Return of the (ex) Mag! Newcastle United vs Norwich match preview.

Posted on September 22nd, 2012 | 21 Comments |

Chris Hughton with Championship trophy.
Hughton bringing the Premiership back to Newcastle.
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Sun, 23rd Sept.
Kick off: 3:00pm
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
UK TV: None.

Chris Hughton will make his first public appearance at St James’ Park since he managed a 1-1 draw for the Toon against Chelsea in November 2010.

We all know that shortly after that game, with the team standing in 11th place in the Premier League (after our one year sabbatical in the Championship) Messrs Ashley and Llambias showed Hughton the door to bring in a manager with much “greater experience” (i.e. their own man). Pardew, an unpopular choice as Hughton’s replacement, tried to make the most of his opportunity and said this week:

“Both of us could probably look each other in the eye and say we have done a decent job at Newcastle”. Maybe but…

Now is not the time to drag out the old “should he / shouldnt he” routine but lets hope that Chris, who led us back into the top flight at the first time of asking (accumulating 102 points along the way), as well as bringing Graham Carr to the club, is afforded the same reception as former manager Kevin Keegan experienced on his return with Manchester City all those years ago.

Since his debut in the Premier League as Norwich manager, after a fairly successful season in charge of Championship side Birmingham City, despite the turmoil at the club, Hughton and his assistant Colin Calderwood have seen the Canaries draw three and lose one of their first four games. His first match in charge was a memorable (for all the wrong reasons) 0-5 thrashing at Fulham. However since then he’s stabilised the team with three successive draws including a very impressive 1-1 at White Hart Lane.

Our Opponents.

We all know how well Norwich fared last season upon their return to the top tier. Their former manager Paul Lambert steered the team to a very creditable final day 12th place in the Premier League, two points above the Mackems and only behind Swansea on goal difference. His side were refreshingly attack oriented and although they experienced some hidings along the way, notably the two games against Manchester City with 1-5 and 1-6 results, they were also able to dish it out as we found to our cost when the two sides met at Carrow Road in December last year. On that day Norwich used their wide men to great effect and scored four headed goals against a makeshift centre back pairing of Simmo and Perch.

It was undoubtedly Lambert’s attitude to the game that marked him out as a manager with “future potential,” and it was no surprise to learn that he’d been “tapped up” by another club during the close season. Perhaps the only surprise was that it was Aston Villa who took him away from Carrow Road after a very successful three year career with the Canaries? It appears that Norwich and Villa have yet to agree a “fee” for Lambert’s move so it’s likely a tribunal will meet to agree a financial remuneration plan for the Norfolk club.

Meanwhile the Board at Norwich have chosen to put their faith in Hughton to rekindle that attacking verve and try to repeat what his predecessor did so well last year. Hughton began with a 4-2-3-1 against Fulham, but in the last two games has moved to a standard 4-4-1-1 with Simeon Jackson supporting the talismanic Grant Holt up front. Although he excelled last season, recording 17 goals in his first Premiership campaign, Holt has yet to hit the back of the net since the opening day – so be warned Saylor!

Newcastle United v Norwich City history.

Norwich City finally won at SJP for the first time in 50 years in February 1988, with the total record being:

Games 48, won 20, drawn: 13, lost: 15.

However our more recent Premier League head to head records is:

Games 8, won 4, drawn 1, lost 3, goals for 15, goals against 11, plus 1 League Cup tie.

Jan 1994: Norwich City v Newcastle United – W 1-2 (Beardsley, Cole).
Mar 1994: Newcastle United v Norwich City – W 3-0 (Cole, Lee, Beardsley).
Dec 1994: Norwich City v Newcastle United – L 2-1 (Fox (Pen)).
Apr 1995: Newcastle United v Norwich City – W 3-0 (Beardsley 2 (1 pen), Kitson).
Aug 2004: Newcastle United v Norwich City – D 2-2 (Bellamy, Hughes).
Oct 2004: Newcastle United v Norwich City – W 2-1 (Jenas, Ameobi (pen) Carling Cup).
Apr 2005: Norwich City v Newcastle United – L 2-1 (Kluivert).
Dec 2011: Norwich City v Newcastle United – L 4-2 (Ba 2).
Mar 2012: Newcastle United v Norwich City – W 1-0 (Cisse).

