Predicted NUFC Starting Lineup – Newcastle v Norwich
Newcastle United v Norwich City
Saturday 23 November 3pm
All kinds of predictable things have been said in advance of Saturday’s match, you know the kind of stuff, along the lines of after the lord mayor’s show etc.
The simple fact is though that Newcastle have scrapped their way to six unlikely points from matches against Chelsea and Spurs and nothing less than three points will do from Saturday’s NUFC starting lineup.
I don’t blame Alan Pardew for trotting out the old line of ‘no easy matches’ and of course it isn’t going to be easy, the Hull defeat was a prime example of the players thinking they were in for an easy 3 points having totally outplayed Villa and taken an early lead against the Tigers at St.James’ Park.
If this Newcastle side has any aspirations, whether that is as a team and/or as individuals, they have to blow Norwich away at the weekend.
Four defeats on the road out of five tells you all need to know, the only exception a single goal win in a shocker of a match against Stoke.
They steadied the ship with a home win over an average West Ham but in all competitions they have shipped 15 goals in their last three away games.
With only two goals in their five league matches away and big summer signing Van Wolfswinkel injured, surely all of these factors only point to a Newcastle win if the game is approached in the right manner.
Alan Pardew will have one enforced change to make and I see Mapou filling in at right-back with Coloccini in the middle, when Mapou has played a couple of times at right full-back he has looked very comfortable, switching Santon over to the right would be an unnecessary extra move in my opinion.
I think the biggest challenge by far will be Newcastle creating that first goal, if they get the one I can see the Canaries crumbling with no way back.
I think the circumstances give Alan Pardew the perfect opportunity to drop Shola to the bench and change things around.
Ameobi has played his part in helping United to the wins over Chelsea and Spurs but surely using him is a very short-term option, his lack of goals and movement is a major weakness when trying to overcome an opposition who will undoubtedly come with everybody behind the ball.
It may seem revolutionary on one level but playing Cisse is the answer against Norwich, chuck him back in and tell him to get rid of this season’s frustrations against the team with the worst defence in the Premier League, 21 goals and counting. What is the worst that can happen? Plus if you think Shola is a longer term answer then he can come on from the bench.
The only other viable attacking outlet that can be added is Hatem Ben Arfa and I see his main potential positive is as an impact sub if things are going badly, or if things go well then bring him on and help give him confidence back against a demoralised opposition.
Whatever you think is a realistic finishing position this season, six points in these next two matches could well make the difference of anything up to four or five positions in the table come next May.
The team may have to be patient tomorrow but I confidently predict three points for United, probably.
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