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Norwich City vs. Newcastle Preview: Can’t stop, won’t stop

It’s time to break The Canary Lock

Newcastle United v Norwich City - Premier League Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Norwich City is hosting Newcastle on Saturday and we’re here to let you know everything about what is about to go down on the Eastern side of England. No parity between these two, mind you.

What’s poppin’

Let’s start at the beginning, and with the real issue being decided in this match: the probability of a feared relegation. Norwich's relegation, of course. The Canaries are this close to dropping from the premiere category of English league football and hanging by a very thin thread. It’s sad, but Norwich is facing quite a steep ending to their season with just 21 points earned in 32 games with six to go. Just for context: Watford is 19th in the table with one more point, but Burnley has reached 28 points while looking up at Everton... and their 29 points in 31 games played (one fewer than Norwich, for those of you not into math).

What I mean is that Norwich are entering a crucial game Saturday. No need to sugarcoat the fact that they’re most probably going down, but that’s a story for another day. Norwich got out of a seven-game losing streak as recently as April 2nd when the lads drew to a 0-0 final result with Brighton in a forgettable game. The Canaries dodged too many bullets back then with a putrid xG of 0.3 against Brighton’s 2.8. Birdie God saved them indeed. That said, Norwich somehow find it easy to dump goals on opponents, and that game to kick April off was the first time since Feb. 25th they ended the 90 minutes with their tally at zero. There is a very real chance Norwich find the net this weekend even if they ultimately end flopping, so watch out for that.

As for your Men in Black, Newcastle are putting on another seemingly unstoppable run of victories without the slightest of care about who the hell is in front of them. It’s been three in a row against the Wolves, Leicester, and Crystal Palace. It will be four (I hope) when we hit the rock tomorrow. Three at home, three Ws. First away, first W in more than a month? Seems feasible.

Newcastle has scored in four consecutive games—yes, that loner against Tottenham also counts—but the truth is that other than in the ridiculous span of games between the end of January and the start of March this team has never found it easy to say scoring goals is its calling card. Happens when you lost your main striker and have to patch that absence with a winter signing that, astonishingly, goes on to score two goals (one of them a made PK) in his 15 games played to date.

But... positivity! The Magpies are only scratching the tip of their potential iceberg. It is what it is. If you have not seen this glorious thing, just peep.

Don’t wanna say these lads are a Champions League group hiding in plain sight, but they told me numbers don’t lie and I’m a simple man so I believe in that.

Now, the truth is that Norwich has been a little bit of a Newcastle party-pooper for years. The last time Newcastle broke the Canary Lock in consecutive games happened more than 10 (ten!) years ago with a 4-2 victory in Dec. 2011... after getting the prior one six years earlier all the way back on Apr. 2005. Jesus. Things have gotten better of late with three draws and a win all from Feb. 2017 to Nov. 2021, but the most recent precedent ended in a 1-1 tie between both sides in Eddie Howe’s second game in charge of the Magpies.

Of course, that’s not happening again and you can start penciling in that W.

Who’s rockin’

Easy best guess at the Starting XI from the Geordie Lads.

Lineup Notes

  • Not Available: Callum Wilson (heel), Kieran Trippier (foot), Ryan Fraser (hamstring)
  • If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it, folks! I know the game calls for rotations, but we’re entering a hella tuff portion of the 2022 schedule. It’s Norwich this weekend and Burnley before packing the bags for the summer offseason. But Newcastle is going against Liverpool, Man. City, and Arsenal in the meaty two-week span between those two relegation-bound sides. This could be one of the last wins of the year, so you gotta strike when the iron is hot—and the opposition is bland.
  • Almirón, in case you missed it, well, didn’t miss himself against Crystal Palace handing the Magpies the third win in a row with a stupendous goal, his first of the season and the first in more than a full calendar year...
  • ...because there is this beautiful Brazilian King Bruno Guimaraes doing wonders all around the pitch on a weekly basis for the Black and White Army. Don’t get too crazy about it, but Baby Bruno has bagged three goals and one assist in 12 matches and 588 minutes of playing time since his arrival in Toon Town. Of course, Bruno has the highest G+A per 90 minutes (0.61) of the whole freaking team with future captain and Newcastle legend Kieran Trippier clocking in second with a 0.57 figure. This board, mates, this board.
  • Didi Howe on Ryan Fraser: “He’s had his second scan and there’s relatively good news in that there’s no massive problem for him but he’s in a race against time to get fit before the end of the season.” Here’s hoping we get to watch Fraser dance around one more time before we wrap the season up!
  • No other comebacks this Saturday, with Callum still out for a bit but Trippier is scheduled to (maybe? probably? hopefully?) return against Liverpool a week from now, or undoubtedly to face Man. City or Arsenal. He’s not waving goodbye to the year playing against Burnley away from home, right?

When and Where’s flowin’

  • Date: Saturday, April 23
  • Time: 10:00 am ET, 5:00 pm UK
  • Location: Carrow Road Stadium, Norwich
  • TV: Sky Sports Soccer Saturday/BBC Final Score (UK; studio updates only), Peacock (USA), DAZN (Canada)

How’s it goin’

Coming Home, Crystal Ball: Newcastle 2 - 1 Norwich

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Howay the Lads!