So Norwich have failed to win any of their four Premier League visits to Newcastle (D1, L3) and have not won at Newcastle since a 2-0 win in the old Division One in September 1988.

They’ve only won one of their last nine Premier League games (W1, D4, L4) – a 2-0 victory against Aston Villa on the final day of last season, and have only scored two goals in the
Premier League this season – the joint lowest total with QPR. They also have the lowest chance conversion rate in the Premier League scoring with just four per cent of their shots. In addition to which The Canaries have conceded in their last 35 top-flight away games which is a Premier League record.

However Newcastle have won just two of their last eight Premier League games (W2, D2, L4). We haven’t kept a clean sheet in our last six Premier League matches, and we are the only club yet to score a first-half goal in the Premier League this season. Only two players, Demba Ba (3) and Hatem Ben Arfa (2), have scored for Newcastle in the Premier League this season and of those goals 3 have come from individual pieces of brilliance rather than as a result of concerted team play.


Newcastle United (from): Steve Harper (G), Rob Elliot (G), James Tavernier (D), Steven Taylor (D), Mike Williamson (D), Davide Santon (D), James Perch (D,M), Shane Ferguson (D,M), Vurnon Anita (M,D), Yohan Cabaye (M), Jonas Gutierrez (M), Dan Gosling (M), Sylvain Marveaux (M), Gabriel Obertan (M), Gael Bigirimana (M), Hatem Ben Arfa (M,F), Haris Vuckic (M,F), Romain Amalfitano (M), Sammy Ameobi (M,F), Demba Ba (F), Shola Ameobi (F).

Doubtful: Cheick Tiote (Groin), Papiss Cisse (Illness).

Knacked: Tim Krul (elbow), Fabricio Coloccini (Hamstring), Danny Simpson (Hamstring), Ryan Taylor (Anterior Cruciate Ligament – Knee), Cheick Tiote (Calf / Shin).

Norwich City (from): John Ruddy (G), Declan Rudd (G), Mark Bunn (G), Jed Steer (G), Russell Martin (D), Leon Barnett (D), Sebastien Bassong (D), Javier Garrido (D), Michael Turner (D), Ryan Bennett (D), Elliott Ward (D), Marc Tierney (D), Robert Snodgrass (M), Jonathan Howson (M), Bradley Johnson (M), Andrew Surman (M), Wesley Hoolahan (M), David Fox (M), Jacob Butterfield (M), Alexander Tettey (M), Grant Holt (F), Simeon Jackson (F), Steve Morison (F), Chris Martin (F), Harry Kane (F).

Doubtful: Elliot Bennett (knee), Lappin (ankle), Whittaker (ankle), Pilkington (groin).

Knacked: Simon Lappin (ankle).

Despite the fact that we’ve played almost entirely different teams in Europe than in the Premier League, we’ll be struggling to put together a fresh, uninjured and, more specifically, positionally aware first XI at SJP on Sunday. All the back four had a run out in Madeira and apart from Anita, the same players look likely to face Norwich on Sunday. So thanks for not buying any new defenders Fatman!

We dont have a lot of choice at Right Back, and there’s a possibility that if Anita’s other half has “dropped” by Sunday then he’ll be lining up at St James’ Park alongside Saylor (who’s looking like the old clumsy Saylor), Williamson and Santon.

The midfield is less clear-cut partly because we never know Pardew’s preferred strategy, nor do we know if Tiote can finally reclaim his place in central midfield on Sunday. Hatem Ben Arfa will return (following the last of his 3 match ban in Europe) and Cabaye plus Gutierrez will also be available.

Cisse missed last night’s 0-0 draw with Maritimo in Madeira through illness, while Tiote has been out since the opening day of the season with a calf injury. Both were expected to train today and could be included in the First XI. Demba Ba (our top scorer this season) was also rested and will always want to play.

