Newcastle United vs. Norwich City: Previewing the Match

James KentContributor IIISeptember 19, 2012

Newcastle United vs. Norwich City: Previewing the Match

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    Norwich City travel to Newcastle United for their next game in the Premier League, and they will be confident of a good result. It will be interesting to see how the game turns out, because neither team seems to be performing at their full potential.

    The game will also see former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton making a return to the place he was well liked by the locals. He will likely receive a good reception from the home and away crowd, but that doesn't mean to say his new team will get an easy ride.

Key Players (Newcastle)

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    Demba Ba

    I think the forward is going to be their most dangerous player when the two teams meet on Sunday afternoon. In the recent game against Everton, Ba had to make his introduction from the bench, but he proved his credentials to start with two superb goals. It will be interesting to see if his heroics gain him a start against the Canaries.   

     

    Papiss Cisse

    When Newcastle picked up Cisse in the January 2012 transfer window, it looked like a superb piece of business, especially when he went on to crack 13 league goals after his arrival.

    So, there were a lot of expectations on his shoulders ahead of the new season. But things have not worked out for him very well yet this season, and he is yet to score. Nevertheless, players can be the most dangerous when they start to get written off.

     

    Hatem Ben Afra

    Ben Afra is a very talented creative and attacking midfielder who is clearly one of the best in the Premier League. He is clearly a player that Alan Pardew values very highly, because more often than not he is in the starting lineup. I expect that will be the case on Sunday, and Norwich must keep him quiet to get anything out of the game.

Key Players (Norwich)

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    Grant Holt

    Fans and pundits alike enjoy criticizing Grant Holt when he makes a slow start to the season. But the reality is this is just the sort of player he is. People said he wasn't good enough for the Championship and Premier League, but he proved them wrong on both occasions.

    I have been disappointed with his start to the season, but I am not unduly concerned and won't be writing him off like some people. Grant revels in this sort of situation, and there is no reason to think he can't have a similar season to last year. It would be foolish for Newcastle to underestimate him in Sunday's game.    

     

    Robert Snodgrass

    Snodgrass has been a long-time target for Norwich City, and there was a sense of real relief that he was finally captured in the summer. The club's admiration for the player's abilities has been well placed, as shown in the opening four games of the season.

    He is likely to be Norwich's main attacking force, so Newcastle will have to keep him quiet if they have any hope of keeping the Canaries quiet.

     

    Javier Garrido

    Garrido has been the summer signing that most fans have been impressed with more than any other. It is a well-known fact that the defense was a weak point for the club last season. Garrido looks like a class act defensively and also going forward. But he is likely to have his work cut out against Newcastle.

Form and Head-to-Head Record

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    Newcastle's Form

    W L D D

    Newcastle started off the season in fine form on opening day, but since then they have had an uninspiring time. They have picked up just two points in their last three games, and they are currently placed 11th in the league with five points. 

     

    Norwich's Form

    L D D D

    Norwich started the season in the worst possible way, but after that defeat they have performed quite well. However, they are still looking for that first win of the season, and they've only scored two goals in their opening four games; they are currently 16th in the league table with three points. But they have performed marginally better in the last three games.

     

    Head-to-Head Record

    History seems to benefit Newcastle slightly more than Norwich. The overall record states that Newcastle have won 20 games against the 15 that the Canaries have won. It's difficult to make too many conclusions from last season's matches, because both teams won their home games. However, it should be noted that Newcastle have had the better of games in Newcastle in recent years.

Newcastle's Projected Team

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    I think Newcastle will keep more or less the same team that played against Everton, as long as all their key players remain fit. But I think there is a possibility that Cisse may be dropped for Ba, especially since he scored twice in the game, and Cisse has yet to register this season.

Norwich's Projected Team

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    I don't expect many surprises in Chris Hughton's team selection, but I was impressed with Kane's first appearance in a Norwich shirt and think we should consider starting him alongside Holt. Some people will be surprised to exclude Jackson, but don't forget he is a great impact player to bring off the bench.

    It remains a mystery to see if Pilkington will be fit for the game, but I think Surman deserves another opportunity anyway.  

Prediction

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    This is a difficult one to call. I think last season's Newcastle would win this game. But they haven't yet reached that level. However, Norwich seem to be missing something as well.

    So, I am going to go with the safe bet and assume the sides will cancel each other out in a 1-1 draw.

     

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