Norwich (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

After a week where takeover talk and transfer gossip well and truly took over, it’s nice to have what really matters back on Tyneside – an actual game of football!

We ended the window with three loan signings in Bentaleb, Lazaro and Rose – a trio of shrewd buys who will all add quality in weak areas – but there’s a feeling of frustration that we A) failed to sign a striker (our weakest area) and B) missed out on Bowen.

That said, I don’t think many expected us to bring in three this time last month – and those we’ve brought in certainly improve us.

Collecting 5 points in our last three against Wolves, Chelsea and Everton has been a brilliant return, taking us to 30 points over a period some feared we’ve come away with nothing, but today is a HUGE chance – to get back to winning ways at home and move within 7 points of that 40-point mark as early as possible.

It may be another false dawn, but any potential buyer will be far more inclined to buy is if we’re looking set to stay up – yet that could work the other way if we lose and other results leave us just 4 points away from the drop zone (we’re currently 7 clear).

Norwich may be bottom, but this will be a big test, with us often struggling to impose ourselves against teams we’re expected to beat. They beat us comfortably at Carrow Road, so hopefully the players are fired up and ready to get revenge come 3pm today.

Predicted XI

In goal, Dubravka will return after being rested against Oxford last weekend. We’ve given him too much to do of late and he’s bailed us out on more than one occasion, so let’s hope he’s protected much better today.

In defence, the skipper will almost certainly be in the centre of a 3/5-man defence, while Clark (left) and Fernandez (right) seem ahead of Lejeune and Schar in the pecking order as of now. That said, the latter ball-playing duo could come into consideration in a game where we should be looking to hurt the opposition.

At wing-back, Yedlin is fit again – but Lazaro is available and could well start if Bruce has seen enough of him in training to suggest he’s match fit. On the other side, we now have Ritchie and Rose, however the latter is likely to be on the bench until he’s fully integrated into the squad.

In midfield, Bentaleb looks set to make his first league start, with his arrival all the more important now Shelvey’s been ruled out for a month. Hayden seems his most likely partner, with Sean Longstaff out of sorts and Matty still adapting to Premier League football. His energy and enthusiasm is brilliant, but we often get overrun in midfield when he starts.

Out wide, Almiron and Saint-Maximin look set to play either side of Joelinton – a striker who has no option but to perform now we failed to sign a striker and remain without Carroll, Gayle and Muto through injury.

After having two goals ruled out against Oxford, hopefully his newly bleached hair can give him some more luck in front of goal at St James’ Park!

Preferred NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1) – Dubravka – Schar, Lascelles, Clark – Lazaro, Bentaleb, Hayden, Ritchie – Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Joelinton.

The Opposition

Here’s ‘ones to watch’ in Daniel Farke’s Canaries side:

Teemu Pukki – Bagged two in Norwich’s 3-1 win over us back in August and was a constant thorn in Lascelles and Schar’s side that day. Great movement and doesn’t miss much when he gets his chance.

Emi Buendia – Outside the top 6, only Jack Grealish has created more chances from open play than the Argentinian. A hidden gem at Norwich and player who’ll likely secure a big move for himself if Norwich do go down.

Tim Krul – The Dutchman returns to St James’ Park and will get a great reception after his 12 years of service on Tyneside. A very good shot stopper on his day, but someone we should look to put pressure on if they try to play out from the back.

Grant Hanley – Another ex-Mag, but one Benitez axed as soon as we were promoted back to the Premier League. With first-choice centre-back Ben Godfrey suspended, it’ll be interesting to see how he copes.

Todd Cantwell – A left-sided midfielder who’s been very impressive in his debut season in the Premier League. Gets into good positions in the box and has scored more goals than any Newcastle player this season (6).

Max Aarons – A marauding right-back (and the cousin of Rolando!) who has been linked with a £25m move away after several competent displays in the top flight. Saint-Maximin will test him defensively, but the Frenchman must be watchful of his bursts forward at the other end.

Predicted Norwich XI – (4-2-3-1) Krul – Aarons, Zimmermann, Hanley, Byram – McLean, Tettet – Buendia, Duda, Cantwell – Pukki.

Team news

New boys Nabil Bentaleb, Valentino Lazaro and Danny Rose are all available and expected to be included in Steve Bruce’s squad.

