In our third game of the 2017/2018 Premier League season, we make the long trip to The North East to face Rafa Benitez’ Newcastle United in what could be one of the most important Premier League fixtures of the season.
Around 3,000 members of The Claret & Blue Army are expected to be traveling to St James’ Park, after witnessing our impressive 0-2 victory at Cheltenham Town in The Carabao Cup. Whereas the hosts’ misery continued after they lost their Round Two time at home to Nottingham Forest to add to their opening two League defeats.
The clash will feature as one of four 3 PM kick-offs in The Premier League and as is customary with games of that time, it is not being broadcasted on any TV Channel in The UK.
However, live Radio Commentary of the game is available if you tune into BBC Radio Five Live. If you don’t have access to a Radio tomorrow afternoon, you can be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter for live updates and reaction from the tie.
Newcastle’s St James’ Park will host tomorrow’s encounter and it is not a ground that we have fared well at in recent times. We have only won one of our last 16 visits to The North East and that was in 2013 with Kevin Nolan scoring the only goal of the game.
However, on our last visit to The Stadium, the home side claimed a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Ayoze Perez and Gini Wijnaldum, with Nikica Jelavic grabbing a second-half constellation for us.
St James’ Park was opened in 1892 and its Galloway End houses the largest Cantilever Structure in Europe. The site also proved a happy hunting Ground for our U23’s last season, who gained promotion to The PL2 Division One against in a Play-Off Final against The Magpies.
Slaven Bilic is set to welcome three key individuals in the form of Manuel Lanzini, Cheikhou Kouyate, and Andy Carroll back to Premier League action this weekend as revealed by The Croat in his Press Conference yesterday.
For the first time in many months, we have a full squad travelling into a Premier League fixture. However, the one absentee, defender Winston Reid, misses the tie after picking up an injury in the warm-up for last Saturday’s defeat to The Saints.
Whereas, under pressure, Rafa Benitez made an entourage of changes for the defeat to Nottingham Forest in midweek, but is expected to field a similar side to the one that were defeated at The John Smith’s Stadium last week.
There are no new fresh concerns for The Magpies, but many fans are calling for the inclusion of striker Aleksandar Mitrovic who impressed on Wednesday night. So, could the Serbian International prove to be the difference for the home side? as they go in search of their first League points of the season.
Newcastle United and West Ham United have met a staggering 129 times in Competition Football. But the overall record makes for grave viewing for any Hammer, as The Toon have been triumphant 52 times, we have been the victors 40 times and 37 games have been drawn.
Notable encounters between us and The North-East outfit in recent seasons have included our 5-0 drubbing at St James’ Park in 2011 and the hosts’ remarkable victory over us on the final day of the 2014/2015 season to keep their Premier League status.
Newcastle United have forever been a powerhouse of English Football and are four-time Premier League Champions. The Magpies have also been triumphant in The F.A Cup on six occasions and have tasted European success at the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
However, ever since the takeover from controversial businessman Mike Ashley in 2007, the club has declined in stature. Suffering two Relegations and countless disappointing League finishes, one would feel that the side could suffer either one of those fates this season.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Lancashire based Referee Neil Swarbrick is due to be the man of the middle for our trip to The North East, with Bobby Madley as Fourth Official and Derek Eaton and Richard West playing the role of Assistant Referees.
So, with all the action from tomorrow afternoon’s encounter previewed, can we heap the pressure on Magpies boss Rafa Benitez? Or will the home side get their 2017/2018 Premier League campaign finally up and running?