Head to Head records: Away v Cardiff
The last time that these two teams met in the Premier League, Newcastle played out a 3-0 home win thanks to goals from Shola Ameobi, Loic Remy (their last goals for the club) and Steven Taylor. That win for Newcastle consigned Cardiff to relegation. After a four year stay in the Championship after the 2013/14 season, Cardiff have now returned after being rejuvenated by the charismatic Neil Warnock who has an excellent record for achieving promotions. Warnock took the Cardiff job in October 2016 when the club were 23rd in the Championship. After guiding the club comfortably to safety, it only took him one full season in charge to get the eighth promotion of his career.
On the subject of our previous encounters with the Welsh club, we have won the last five games when we have taken the long trip to Cardiff, a run that stretches back to October 1981 - long before Cardiff left Ninian Park to go to the Cardiff City Stadium in 2009. We have won ten out of the last eleven games against the Bluebirds - the only defeat coming in the FA Cup 3rd Round in 2014 as Cardiff came from behind to win after Papiss Cisse's opener.
Both teams put up a valiant effort in their performances on the opening day. The Toon were very unlucky to not get that equalizing goal in the second half against Spurs, hitting the woodwork twice through Mo Diame and Salomon Rondon. Cardiff returned to south Wales with no points after defeat away at Bournemouth. Cardiff's squad appears to lack the requisite firepower in their strike force which, in the modern day especially, will not make Cardiff's survival bid much help.
Facts and Figures
Newcastle wins: 27
Cardiff wins: 16
Newcastle wins: 25
Cardiff wins: 15
League at St. James' Park
Newcastle wins: 21
Cardiff wins: 3
Previous ten (all competitions)
Newcastle wins: 9 (23 goals)
Cardiff wins: 1 (7 goals)
Biggest win: Newcastle United 5 - 0 Cardiff (25/12/1926)
Newcastle United 5 - 0 Cardiff (01/10/1960)
Biggest defeat: Cardiff 5 - 0 Newcastle United (10/02/1923)
Cardiff 0 - 1 Newcastle United - 13/09/2009 (Championship)
Steve Harper: After Shay Given's departure in January 2009, Steve Harper became the first choice goalkeeper again on Tyneside. However this season was only one of two full seasons that Harper had as first choice keeper before Tim Krul established himself as the first choice at the start of the 2011/12 season. Despite a move to Sunderland at the close of his career (don't worry - he never played for the mackems), Harper is still regarded very fondly and is back at Newcastle as the academy goalkeeping coach.
Danny Simpson: Simpson was on loan from Manchester United when he signed for Newcastle following their 2009 relegation. The move was made permanent after making a really good first impression to replace Habib Beye who used to occupy the right back role. Simpson left St. James' Park in 2013 and spent a season at QPR before transferring again to Leicester City to replace Ritchie De Laet where he was a key part of the wonderful title winning side under Claudio Ranieri in 2016. He is still at the midlands club and rumour has it that he may move to Stoke on loan before the loan window closes at the end of this month.
Steven Taylor: This was the season where Steven Taylor was one of a selection of players who played their best football and showed why Newcastle deserved to immediately return to the Premier League. With a backline of Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini and Jose Enrique featuring in most matches, we came out with the best defence of the league.
Fabricio Coloccini: Coloccini scored the only goal of the game in this match which came in the 18th minute. Ryan Taylor's corner was headed straight back to him and then he knocked in an excellent cross for the Argentine defender to head home to score his first Newcastle goal after just over a year of being with the club. Despite playing second tier football that season, Coloccini and, fellow teammate for club and country, Jonas Gutierrez still received call-ups for the Argentina squad for the 2010 World Cup.
Jose Enrique: Enrique struggled for the first couple of years at Newcastle and the young defender found himself in a difficult situation. However, similarly to Coloccini, he remained at the club following relegation and that gave him the cue to play some great quality football and the Spaniard found his comfort zone with the Argentines Coloccini and Gutierrez playing with him. His great defending continued through to the following season where caught the eye of some clubs who were interested to snap him up. Enrique left the club around the same time as key players, Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Andy Carroll (the latter left in January 2011). Enrique criticised the board's lack of ambition through the sale of key players and jumped ship to Liverpool. Following that move, Enrique's next appearance at St. James' Park ended interestingly as he had to play out the closing stages as goalkeeper because Pepe Reina got sent off for a head butt on James Perch(inho) after Liverpool used all of their allocated substitutes. Injuries were a big factor in Enrique's unfortunate decision to take early retirement and we all wish him well as he is currently recovering from brain surgery earlier this year.
