Eddie Howe's ambition to deliver silverware to Newcastle United can take an important step tomorrow night when high-flying Newcastle United face Crystal Palace in The Carabao Cup Third Round at St James' Park with the Newcastle manager focussing his players on their quest to end the club's 67 years without winning a domestic trophy:
The cup tie also represents an opportunity to right a wrong and exact revenge against The Eagles in the first Cup of the season after Newcastle were criminally denied a win & all three points in September's Premier League clash by VAR Lee Mason denying a perfectly good goal by Joe Willock:
It meant Newcastle drew the game 0-0 and took just one point instead of a deserved three and was one of a string of dodgy decisions that Newcastle suffered in the early part of the season being denied stonewall penalties and good goals that meant a slower start to the season for Eddie Howe's Mags than deserved for their on-pitch efforts:
After the Palace debacle, the Premier League took the extraordinary step of launching an investigation into the PGMOL - the Professional Game Match Officials Limited - as the same weekend of Willock's goal being disallowed, West Ham also had a perfectly good goal ludicrously disallowed at Chelsea leading to a big outcry from managers, players, pundits and fans alike demanding better from officials and serious answers.
Newcastle's decisions generally have improved since the Crystal Palace game apart from the stonewall penalty on Callum Wilson at Old Trafford and The Magpies have climbed to third in The Premier League table on a more level refereeing playing field but the acid test for the officials comes this week in a key Cup tie and then the Chelsea game on Saturday after the disgraceful decisions at Stamford Bridge in March:
Back to the football...and Newcastle haven't won a major trophy since Bob Moncur lifted the Fairs Cup trophy back in 1969 and have never won the League Cup with their best effort in the competition so far was making the Final in 1976 only to lose to Man City:
In his pre-match presser, Eddie Howe stated that it is his 'dream' to win a trophy with Newcastle as he celebrated his first year at the club on an excellent run of form -
and end that barren run without success on Tyneside, a statement that will delight long-suffering Geordie fans who are desperate for success on the pitch:
Yet the Newcastle manager wasn't underestimating the challenge posed by Crystal Palace, a Premier League team whose form has picked up of late and won their last match in dramatic fashion in the 94th minute at The Olympic Stadium:
Since their visit to Newcastle in September in that 1-1 draw, Palace have played seven, won four and drawn one losing only two games and have climbed back to mid-table and are currently in a respectable 10th place in The Premier League having won two on the spin with Wilfried Zaha continuing to prove himself a danger man and Eberechi Eze's creativity invigorating the Eagles attack, two men Newcastle must be wary of.
In his presser, Manager Patrick Vieira said he was expecting a tough game at Newcastle but will take heart from the Eagles' competing in the 0-0 draw back in September:
Yet a Newcastle growing in confidence with each win are a different animal now and on a nine-game unbeaten streak still only having lost once this entire season and that was in the 98th minute at Anfield fully three minutes over the additional time indicated and under the St James' Park lights in front of an expected record League Cup crowd, Eddie Howe's men will put to the Eagles to the sword and continue their rise to eminence.
A shoe-in for October's Manager of the Month award, Howe knows his Magpies are enjoying a great spell as the form team in The Premier League and is relishing the chance to end the first part of this bifurcated season due to the World Cup in Qatar and sign off with two important wins in both the Cup and Premier League.
With two games in four days, Eddie Howe is expected to make changes to his line-up so Joelinton, Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Targett, Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin could all start but whoever plays for a buoyant Magpies will be swept along in the feel-good factor and momentum of a St James' Park in full voice and prove too much for the visitors from London.
Prediction - Newcastle 3 Crystal Palace 1