Norwich, on the other hand, have had a reasonably straightforward and injury free first few games. Their back four looks to have settled on our former central defender Bassong (since his move from Tottenham), partnering Barnett along with Martin and Garrido on the flanks. The midfield will include three former Leeds United players, Johnson, Howson and now Snodgrass, all of whom are capable of hitting the target, along with Surman or Pilkington. The front two (Holt and Jackson) will either play as a “two” or with Jackson slightly deeper.

Below I’m giving two possible line ups for the Toon, the right one and Pardew’s selection.

Newcastle v Norwich predicted formations.


Norwich have many good points and despite the fact he has yet to score, Holt will be a constant threat to the defence as will Jackson and any one of the midfield four when they move forward.

Despite the fact his tinkering managed to rescue a point for the Toon after his lacklustre side almost gave up in the first half at Goodison, Pardew will feel the pressure of needing to win at home. It is now well documented that he has yet to select a side that has delivered in both halves of our four matches this season. This is emphasised by the fact that we havent scored a goal in the first half since the campaign started.

“Newcastle have been disappointingly stagnant and toothless so far this season – “a ghost of a trace of a pale imitation” of their former selves, as the song says – and Ben Arfa has been the only stellar performer in an oddly one-dimensional and unimaginative side” wrote Kevin Christie in

Pardew has to recognise this issue and start the game strongly with his best possible team and formation rather than rely on the usual “tinkering” at half time. His classic quote “Sometimes you have to throw a team out there and adjust” suggests his well paid analytical team, together with his coaching staff and of course Pardew himself maybe need to start thinking about another career if this continues?

Get it right Pardew and get it right first time!


NUFCBlog Author: AndyMac AndyMac has written 13 articles on this blog.

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21 Responses

  1. Soz WT shudda said my Ameobi preference is for Sammy on the left of a “three”. Not ideal but as we lack another HBA (that £2.5m for Moses not looking too much now is it Fatman ?) he’s the nearest thing we’ve got to an attacking midfielder who can score goals.

    Both Marveaux and Fergie can play there but Marv didnt impress last week, perhaps he cant be as bad two weeks running ?, and Fergie is more of a winger IMO than a striking midfielder.

    Maybe Boudebouz could get on Toon’s Christmas list as Belhanda seems a little out of our (cash) league ?

  2. Pardew doesnt need to go defensive with the smaller teams so he should do your preferred formation. Should be a guaranteed win with that if we take it to them.

  3. Thanks AndyMac: Hopefully Anita and Tiote will be available. If they are, I think we have a really good chance.

    The illness claims about Cisse might give Pardew and excuse to drop him to the bench?

    Same as you, I am hoping we will finally hit our stride. From the Swansea result, it looks like Everton are a good team so I hope that says our second half showing last week means that we are also a good team.

    We may have overachieved last season and have a small squad, but surely we have more quality than Norwich. It will be interesting for you and that Worky fella to see how Hughton and Pardew match up tactically.

  4. Alan Pardew’s instructions to fans on what they may say and think at the game. They’re allowed to thank Chris apparently, but not too much and only before the kickoff, and we should also give thanks to Kevin Nolan and Alan Smith, Harps and Joey Barton for running the team while Chris was manager and “Mike” for being “brave” apparently.

    Patronising git!

    Keep Chris Hughton welcome brief – Alan Pardew

  5. Speaking of Everton, they are the dark horses for this season like us from last season. They have already started this season with a bang and lay second on 10 points already.

    It’s a long way to go still so hopefully we return to winning ways once again.

  6. Phisix says:
    September 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    “Speaking of Everton, they are the dark horses for this season like us from last season. They have already started this season with a bang and lay second on 10 points already.

    It’s a long way to go still so hopefully we return to winning ways once again.”

    Phisix, as you probably know, they usually start the season like Darlington, then finish like Barcelona or Real Madrid, but end up more or less exactly where they should be. Despite Everton and Newcastle’s seemingly constant bleating about lack of funds, we are both the leading teams outside what is now a big six of Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. They are the closest team to us and we are the ones who should be fighting it out each season for one of the final Europa Cup places.

