The game against Norwich might just be Newcastle’s most important game of the Premier League season as a win in this keenly anticipated encounter could serve as a springboard to success for the Magpies.
Newcastle secured a hard-fought draw against fellow relegation strugglers Sunderland in their last Premier League outing, with Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring the pick of goals to keep Newcastle’s survival hopes alive.
Now Newcastle takes on another relegation candidate – Norwich City knowing fully well that a win against the Canaries could see them out of the bottom three but a loss could, in turn, consolidate their stay in the bottom three if other results prove to be unfavorable to them.
Former Newcastle boss John Carver described the game as a must-win fixture.
“We need to go there and get three points. We don’t have to be stupid, but we have to get three points,” he told Sky Sports News HQ.
“He will have the best opportunity to win, and he has to go there thinking – and I know Norwich have had good results against Manchester City and with that win at West Brom on Saturday – but they have to go there thinking ‘we can win this game.'”
Newcastle will be hoping West Brom can do them a favour and keep Sunderland at bay to pave the way for an exit from the drop zone.
Sunderland are currently on 26 points – one ahead of Newcastle in 25, they both have a game In hand and will be looking to capitalize on each other’s mistakes in the coming weeks.
Rafa Benitez will be hoping to return from the International hiatus with a massive bang as he’s had enough time to prepare his players for the difficult task at hand.
The Battle against Norwich will be the first of many to come although they’ll need a win against Alex Neil’s men to set the pace for a great escape.
The prospect of relegation isn’t something Rafael Benitez is used to as he has taken on managerial roles in more reputable clubs in the past, this is somewhat of an uncanny situation for Rafa, but he’ll be looking to get the most out of it.
Rafa and Newcastle fans alike will be hoping to see more of the same from Mitrovic on Saturday as the Serbia international proved against Sunderland last time out that he has the quality to lead Newcastle out of obscurity alongside Ayoze Perez.
Norwich, on the other hand, have every chance of walking out of this game with a result following their 1-0 win over West Brom in their last Premier League outing.
Things look to be brightening up for Alex Neil and company as there seems to be some new found belief in an around the Canaries camp which might just help them stay up this season.
Norwich and Newcastle should be careful not to throw caution to the wind in this crucial relegation clash as it could prove costly for both teams in the long run as injuries and suspensions could easily be picked up in ties like this.
By the looks of things we should have a clearer picture of the bottom three after this weekend, although we should note that a lot could still change between now and the end of the season, I reckon the Premier League still has a few surprises up its sleeve.