Norwich City - Newcastle United - Preview: Can Rafa snatch his first win?

Rafa Benitez takes his Newcastle players to Norwich today in search of a crucial win.

Norwich City - Newcastle United - Preview: Can Rafa snatch his first win?
The reverse of this fixture ended 6-2 in the Magpies' favour. (Photo: ESPN)

Just like the Tyne/Wear derby was last week, this game is a big six-pointer for Newcastle United. They travel to Norwich City knowing defeat could seal their fate and put an end to the hope of survival.

The facts and figures

It doesn't look promising for Rafa Benitez and his black and white army. The Magpies have lost their last seven league games on the spin and have only scored two goals in that time. 

To add to this, Alex Neil's men have kept two clean sheets in their last two games. If they keep another this weekend, it will be the first time they have kept three in a row since November 2012.

However, Benitez has won all of his three previous meetings with Norwich. He will be hoping that record is still intact after Saturday. To ensure that happens, Benitez will be expecting a performance similar to the one when these sides last met, in which Newcastle scored six goals from six shots on target.

The Canaries will be hoping they can turn their home form around in the run up to the end of the season. They have won none of their last five games at Carrow Road.

Wijnaldum bagged four in the reverse of this fixture. (Photo: Sky Sports)
Wijnaldum bagged four in the reverse of this fixture. (Photo: Sky Sports)

Goalkeeping worries

John Ruddy was in goal on that fateful day last year when Newcastle smashed six into Norwich's goal and he will be expected to perform a lot better this time around. One man who would love to be in goal tomorrow, is Newcastle's stand-in number one Rob Elliot.

Elliot is set to miss the end of this season and the start of the next one due to tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. Karl Darlow looks set to take his place until the end of the season which has left some Newcastle fans anxious, due to his inexperience.

The importance of the match

Both sides know how big this game is. A win provides momentum and a much-needed three points. Victory for Norwich could see them move six points clear of Newcastle and five clear of the drop zone. That would be a huge points difference for Benitez and his men to overturn in seven games.

An away win would be better for neutral fans as it would add extra drama to what is already looking to be a fantastically tense and tight end to the season. It would mean Sunderland would sink to 19th place for the time being.

Newcastle fans making the long trip to Carrow Road will be praying this will finally be the turning point in their season.