Two of the Premier League’s basement boys will seek a priceless three points on Tuesday night as bottom-of-the-table Newcastle United welcome Norwich City to St James’ Park.
Eddie Howe’s men went down 2-0 to Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime, while the Canaries played out a goalless stalemate with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Newcastle’s deep block worked wonders against Arsenal in the opening 45 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, but the quality of the hosts’ attacking line came to the fore in the second period to extend the Magpies’ woeful winless run.
Bukayo Saka combined neatly with Nuno Tavares to fire home the opener before being forced off injured, but his replacement – Gabriel Martinelli – took all of 90 seconds to latch onto Takehiro Tomiyasu’s pass and fire home expertly past Martin Dubravka.
Howe was never expected to end his side’s woeful streak in North London, but fixtures against Norwich and fellow relegation candidates Burnley represent prime opportunities for the Magpies to lift themselves off the foot of the table and claim a long-awaited victory.
Now boasting a mere six points from a possible 39 in the 2021-22 season, Newcastle are three points adrift of the 19th-placed Canaries ahead of the midweek round of fixtures, but their superior goal difference will see them usurp their opponents with a win here.
Newcastle have conceded three goals in each of their last three at St James’ Park, though – shipping a league-high 16 on home soil so far – and Norwich are certainly demonstrating more resilience under their new leader.
The sacking of Daniel Farke led to widespread confusion within the football fanbase, but the Canaries’ decision has seemingly been justified as Dean Smith stopped Wolverhampton Wanderers in their tracks last time out.
Seven days on from sinking Southampton 2-1, Smith’s Norwich managed to take a point from their meeting with Wolves on Saturday, but the Canaries will have left the pitch feeling that three points was there for the taking against Bruno Lage’s side.
Firing 14 shots to Wolves’ five, Norwich’s resilience against Lage’s men saw them claim their seventh point from their last three Premier League games, but the Canaries remain in the relegation zone – level on nine points with 18th-placed Burnley after their clash with Tottenham Hotspur was postponed due to heavy snow.
Farke’s final game in charge of Norwich at Brentford marked the first two away goals of the Canaries’ season in the Premier League, and despite their recent revival, two goals scored and 16 conceded on the road represent the worst tallies in the top flight so far.
Newcastle and Norwich played out a goalless draw at St James’ Park during the most recent meeting in February 2020, and not since 1988 have the Canaries won on the Tyneside turf.
Newcastle United Premier League form:
Norwich City Premier League form:
We say: Newcastle United 2-2 Norwich City
Newcastle will be aware that they will hardly get a better opportunity to end their winless streak, but Norwich will be a tough nut to crack, as evidenced by their recent performances.
Some enforced defensive changes could have Smith’s attackers licking their lips at the prospect of even more goals away from home, and the Magpies could be held to another score draw at St James’ Park.