Tuesday’s Premier League action gets underway at St James’ Park with a basement showdown between rock-bottom Newcastle United and 19th-placed Norwich City.
Despite keeping Arsenal goalless at half-time in their weekend’s encounter at the Emirates Stadium, the Magpies eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat, stretching their winless league start to 13 games.
A controversial Saudi-led consortium’s takeover, coupled with the recent appointment of Eddie Howe as the new manager, has failed to galvanise Newcastle’s dreadful form.
Howe’s Premier League debut at St James’ Park gave the home supporters hope that Newcastle could finally get off the mark in the Premier League this term and avoid summoning devils from the past.
In Premier League history, only three teams have gone winless in their opening 14 matches, with all of them eventually suffering relegation to the Championship.
While Norwich’s visit to Tyneside may appear a prime opportunity for Newcastle to launch a comeback, the visitors’ recent upturn in form speaks differently.
After going winless in their inaugural ten Premier League fixtures, the Canaries have racked up a three-game unbeaten league streak to whittle down the gap on safety to just three points.
Newcastle United vs Norwich City Head-to-Head
Recent history is firmly on Newcastle’s side here, with the Magpies unbeaten in their last nine league meetings with Norwich on home turf (W7, D2).
Before being held to a scoreless draw in their most recent Premier League H2H at St James’ Park, the Tynesiders had won four previous such contests in a row by an aggregate score of 10-3.
Against this backdrop, the Canaries have avoided defeat in their last three Premier League encounters against Newcastle (W2, D1), scoring precisely three goals in each victory.
Newcastle United Preview
Howe’s first task at St James’ Park is to shore up Newcastle’s glaring defensive problems.
Going into this matchday, the Magpies have conceded a staggering, league-high 29 goals in the Premier League this season, at an average of 2.23 per match.
They remain the only side in England’s top-flight yet to keep a single clean sheet this term, conceding the opening goal in 61.54% of their league outings to date (8/13).
History beckons for Newcastle here, as the last time they entered a home Premier League fixture bottom of the standings, they hammered Norwich 6-2 back in October 2015.
All eyes will be on the lightning-fast winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who has recorded five of his last seven Premier League goals at St James’ Park.
Likewise, Newcastle’s top-scorer this season, Callum Wilson, has racked up three of his four Premier League goals scored at home.
Norwich City Preview
New manager Dean Smith has picked up where his predecessor Daniel Farke left off, navigating Norwich to a pair of unbeaten Premier League games (W1, D1) in his first two matches in a charge.
Farke waved goodbye to Carrow Road with a 2-1 win away to the league newcomers Brentford on the eve of the November international break, initiating the Canaries’ stunning comeback.
Norwich have picked up seven points across their last three Premier League outings (W2, D1), more than they had in their previous 25 in the competition (W1, D3, L21).
Brimming with confidence following a noticeable upturn in form, they will be looking to string together four consecutive Premier League games without defeat for the first time since February 2013.
Smith, who has yet to lose a Premier League match against Newcastle as a manager (W3, D2), will put Norwich’s fate in the safe hands of Teemu Pukki.
In addition to being his side’s most prolific player this season with four goals, the Canaries stalwart scored his solitary Premier League hat-trick against Newcastle of all teams.
Newcastle United vs Norwich City Predicted Lineups
Newcastle United (4-3-1-2): Martin Dubravka; Emil Krafth, Fabian Schar, Ciaran Clark, Jamal Lewis; Miguel Almiron, Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey; Allan Saint-Maximin; Callum Wilson, Joelinton.
Norwich City (4-3-3): Tim Krul; Max Aarons, Grant Hanley, Ben Gibson, Brandon Williams; Kenny McLean, Lukas Rupp, Billy Gilmour; Josh Sargent, Teemu Pukki, Milot Rashica.
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