Newcastle United face their second relegation six-pointer of the week as they play hosts to Burnley at St. James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.
Still looking for their first Premier League win of the season, Newcastle United welcome fellow relegation rivals Burnley to St. James’ Park this weekend in what is a ‘must win’ encounter for both sides.
Eddie Howe was forced to rip up his game plan after only nine minutes on the clock against Norwich City in midweek when Ciaran Clark was sent off. However, the Magpies displayed incredible spirit and resilience to put themselves in a winning position, with Callum Wilson converting from the penalty spot, but the ten men could not hold their nerves as Teemu Pukki rifled in a stunning equaliser to steal a point for his team.
The result keeps Newcastle rooted at the foot of the table with just seven points from a possible 42, as Howe struggles to spark the cliched new-manager bounce. Newcastle have played a gung-ho brand of football at St. James’ Park this season, with opportunities at both ends becoming the narrative, resulting in four draws and three defeats from seven home games.
Although Burnley are only three points above their hosts coming into this game, there is a sense of optimism around the Clarets, who have lost only one of their past eight league games; that setback came on the road at Manchester City. Sean Dyche’s men were persistent and impressive when they held Wolves to a stalemate in midweek, but draws will not be enough to stave off relegation.
The Clarets have already knocked Newcastle out of the Carabao Cup on penalties earlier this term, but the Magpies won both games in the Premier League last season. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides at St James’ Park, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Bring on Burnley. ?
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 3, 2021
Newcastle United will be without the services of defender Ciaran Clark due to suspension owing to his straight red card in the Norwich draw, but skipper Jamaal Lascelles will be in contention after returning from a one-match ban following the accumulation of yellow cards. Matt Ritchie also returns from suspension but may struggle to displace Jamal Lewis at left-back, while Paul Dummett is the lone injury concern for the hosts.
Eddie Howe can persist with the 4-4-2 system he deployed in the last game, as he looks set to stick. Martin Dubravka will feature between the sticks for the Magpies after making several vital saves to keep the hosts in the game last time out. Guarding the Slovakian in central defence could be the pairing of Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez, who put up a solid display in midweek.
Javier Manquillo made his first start under Howe against Norwich and defended well enough to deserve another opportunity to operate as the right-back, while Jamal Lewis comes in on the other side to play as an attacking left-back.
Up ahead, Jonjo Shelvey will try to anchor the midfield while serving as a creative lynchpin with his tremendous passing ability. Joe Willock could again feature in the engine room, providing the legs and coverage at both ends of the pitch. Ryan Fraser’s ability to send quality balls into the box could prove to be a huge asset in the game, while Joelinton can return in a midfield role slotting in on the right flank.
Allan Saint-Maximin will again be the maverick X-factor on the pitch featuring in a much-freer role alongside Newcastle’s talismanic marksman Callum Wilson, who will be spearheading Howe’s attack.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Dubravka; Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Lewis; Joelinton, Shelvey, Willock, Fraser; Saint-Maximin, Wilson
In a big boost for the Clarets boss Sean Dyche, James Tarkowski and Ashley Westwood both return from suspensions to reclaim their places in the lineup, with Nathan Collins and Jack Cork expected to make way. Ashley Barnes is still out with a thigh injury, while Phil Bardsley, who missed the encounter against Wolves with an illness, is doubtful for the game. Midfielder Dale Stephens, who has tested positive for Covid-19, is also set to miss out.
Dyche can line up Burnley in his preferred 4-4-2 formation with defensive solidity and discipline being the key for the Clarets. Nick Pope is the undisputed starter in goal after keeping his second clean sheet last time out. In central defence, the manager could opt to go with proven pairing of Tarkowski and Ben Mee as they look to keep things solid at the back.
Charlie Taylor put in a great shift against Wolves and will be keen to build on the positive display at left-back, while Matt Lowton will be hoping to impress in at right-back. Johann Berg Gudmundsson could be dropped from the midfield, given his unimpactful performances of late. Hence, a midfield quartet of Dwight McNeil, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood and Maxwel Cornet could be deployed.
McNeil will look to feed the forwards with quality crosses into the box while summer arrival Cornet is capable of producing that stardust in the final third. Chris Wood and Matej Vydra will form the strike partnership for the Clarets’ upfront. The duo will be hoping to impose their physicality and get on the scoresheet when they face the Newcastle defence that has conceded ten goals in their last five league matches.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; McNeil, Westwood, Brownhill, Cornet; Vydra, Wood
- Newcastle United have gone winless in their last 15 games across all competitions. Only in 1978, they have a longer streak without a win (23).
- Burnley are winless in their last eight away league games at St. James’ Park (D4 L4), with their last win coming in April 1976.
- The hosts have found the back of the net 16 times but have been dented by conceding 30 goals already in the Premier League – 17 of which have come at St. James’ Park.
- Both the sides are draw specialists with a combined 14 stalemates from the 28 games they have played in the Premier League this season.
- Allan Saint-Maximin both scored and assisted a goal in both Premier League games against Burnley last campaign, with only three players having scored and assisted against the same opponent in three consecutive games (Steven Gerrard vs Newcastle), (Theo Walcott against West Ham) and (Roberto Firmino vs Arsenal).
Player to Watch
Cornet was the headline signing of the summer for Burnley, joining in a £13 million move from Lyon. A few eyebrows were raised, and rightly so, as the Ivorian was not the type of profile associated with Burnley in recent years. In fact, he is the polar opposite of all Sean Dyche signings, an unpredictable dribbler who loves to take on opposing defenders and beat them with his pace and strength.
The 25-year-old has settled in very well and is already a firm fan favourite at Turf Moor. He has hit the ground running in the Premier League, contributing with five goals from eight appearances, while some of his stunning strikes can be contenders for the goal of the season. He will again look to produce the creative spark and that moment of magic to help his team bag all three points for his side at Newcastle.
Newcastle United 2-1 Burnley
Had it stayed 11 vs 11 on Tuesday night, Newcastle might have had enough to see off Norwich and emerge with all three points lifting themselves from the foot of the table. But Ciaran Clark’s moment of madness put the game beyond the Magpies’ reach despite their valiant efforts. Still, a point was earned, and things can be amended if Newcastle win against Burnley.
Surprisingly, the Magpies are just three victories away from 11th place in the standings and six points away from safety even after a terrible start. The Clarets have shown signs of endurance in recent weeks, but Newcastle’s potent attack should propel them to their first win of the 2021/22 season here. The Hard Tackle predicts a narrow 2-1 win for Eddie Howe’s men to finally kick off their campaign.