Thursday, January 10, 2013
Something has to give as Norwich City and Newcastle United prepare for Premier League battle – both bidding to break an unwanted sequence of results.
The two sides meet at Carrow Road on Saturday (3pm) with the Canaries looking to end a rare run of four straight league defeats, and the Magpies trying to avoid an eighth successive away defeat in all competitions.
City’s barren Christmas and New Year programme was the first time since October 2007 they had lost four league games in a row – that was in the Championship tenure of manager Peter Grant, then caretaker boss Jim Duffy – but Newcastle’s form has become a far greater worry. They have not won in their last 17 away matches in all competitions, and have lost nine of the last 11 league games.
The injury-plagued Magpies are one of only two Premier League teams without an away win this season. Second-from-bottom Reading are the others.
Alan Pardew’s team last won an away match on May 2 last year, a 2-0 Premier League success at Chelsea courtesy of two Papiss Cisse goals.
Even the Newcastle team relegated from the top flight in 2008-09 managed two away victories.
The Magpies’ current run is the worst away from St James’ Park for more than 50 years. Back in 1960-61, they lost 10 consecutive away games in all competitions en route to relegation from the old Division One.
Meanwhile, Chris Hughton’s men will be hoping their very comfortable 3-0 FA Cup victory at Peterborough will trigger a revival in Premier League fortunes after successive defeats by West Bromwich, Chelsea, Manchester City and West Ham brought a rude halt to a 10-match unbeaten league run. The Canaries have not lost five league games in a row for nearly eight years. Back in 2005, they were beaten by Blackburn, Manchester City, Chelsea, Bolton and Arsenal on the way to being relegated from the Premiership. But that run was not as bad as the Premiership sequence of seven straight defeats under manager John Deehan, then caretaker boss Gary Megson, that condemned them to the drop in 1995.
With Liverpool away and Tottenham at home completing their league programme in January, City need to cash in on the Magpies’ current slump.