Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 3.
Pope is hoping to rewrite the history books with a valuable clean sheet against champions Manchester City this Sunday.
No Newcastle United goalkeeper has ever kept a shutout in their first three matches for the club.
Indeed, the last time Newcastle began a top-flight campaign with a trio of successive clean sheets was back in 1902/03.
Pope's opposite number at St James' Park, Ederson, is the only other Premier League 'keeper yet to concede a goal this season.
Newcastle's No 1 was rarely troubled during his 2-0 home debut win against Nottingham Forest, but last time out, his heroic individual display helped Eddie Howe's side earn a goalless draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Newcastle were second best all afternoon, facing a total of 13 shots, six of which were regarded as 11.5 per cent opportunities or above on Opta’s Expected Goals metric.
🧤 @Popey1992 🧤 pic.twitter.com/8FWSvxC4g0— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 13, 2022
The 30-year-old former Burnley player was in inspired form, making five superb reflex saves.
Four of those stops were from close-range efforts.
After two sound performances, he has statistically prevented 1.1 goals for Newcastle.
Facing a Man City team who have scored six goals already, Pope will almost certainly be kept busy again this weekend.
The champions comfortably beat Newcastle 4-0 on their last visit to St James' Park on 19 December, but since then, the Magpies have been defensively robust at home.
In the 11 matches played there since, they have conceded only six goals during a run that has included five clean sheets.
They have also not let in two or more home goals in that period.
Pope's quest for a third straight clean sheet will not be easy, but his arrival and recent form suggests Pep Guardiola's side may have to work harder for their goals this time around.
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