After a nine-day break and a training trip to Abu Dhabi, Newcastle United are back in Premier League action Tuesday at Norwich City, looking to improve on their already respectable away reputation.
That's certainly more likely if Yohan Cabaye is still with the club.
Cabaye has five goals in his last seven matches and has been a hot topic during the January transfer window with links to Paris Saint-Germain, though the France midfielder remains on Tyneside because of a reported £8 million gap in valuation.
Following a 3-1 victory at West Ham United on Jan. 18 that ended a three-match losing streak, manager Alan Pardew was focused on the Magpies' accomplishments heading into the break rather than the potential sale of his top midfielder.
"You can't argue with 36 points and the way we've played some of our football this season, especially away from home. It has been terrific," Pardew told the club's official website. "You could perhaps argue we could have two or three more points, but overall the players have been magnificent and we just take that into the next game. To a man today I'm very proud of them."
Cabaye's performance against West Ham made it that much more difficult to deny his value to the club. His 16th-minute goal gave the Magpies a 1-0 lead, and his stoppage-time free kick ended any chance of a disappointing draw, giving Newcastle their sixth win in 11 away fixtures. They've conceded twice in their last four such matches with clean sheets kept at Manchester United and Crystal Palace.
Countryman Loic Remy scored his team-leading 11th top-flight goal in the 33rd as Newcastle (11-3-8) took a 2-0 lead and carried a 2-1 advantage into the interval.
"For an away performance as a manager, I can't be more pleased with how we played, other than the final minute of the first half. We did well to see it through," said Pardew, whose club is now out to finish the job against Norwich and take all six points.
Newcastle finds themselves in eighth on the table with 36 points, five points clear of Southampton and just a point back of the Reds. Norwich (6-5-11) are in 12th but well back with 23 points.
The Canaries have also had an extended break after a 1-0 Carrow Road win over Hull City on Jan. 18 snapped a eight-match winless streak across all competitions.
"We've felt since the turn of the year the performances have been quite good and we haven't got the results that we deserved, but Saturday we were deserved winners and hopefully that gives us something to build on now," defender Russell Martin told the club's official website.
They've scored four goals in their last seven matches after Ryan Bennett's 87th-minute winner against Hull. Their 18 top-flight goals are third fewest ahead of Palace and Cardiff City.
Like Newcastle, Norwich has been reluctant to part with a key midfielder this month. Wes Hoolahan's transfer request was rejected as the club made clear their desire to add talent rather than subtract.
Newcastle beat Norwich 2-1 at St. James' Park on Nov. 23 after Remy - assisted by Cabaye - and Yoan Gouffran gave them a 2-0 halftime advantage.
Leroy Fer's 80th-minute goal gave the Canaries late hope. Fer is one of just four Norwich players with more than one top-flight goal this season. He's second on the team with three behind Gary Hooper's five.
- Sports & Recreation
- Newcastle United
- Yohan Cabaye
- Norwich City
- West Ham United
- Alan Pardew