Sunday’s slate of Premier League action offers up just a singular fixture, but when projecting the impending relegation battle six months from now, it figures to be massive as a potential six-point swing.
[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup ]
Newcastle United vs. Norwich City — 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra
No side has won fewer points than Newcastle United (three points from eight games – zero wins) to begin the 2015-16 PL season. Steve McClaren’s job is said to be in no danger whatsoever, but if affairs at St. James’ Park continue in their current state for much longer, how long can owner Mike Ashley (of all people) sit idly by and watch the Magpies languish at the very bottom of the league table?
In Norwich City, Sunday’s opponent, Newcastle face the second-highest scoring team (12 goals — Chelsea, who’ll not be down there much longer, are first with 14) currently sitting in the bottom half of the table. Center back Russell Martin and 21-year-old winger Nathan Redmond lead the Canaries with three goals a piece, while manager Alex Neil waits for Cameron Jerome, who last season scored 18 goals in the Championship, to improve upon his one-goal output to begin his latest stint in the PL.
Newcastle are currently joint-bottom in goals scored this season, as Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is the only player to score more than once. Newcastle will be without goalkeeper Tim Krul, who this week tore his ACL while on international duty, as well as backup goalkeeper Karl Darlow (ankle). Norwich forward Gary Hooper (ankle) will face a late fitness test to feature on Sunday, while Youssouf Mulumbu is still a doubt to make his Canaries debut this week.