Expect goals when Norwich City and Newcastle United collide
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Recent history suggests there is one thing guaranteed when Norwich City and Newcastle collide - goals…lots of them.
The two sides have shared 20 goals from their last three meetings and with both sides needing victory for their respective promotion challenges it could be another open affair at Carrow Road.
Fans would certainly take a measure of the euphoria which gripped the City faithful when Martin Olsson drove the ball home in injury time the last time the two sides met in Norfolk. The victory looked like a Premier League status saving three points but it didn’t quite work out that way as anyone of a Canaries persuasion won’t need telling.
But if City can get the better of Rafa Benitez’s men this evening then fans really will start believing the top-flight is a genuine possibility once again.
Recent results against the Toon also suggest that, whatever happens tonight, the outcome will be significant to Norwich’s season.
Before Olsson’s winner didn’t preserve Premier League football, Norwich had been taught a harsh top-flight lesson in a 6-2 defeat at St James’ Park earlier that season.
An hour gone and 3-2 down, Neil decided to throw caution to the wind and replace Alex Tettey with Wes Hoolahan in an attempt to find an equaliser.
Half an hour and a hammering later, Neil admitted he had got his tactics wrong. This was in a climate when Neil was still vastly in credit with Norwich fans given the club’s ride to promotion. They would forgive him.
However, the Canary landscape has significantly changed whereby Neil cannot afford to show such tactical naivety.
Those seeds of doubt in Neil were being more heavily sown in the wake of City’s 4-3 defeat at St James’ Park in September.
Leading 3-2 going into injury time City somehow managed to turn victory into defeat as goals from Yoan Gouffran and Dwight Gayle left City fans wondering just how they had turned their position of superiority into defeat.
Four wins in their last five games has restored a bit of faith for the majority of supporters but City must maintain their recent charge this evening if those doubts are to be kept in check.
Victory over Newcastle would be more than just three points. It would send out a message to the rest of the Championship that City mean business in the fight for promotion.
Just don’t expect for it to be a smooth ride but when is it ever with Norwich City?