Newcastle United welcome Norwich City to St James’ Park in an early relegation six-pointer showdown as the first midweek round of 2021-22 Premier League season gets underway.
Victory would see Newcastle move above Norwich into 19th whereas a win for the Canaries would move them six points clear of the Magpies and temporarily above Burnley for at least 24 hours into 18th place.
Dwight Gayle is a doubt for Newcastle after missing Saturday’s defeat at Arsenal with a hamstring injury.
Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie (both suspension) and Paul Dummett (calf) are ruled out.
Norwich will be without Mathias Normann after he was substituted in Saturday’s goalless draw against Wolves with a pelvic injury.
Christoph Zimmerman (ankle) and Sam Byram (fitness) remain ruled out.
- Newcastle have won just one of their last five Premier League meetings against Norwich (W1, D2, L2).
- Norwich are yet to win away at Newcastle in the Premier League after eight previous visits (D2, L6).
- Only three meetings in this fixture this century have finished goalless – of which only one of those goalless draws came at St James’ Park in February 2020.
- Newcastle have conceded three goals in each of their last three home matches.
- No Norwich player has produced more passes this season than Grant Hanley – with the Scottish defender producing 510 passes in 12 league appearances.
Given their away issues at Arsenal over the last decade, Newcastle should be pleased with the manner of their loss to the Gunners on Saturday because they looked confident on the attack with Jonjo Shelvey’s long-range strikes proving a nightmare for Arsenal’s defence.
Eddie Howe’s Magpies though did struggle with direct passes at times but Martin Dubravka was superb in goal with numerous saves, although small defensive issues cost them the game but the overall performance offers promise coming into this crunch match.
Norwich though seem to have finally found their attacking groove despite Storm Arwen posing difficult conditions on Saturday, where the Canaries were on top of Wolves throughout much of their goalless draw but just lacked that finishing touch.
Now if both teams can build on those performances and bring their absolute best to this match, I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s an unexpected cracker but Norwich’s poor away form on Tyneside is making me lean towards a home win if the Toon Army are in full voice and clinical on attack.
Prediction: Newcastle United 2-1 Norwich
Result: Newcastle United 1-1 Norwich