Jonjo Shelvey is out for ‘at least a month’ with a new hamstring injury, while the game will come too soon for Andy Carroll, Javier Manquillo, Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto.

Elsewhere, Paul Dummett and Jetro Willems will both miss out after suffering season-ending injuries last month.

For the visitors, key attacking midfielders Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell have been passed fit, despite recent respective thigh and hamstring problems.

First-choice centre-back Ben Godfrey is suspended, while summer signing Ibrahim Amadou is fit again.


It would be nice to turn up today believing we’ll be breeze past the league’s bottom side, however we don’t seem to do comfortable wins!

They’ll attack and have most of the ball, but it’s key we expose their leaky defence and get the right balance when it comes to committing bodies forward.

Bruce admitted yesterday that takeover talk has been an unwanted distraction, so let’s hope we’re at it from the off.

I see Norwich getting a goal, but fancy our chances of outscoring them. If Saint-Maximin and Almiron are at it and the new signings make an immediate impact, I’m confident – but things are rarely that straight forward at NUFC!

Let’s hope today is the exception and we can enjoy a comfortable home win!

Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Norwich


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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

48 thoughts on “Norwich (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

  1. Not getting a forward in this window has just added further pressure on the likes of Joelinton now.

    Trust me, Toon fans will turn up today p!ssed off – both at another failed transfer window and another bogus takeover tale. Even the loyalist of fans patience is getting tested now!!.

    But having not brought a forward in – the first missed opportunity by Joelinton or any of our forwards will just add fuel to the fire.

    Personally I don’t give a sh!t what the result is today. It’s obvious that survival is the only target and I’m sure with 10 points to get we’ll achieve it – big deal ??‍♂️.

    Actually for Bruce it will be a big deal coz most wrote him and our chances off. So for him as an individual achievement I’d be pleased.

    But for Ashley and his cronies – nah, they can all go **** themselves.


  2. The Chronicle running a story of our 2020 summer transfer targets ?. Who buys that rag??? How are they still in business???.

    They also quote Bruce saying we had a number 1 target and an offer accepted by the club but the player had a change of heart – the prospect of join a club with zero ambition maybe?!.

    Also states they scoured the market, but nobody available better than what we have ?.
    Well if Jarrod Bowen isn’t better than Muto or Gayle he’s gonna absolutely rob a wage from WHU!!!.


  3. Sharpy, agree I’m getting less and less interested now. I’m not disappointed by the fakeover as knew it wasn’t real, it never is, especially if made public . I am however angry-ish about this window as we so desperately need someone who can score up front. The three loans are ok, but Lazaro has already said he won’t stay with us next summer and there are huge question marks over both Bentaleb and Rose temperaments and how fit is the latter as well?
    I really rate Jetro and he has been really committed each time he’s played, i wouldn’t want to lose him end of the season because we keep Rose.

    I don’t see Jabba ever selling up if i’m honest, the sky cash is too good for him plus the cheap rate we charge to advertise SD £2M A YEAR .


  4. imo we need three wins to stay up,this should be one of them.
    i cannot see jabba allowing a 35/40 mil bid for a player if he wwas going to sell club it doesnt make sense he wont sell his golden goose


  5. I read somewhere that would be buyers are put off once they start looking into the books because they just aren’t sure what they are buying as we have been broken up into so many bits. I can totally believe that, reckon you would need top forensic guys to decipher the clubs books.
    You only have to look how he still has a strangle hold over Rangers to see how he operates.
    Nah, we ain’t getting sold anytime soon that’s for sure, if you ask me.

    I can see more and more fans losing interest the longer he’s owner, Shearer said his lad prefers to go watch Rugby more than the Toon.


  6. I have zero expectations today. I’m pretty sure we will have about 35% possession and it will be utterly boring.


  7. kimtoon:
    I read somewhere that would be buyers are put off once they start looking into the books because they just aren’t sure what they are buying as we have been broken up into so many bits. I can totally believe that, reckon you would need top forensic guys to decipher the clubs books.
    You only have to look how he still has a strangle hold over Rangers to see how he operates.
    Nah, we ain’t getting sold anytime soon that’s for sure, if you ask me.

    I can see more and more fans losing interest the longer he’s owner, Shearer said his lad prefers to go watch Rugby more than the Toon.

    Kim – my boy has absolutely no interest in football. I couldn’t pay him to watch a game with me – and to be honest, I wouldn’t waste my make trying to.

