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Opinion

Newcastle United facing biggest match of the season already

9 months ago
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Many times in the past it is overused, claiming Newcastle United are facing their biggest match of the season.

A bit devalued when it is claimed any number of times in the same campaign.

However, I think this weekend it is totally justified.

Newcastle United face Cardiff City and I think winning or losing could be pivotal to the season ahead.

When the fixtures came out in June, there was a collective groan around Tyneside.

With four of last season’s top six to face in the opening five games, it was always going to be tough,

Also, not exactly the best time to face Cardiff, their first home game back into the Premier League, rather than a few months down the line when they may have been already battered into submission at the higher level.

Two seasons ago, both Middlesbrough and Sunderland were embarrassingly bad, relegated long before the final weekend, last season though it was a different matter as the relegation battle involved a lot of clubs until the very final stages, even West Brom showed with remarkable late form, including a win at Newcastle, that if they’d ditched Alan Pardew (or even better, never employed him at all) earlier then they could have maybe pulled off an unlikely looking escape.

This time, Cardiff do look a knocking bet for relegation and all the bookies make them their big favourite to go down.

So even though it may not be an ideal time for the trip to Wales, I think Newcastle have to get a positive result.

I just look at the fixtures and believe that if we don’t get a win at Cardiff, Rafa’s team will be rock bottom after four matches and then you face a real struggle to climb out of it.

Whilst we have become a bit of bogey team for Chelsea on their travels, their team once again look to have thrown off their collective huff after getting rid of another manager.

They were embarrassing in that final game of the season at St James Park and will be a far different proposition this time.

With Man City away to come after that and an all but certain defeat in the fourth match, I think Rafa Benitez won’t have a more difficult team selection than his one to face Cardiff.

Yedlin almost certainly missing means he will have to decide who fills in, meaning two of last season’s excellent defence from last season’s final few months will be missing.

More importantly though, will he be bold enough to bring in both Rondon and Muto now.

They are surely both going to be first choice this season and for me he needs them both in against Cardiff.

Perez was shocking against Spurs and  whilst Joselu took his goal well and created the chance for Kenedy, his general play caused the opposition next to no worries, as per usual. When Rondon was introduced his strength and purpose suddenly had Spurs worried and we need that from the start on Saturday. I dread seeing Rafa stick with the same line-up and try to keep it tight first half then hope to try and win it later on, far better to try and win the game from the start, as if we go behind it will be a nightmare as it would give Cardiff such a lift.

I think a win at Cardiff could then carry us through with every chance of getting something against Chelsea but a defeat or poor performance and draw at Cardiff, could leave Newcastle very vulnerable going into the Chelsea game, knowing Man City are up next.

Fifth and sixth matches are Arsenal home and Palace away, again we need points on the board before those two matches. Games where potentially you could see us getting something but it very much depending on having some confidence and momentum.

Rafa Benitez needs to get his team on the front foot this weekend, Cardiff City are the weakest team in the division and sitting back in not an option.

Cardiff v Newcastle Match Betting:

Cardiff win 11/5Draw 21/10Newcastle win 31/20

Both teams to score in 1st half 4/1Rondon to score last goal 13/2NUFC win 2-0 21/2

All Cardiff v Newcastle betting HERE

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