There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes at Newcastle. Be it the number of players on the treatment table, the persistent calls for the manager’s head, on the field behavior issues and above all the owner who is supposed to be the man that should be clearing the mess rather preferring to stay beside the placid waters in Barbados. But somehow amidst all this, the Magpies have managed to win a football match and got the 3 points against Everton and should now be looking forward to hosting a reinvigorated Burnley side at the St.James’ Park on New Year’s Day. The 3-2 victory against an Everton side which looked a shadow of a team that finished fifth last campaign might have eased the pressure and uncertainties surrounding the football club – standing them in good stead ahead of the visit of Burnley with the home side expected to be temporarily managed by the assistant manager John Carver.
For Sean Dyche and Burnley, the 2-2 draw against the champions away from home should have come as a major confidence boost as they had to claw back from a two goal deficit and snatch a point which could make a telling difference at the end of the season. The visitors couldn’t have asked for a better place to go to as Newcastle at this point in time look vulnerable and the climate there is hardly serene to begin with. The Clarets still sit in the relegation zone just above Leicester but they are in a decent form at the moment with the side placed 15th on the form table having accrued 5 points from their last 5 away games. With just 2 points separating up to four teams near the bottom of the table, a win at Newcastle could lift them above the drop zone.
These two sides met at the start of December at Turf Moor, with Boyd and Cisse scoring in a 1-1 draw.
About 9 players are suffering from various injuries at Newcastle as there’s quite an injury crisis at the club. Key players in Tim Krul, R Taylor, Obertan and Siem De Jong are still on the road to recovery certain to miss out on the New Year’s Day game while Ameobi could return to the fold after suffering a knock but will require a late fitness test before the game. In form striker Papiss Cisse will not be available due to a three-match suspension after the player has accepted the FA charge imposed on him due to his violent conduct against Everton.
Burnley have relatively few injuries to deal with at the moment and are boosted by the expected return of Duff and Taylor from their calf injuries. Ward, on the other hand is out of contention for the Newcastle game and hence unavailable for selection.
Possible Starting Lineups
Alnwick; Janmaat, Coloccini, S Taylor, Dummett; Colback, Tiote, Riviere, Sissoko, Gouffran; Perez (4-5-1)
Heaton; Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Mee; Arfield, Jones, Marney, Boyd; Barnes, Ings (4-4-2)
- Newcastle go into this game on the back of an excellent home form with 5 wins from the last 6 games. Fortress.
- Burnley currently have the worst goal difference in the league. (-15)
Ayoze Perez – Newcastle United
Ayoze Perez has been a very good signing for Newcastle, with the 21-year old having scored 5 goals in the league already, a few of those very crucial match-winners it has to be said. His close control and a genuine predatory instinct has provided the Magpies’ attack a new dimension and the versatility he brings to Newcastle in the fact that he is able to play anywhere in the final third makes him a valuable player at the club. The Spaniard boasts a 76% pass accuracy and has managed to create 10 chances from open play in the 18 appearances he’s made so far. His ability to direct shots on goal has been impressive though as Perez enjoys a 65% shot accuracy with 5 out of the 13 shots on target have managed to find the beat the keeper. With a dearth of a genuine goalscorer in their squad now for the near future owing to the suspension of Papiss Cisse, Perez should hold the key to Newcastle’s chances to build on the Everton win come the new year.
Danny Ings – Burnley
Danny Ings was always tipped to shine in the Premier League and the English forward has, after a difficult initiation period in the top division. The 22-year old has scored 4 goals and set up 3 goals in the 12 appearances he made as an out and out center forward whereas he could neither score nor assist in the other 4 games he played in as a second striker or a number ten. Though that statistic kind of shows what a typical English center forward Danny Ings is, the work rate he brings to the side has often gone unnoticed. Ings has also created a respectable 16 chances from open play with a pass accuracy of 75% but he has to be more clinical in front of goal with only 35% of his shooting attempts have been on target. If he can get his act together and finish off the chances the visiting side are going to get on the break, then Burnley have a real good chance of coming away with a positive result.
Can’t see Newcastle beating an upbeat Burnley with all the internal turbulence that exists at this moment. I’d put my money on an eventful draw though which will also happen to be a repeat of the previous result.
Newcastle United 1-1 Burnley