    I’ve taken him to a few basketball games recently. Newcastle Eagles, who aren’t as dominant as they were a few seasons back, but it’s a game look out.
    They built a new complex in Newcastle and it’s way more enjoyable going to one of their games than SJP.


  8. Looking at the transfer window the big thing that stands out is just how little business was done – particularly from the clubs at the top.

    Chelsea, City and Leicester done no business at all I think.

    Liverpool brought 1 in.

    Arsenal loaned players.

    Man Utd spent the whole window messing around with the Fernandes deal – very unlike them. Then loaned a Watford reject.

    Spurs didn’t cover Kane.

    No team really stands out as doing good business really. Has the money dried up??!! Strange window really.


  9. Looking at that Norwich 11 we should win this one comfortably – but then we should have against Oxford – so I hold no hope and only slightly more interest.


  10. Depends which newcastle turn up today really
    Hoping for a win

    Sharpy, the club is losing loads of potential future fans thanks to Jabba.


  11. From the comments it sounds like more of the same from NUFC. I am having to just listen again and it is hard for me to tell because Ando could make Beethoven’s Ode to Joy sound like a Funeral dirge.


  12. Did any of our players play with Krul? They should know that he will hoof it if you put him under pressure.


  13. Toon players on the beach on the 1st Feb – don’t know how many fans have turned up today, but yet another sh!t show for them.

    Dubravka keeping us in this again – I wonder if his agent will be chatting to clubs between now and the summer.


  14. Been watching the Liverpool game and I have no idea how they are 4 nil up. They really haven’t dominated.

    Forget that, they have strikers. Maybe WE should try that tactic and buy a real striker.


  15. I see Samatta has scored in his league debut for Villa – a player we were linked with for £8.5m.

    But I’m not too bothered coz Bruce said they scoured the market and none of the players available were better than what we have – so ??‍♂️.


  16. Somehow we are sleepwalking to survival. Watford and West Ham are trying their best to help. Norwich as well.


  17. Feck me what a shower of s hite that was. Got lucky today for sure, Norwich better chances by far .
    Dubs motm says it all.

    Should of got a forward


  18. Full time … f@cking sh!te again.

    Another point on the board – big deal.

    Lads showed great resilience blah blah blah. Bore off Bruce.

    Worse NUFC frontline in the 35 years I’ve supported NUFC.


  19. I would normally have gone to the bar/pub to watch this game. I knew what to expect though, so I stayed home. Will have to check the possession stats but I am sure they will be around 35%.

    Does possession matter? Yes, unless you are a great counter-attacking team which we are not. The Pep philosophy is that the opposition can’t do much if they don’t have the ball and that has worked pretty well during his career. Even if Liverpool are doing better this year it cannot take away the 2 PL Championships with record points.


  20. The fans will be heading home disappointed again. Dominated at SJP again, front line that didn’t turn up and p!ss poor football.

    Meanwhile, fat lad and his cronies will be jarring it up rubbing their little peckers that they spent nowt in another window but the team they own are sat 10th and results for clubs sat below all went good for us today.

    Ugly boring football devoid of any kind of plan.


  21. Ando is the most miserable bugger on the face of the earth but I am even sympathizing with him now that he has to watch us.

    I didn’t even see the game, just listened to Radio Newcastle. But I have seen us enough times this season to know exactly how it went.


  22. How does this man still have a job.

    LEE RYDER says Dubravka saves WOEFUL Newcastle blushes.

    He then gives these player ratings. If we were shyte how come all the good marks Lee?

    Dubs 9
    Yeds 7
    Clark 8
    Lascelles 6
    Fernandez 8
    Ritchie 8
    Hayden 5
    Bentelab 6
    St Max 8
    Almiron 7
    Joe 6

    The man is a moron.


  23. We score no goals and allow bloody Norwich 16 shots and probably 65 % possession and Wor Lee gives everybody except Hayden a mark of 6 plus, totally contradicting his own headline. The picture to go along with the ratings shows Bruce with his head in his hands but LOOK at all the players who got 7s and up FFS. As I said, I didn’t watch but I trust some people on here when they say it was a sh!tshow AGAIN. And I know from watching our other games how it went.

    Play with 2 banks of 4 leaving Joelinton isolated and Miggy having to act like an extra left back.


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