  7. Liverpool?? They are in the bottom 3 and I can’t see that changing tomorrow either. Suarez takes 10 chances to score 1 and Borini looks like a donkey compared to the pace of the premier league. You can take them out of the list of top 4/6 workyticket, it’s an insult to Everton and ourselves. Maybe 5 or 25 years ago they were.

  8. Liverpool are worse at using they’re history than we are. They get worse every year although Skysports and pundits still talk about them as a top four team.

  9. J tavernier g? Sheesh!!!! No wonder blog sites are false info tav is a defender not a goaly lol ….

    Sheesh!!!! what are you on about stevo? It’s an excellent preview as they always are on here. I don’t know why Andy, worky and Jimbob bother to spend so much of their time doing them for muppetts like you! Andy just ignore the stupid idiots like stevo and keep up the good work!

  10. What strikes me as strange is Pardew has made a rock for his own back by admitting to all who listen to his drivel that he moved Na into a central position to keep him happy. It then clearly didn’t benefit the team & has left Ba still unhappy because of its obvious lack of success in delivering service to the front men, yet petulant enough to winge when he is left on the side for the hood of the team. God knows there are more than enough games for all to play this year. By him coming in as a sub & performing the problem hasn’t been solved as after last season & most if this one Pardew still doesn’t know his best side but very clearly considers Cisse his no 1 striker while he is in dreadful form. This will not be resolved Sunday but I suspect. Shola will partner either Senegalese with more success in a front 2 & that I’d we play 3 Cisse should probably be the first choice frontman. Pardew should have settled thus at the backend of last season it the very least pre season but as the man has no backbone (puppets don’t!) This may drag on….I still expect a win & am hoping Ben Arfa will become the consistent leg end I know he can be.

  11. Phisix says:
    September 22, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    “Liverpool are worse at using they’re history than we are.”

    I don’t agree Phisix, I think that Liverpool are very good at using their history and Newcastle United are very poor at using theirs. Alas, much as I hate to say it but next to Liverpool we don’t have much of a history anyway and it’s all in the very distant past at the moment.

    Liverpool: 5 European Cups, 3 UEFA Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 18 League titles, 7 FA Cups, 8 League Cups, 15 Charity Shields, and they would have had more if it hadn’t been for Heysel stadium falling down and UEFA blaming Liverpool fans for it to mask their own negligence.

    Liverpool’s last major trophy – 2012.

    Newcastle United: 1 Fairs Cup, 4 League titles, 6 FA Cups, no European cups, no UEFA Cups, no UEFA Super Cups, no League Cups, no Charity Shields.

    Newcastle United’s last major trophy – 1969.

  12. WT says:

    “and they would have had more if it hadn’t been for Heysel stadium falling down and UEFA blaming Liverpool fans for it to mask their own negligence”

    I cannot believe you wrote that WT ?

    “Approximately one hour before the Juventus-Liverpool final was due to kick off, a large group of Liverpool fans breached a fence separating them from a “neutral area” which contained Juventus fans. The Juventus fans ran back on the terraces and away from the threat into a concrete retaining wall. Fans already seated near the wall were crushed; eventually the wall collapsed. Many people climbed over to safety, but many others died or were badly injured”

  13. BTW thanks for the thanks GS, Toontony and UTD111 wherever you are ? Wouldnt have to do these if you hadnt fecked off :)

  14. You always write good stuff AndyMac. This will be a good day. Liverpool and Man U. And us tw@tting Norwich, Fanf#ckingtastic

  15. GS says:

    “This will be a good day. Liverpool and Man U. And us tw@tting Norwich, Fanf#ckingtastic”

    Well it’s started pretty brightly at Anfield. Lessope for some more at SJP :)

  16. Wrote that before I read the team sheets.


    Newcastle: Harper,
    Perch, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Santon,
    Ben Arfa, Anita, Cabaye, Gutierrez,
    Cisse, Ba.
    Subs: Elliot, Bigirimana, Shola Ameobi, Tiote, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Tavernier.

    Norwich: Ruddy,
    Russell Martin, Barnett, Bassong, Garrido,
    Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Surman, Hoolahan,
    Morison. Subs: Bunn, Turner, Holt, Jackson, Pilkington, Ryan Bennett, Tettey.

    After that big build up, Holt’s only on the bench :)