On Monday evening, Newcastle United drew Birmingham City away in the FA Cup 3rd round. This will be the first time Newcastle have faced Birmingham for five years and Benitez will be desperate to end his side’s three match losing streak.
In the past ten years, Newcastle have faced Birmingham seven times. Three of those fixtures ended with a win for Newcastle, while three ended in a draw, with the remaining match ending in an embarrassing 5-1 defeat. That 5-1 loss came in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.
FA Cup – Previous years:
Last season’s FA Cup ended with massive disappointment. Newcastle drew Watford in the 3rd round and lost 1-0. Then manager Steve McClaren had a bonus in his contract if he were to win the cup. Knowing this, he played a strong side and switched to a 3-5-2 formation. If that does not sum up the Steve McClaren era nothing will.
The season prior, Newcastle faced Leicester City in the 3rd round. and surprise, surprise the match ended with a loss with Leonardo Ulloa scoring the only goal of the match.
If you go back even further to the 2013/14 season, Newcastle faced Cardiff in the 3rd round and yet again Newcastle lost.
It’s clear that the FA Cup has always ended in heartbreak for Newcastle supporters and it is Benitez’s job to ended this barren run. Rafa does have history in this competition, winning it once with Liverpool. That final will always be remembered for Gerrard’s screamer to take the match to extra time, with Liverpool later winning on penalties.
Can Newcastle win?
Personally, I think Newcastle can come away with a win. It certainly won’t be an easy game or a pretty match but I think Newcastle can progress to the next round. I would predict a 2-1 victory for the away side. Birmingham are currently 5th in the Championship so they won’t go out without a fight. But at the end of the day, in my view, Newcastle are just a cut above the rest of the sides in the Championship.
Featured image credit: Carlos Yo