A fortnight after our mauling in Manchester we get ready to take on Norwich City in as we attempt to record a first league victory of the season.
The international break has allowed us a time of reflection but it has also brought us the bad news that Tim Krul will miss the remainder of the season after picking up an injury with Holland.
Losing your first choice goalkeeper is not good, especially when I personally can’t really work out who our backup is. On seniority it’s Rob Elliot who suffered his own long term injury last season and is still being monitored. Or is it Karl Darlow who is also absent through injury?
Anyway, going back to our last match it’s all too easy to look at the scoreline abd think we plated awful. We did in the second half against Manchester City bug in the first we were actually very good and maybe, on chances, should have been effectively out of sight.
It is that first half that needs replicating more often if we are to start climbing the table. A win against Norwich won’t take us out of the bottom three and it won’t improve our situation but it will increase confidence heading into the game against Sunderland next weekend. I still, perhaps foolishly, believe we possess some good players. The thing is its up to them to show it.
As detailed above the situation with our goalkeepers isn’t great but there is also good news with regards to the rest of our injuries. Jack Colback, Daryl Janmaat and Massadio Haidara are all in training and are expected to return to the side while Paul Dummett edges closer to a return to first team duties.
That’s where the good news ends though as Steven Taylor, Rolando Aarons, Karl Darlow, Kevin Mbabu, Gabriel Obertan and Emmanuel Riviere are all still out.
Wes Hoolahan has recovered from the heel injury he picked up in their last game against Leicester City and is likely to start. Striker Gary Hooper is closing in on a return to action but is likely to sit this one out but Youssouf Mulumbu is still out of contention for Norwich boss Alex Neil.
A total of 52 matches have been contested between the two sides in all competitions with United winning 22 of them. The other 30 are split evenly between draws and defeats with 15 of each.
There were no games between the two sides to reflect upon from last season due to Norwich slipping into the Championship so a look back at the 2013/14 will show the Magpies picking up four points against the Canaries with a 2-1 at St James’ Park followed up by a 0-0 draw at Carrow Road.
Stats and facts…
The last five meetings between these sides have produced just five goals, including two 0-0 draws.
Newcastle have scored six goals this season, the joint-lowest total in the Premier League prior to the weekend fixtures.
United have also surrendered a league-high seven points from winning positions this season.
Norwich have not kept a clean sheet in any of their eight Premier League matches this season.
As mentioned above Wes Hoolahan will be fit to start which is bad news as only David Silva has provided more Premier League assists to date this term.
I said last time out that I didn’t expect much against Manchester City and in the end I was right to expect nothing. This time is different. We are at home, we have to be the favourites and I expect a lot more from this match.
Having said that it won’t be easy and it will be a nervy game in front of the Sky TV cameras but these are the games that will make or break our season, not the games against the Manchester City’s and so on. It’s time to deliver.
Howay the lads!
Date: Sunday, 18th October, 2015
Venue: St James’ Park