Newcastle were held to a 0-0 draw against Norwich City at St James’ Park, in a day where the goalkeepers were far and away the stars of the show.
In the reverse fixture at the beginning of the season, Teemu Pukki shone as he scored a hat trick in a 3-1 win at Carrow Road.
Newcastle game into today’s game unbeaten in their last 6 games in all competitions, but much has been said about the quality of football being played by Steve Bruce’s side.
Norwich meanwhile were hoping to make ground on their fellow relegation rivals, as they significantly trail Watford and Bournemouth in the fight for Premier League survival.
It was the away side who has the best opportunities throughout the game. Sam Byram should have opened the scoring with a strong header, only for Martin Dubravka to produce a fantastic reaction and save to deny the Canaries the lead.
Pukki had a golden opportunity in the second half, being one on one with Dubravka, only for a superb surprise tackle from Federico Fernandez halted the Finnish striker’s efforts.
There wasn’t much to shout about in terms of Newcastle’s attack: Allan Saint-Maximin came close with a curling shot going wide of Tim Krul’s net, whilst Joelinton and Miguel Almiron had another torrid day, barely registering any shots in the Norwich box.
Dutch goalkeeper Krul received a warm and welcome reception upon his return to St James’ Park. Krul was arguably one of Newcastle’s best players in the past decade, and remains a popular figure in the North East.
This afternoon’s match marked the official league debuts for three of Newcastle’s newest signings: Nabil Bentaleb, Valentino Lazaro, and Danny Rose all wore the black and white stripes today. And although they provided 3 serviceable performances, it’s reassuring for Newcastle that there are once again options at full-back and in center-midfield.
Today’s draw temporarily took Newcastle up to 10th in the table, but after Burnley and Arsenal’s draw, the Magpies find themselves in 12th place on 31 points. For those keeping a count of Liverpool’s points total, it’s now mathematically impossible for Newcastle United to win the Premier League this season. European football is still on the cards however…
Up next for United is the FA Cup replay away to Oxford United, with a place in the last 16 up for grabs. Then, it’s another trek down the Country to London, where they visit the Emirates to take on Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.