Newcastle desperately need a win at the 15th attempt as Burnley travel to Tyneside
After coming within 15 minutes of their first win of the season on Tuesday night, Newcastle United aim to make it 15th time lucky as Burnley visit St James’ Park on Saturday.
Despite playing 81 minutes of the game against Norwich City with ten men in midweek thanks to Ciaran Clark’s silly red card, Newcastle were the better side for most of the game, and only a stunning finish from Teemu Pukki ensured Callum Wilson’s penalty wasn’t enough for the Magpies to claim their first win under Eddie Howe.
There’s no doubting that performances have improved massively since the former Bournemouth manager took charge, but results need to come quickly if the Geordies are to escape the drop, with the gap between themselves and 17th placed Watford now six points.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley are also in desperate need for a result, as they sit just three points above Newcastle in 18th, making this one a bona fide six-pointer. Despite being in the relegation zone, Burnley are actually unbeaten in their last five league games, a run which stretches back to mid-October, when Manchester City beat them at the Etihad.
Newcastle will go into this game with the aforementioned Clark suspended for his pull on Pukki, which will see the Irishman sit out the next three games. He will be replaced at centre-back by either Federico Fernandez, who was excellent when deputising against the Canaries, or skipper Jamaal Lascelles, who returns from suspension.
Matt Ritchie is also available after a similar suspension for collecting five yellow cards, but where he fits into Howe’s favoured 4-4-2 formation is yet to be seen, after Jamal Lewis turned in a decent performance at left-back in the week.
Ryan Fraser was the man hooked for Fernandez when Clark was sent off, and will likely return to one of the wing positions behind Joelinton and Wilson.
As for Burnley, they will also have two players returning from suspension for hitting the yellow card limit. Ashley Westwood and James Tarkowski both missed the 0-0 draw with Wolves, and could replace Jack Cork and Nathan Collins in the central spine of the Clarets.
Ashley Barnes, Dale Stephens and Phil Bardsley are all out for Sean Dyche’s side through injury.
Of the 10 Premier League meetings between the sides, history slightly favours the Geordies. They’ve won four of those games, with three ending in stalemate.
The two sides have actually met at St James’ Park twice since the summer, with Steve Bruce’s side winning a pre-season friendly 3-0, before the Clarets exacted revenge by eliminating Newcastle from the Carabao Cup back in September on penalties.
Newcastle United take on Burnley on Saturday, December 4th. Kick-off is at 3pm.