Danny Guthrie: Guthrie was a key player through the eyes of Chris Hughton who consistently played him despite having better options at his disposal. However it can be argued that Guthrie played his best football under Hughton. After one full season under Alan Pardew, the midfielder was steadily heading down the pecking order and left to move to Reading. A spell at Blackburn ended in relegation to League One in 2017. Guthrie then moved deep into the non-league with a move to Oakengates Athletic based in Shropshire who are now defunct. Guthrie is now playing for Mitra Kukar in the Indonesian top flight at the age of 31.
Joey Barton: Barton has been a key figure at every club he has been at throughout his career. He was a key player at Newcastle as he gave excellent service to Andy Carroll. Following tensions between himself and the board at the club, Barton moved to QPR late in the summer 2011 transfer window and became captain straight away at Loftus Road. After a loan spell at Marseille, he moved to Burnley and is fondly remembered for being a key player of their Championship winning squad in 2016. A move to Rangers ended swiftly after he was caught up in a confrontation with teammate Andy Halliday which saw him get suspended by the club. Unhappy Barton terminated his contract and moved back to Burnley before further controversy with an FA ban brought on in relation to betting. During his suspension, Barton was released by Burnley and subsequently retired. He is now manager of Fleetwood Town in League One.
Alan Smith: Two yellow card offences in this match meant that Smith was sent off in the closing stages of the game and the team were able to see out the win. Following his move to Newcastle, Smith found goals very difficult to come by as he was moved increasingly deeper. Smith has not retired just yet but was released by Notts County this summer and was a player-coach at the club as well as working under Kevin Nolan's management.
Ryan Taylor: Ryan Taylor played at Newcastle at the peak of his career despite constant long term injuries. The set piece specialist found his niche under Hughton and Pardew. Since being released by Newcastle in disgraceful fashion through a phone call, Taylor has found it difficult to settle at a particular place. A move to Hull City helped them to an immediate return to the Premier League followed by two spells at Port Vale which came to an end last year. He now plays for ATK in India.
Kevin Nolan: Nolan is a much-loved figure in English football. Achieved legendary status at Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham before taking up player-manager positions at Leyton Orient and now at Notts County. Nolan, during his time at Newcastle, had special relationships with all the players and manager, Chris Hughton. He helped Andy Carroll to perform at his best despite his difficulties off the pitch and dedicated his hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Sunderland in October 2010 to Chris Hughton who had endured a difficult week in the build up to the game. In summer 2011, Nolan was sold to West Ham which many fans saw as a big mistake and the board did very little to stop the move from going through. In November 2012, Nolan scored the only goal of the game for West Ham on his first return to St. James' Park and refused to celebrate which prompted the Newcastle faithful to give the midfielder a deserved standing ovation.
Nile Ranger: It is something that I call the curious case of Nile Ranger. He grew up with Andy Carroll through the academy and burst onto the scene with the look of someone with lots of potential. He deservedly got man of the match on his first start for the club in a 1-0 win against Leicester in August 2009. Despite not having much of an end product, that weakness was put down to lack of experience and something that looked set to improve. With Andy Carroll on top of his game, Ranger found it difficult to establish a place in the side. In the 2010/11 season, he was the Premier League's most used substitute in that season. Off the field problems then soon began for the youngster which took a heavy hit on the field. After impressing at Swindon, he moved to Championship Blackpool. Halfway through the season, the striker went AWOL and Blackpool were humiliatingly relegated. Bizarrely during a clear out at the club, Ranger's contract was extended. However he went AWOL during pre-season. In the middle of another relegation season for Blackpool, Ranger left the club and joined Southend the following season. Whilst under curfew, Ranger was unable to play in the midweek matches which kicked off at 7:45pm. It is a shame that a player with such potential was the cause of his own downfall with continuous brushes with the law off the field.