see the positivity for a club that could easily be somewhat disheartened after a sloppy loss ended a fairly remarkable winning streak.
Howay the lads!
Date: Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014
Venue: Turf Moor