Newcastle may look relatively safe in the Premier League this season but one area of the team is yet again showing relegation form.

United have now conceded 42 goals in 26 matches, with only two clubs having a worse defence (see below).

If the current rate of goals conceded continues then it would work out at 61 goals over the course of the whole season for 2014/15.

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The most worrying part is that this is simply a continuation of what has happened in recent years, with nothing done to address the problem

In 2012/13 Newcastle conceded 68 goals, with only 3 other PL clubs having a worse record.

Last season in 2013/14 Newcastle conceded 59 goals, only 5 other Premier League clubs had a worse defensive record.

United still have the three central defenders who were here in the Championship season of 2009/10 and by selling Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and loaning out Davide Santon in January. Rather than investing anything in the defence, the finances of recent seasons show Mike Ashley actually making money by selling the likes of Debuchy and Mapou.

The annoying thing is that many Premier League clubs pick up quality defenders for decent prices, as indeed Newcastle did with Janmaat and Debuchy, so failure to invest properly in the defence is especially short-sighted.

The January transfer business Mike Ashley carried out has left Newcastle with only four defenders to see out the season and with Daryl Janmaat forced off due to a groin problem on Saturday, things could be getting even tougher.

The five conceded on Saturday could easily have been double figures if Manchester City had desperately needed the extra goals.

Looking at the fixtures after Villa at the weekend, Newcastle have the following run of games:

Man U (H), Everton (A), Arsenal (H), Sunderland (A), Liverpool (A), Spurs (H)

United conceding 16 goals in the corresponding six fixtures last season.

Without major investment in the summer and the essential  retention of Daryl Janmaat, there appears no chance of improvement in an area of the Newcastle team that has probably suffered the most from Mike Ashley’s policy, of not paying a penny out that he thinks he doesn’t have to.

Goals conceded this season in Premier League so far:

19 Southampton

22 Chelsea

25 Man City

26 Man Utd

29 Arsenal

29 Liverpool

30 West Ham

34 Stoke

34 Swansea

34 West Brom

35 Hull

36 Sunderland

36 Aston Villa

36 Spurs

37 Everton

37 Crystal Palace

42 Newcastle

42 Leicester

44 Burnley

45 QPR

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