Obviously it won’t happen but just suppose Newcastle did drop into the Championship play-offs…
How do you think Rafa’s team would get on?
Well, I was looking back through the season and I couldn’t help but notice some interesting stats.
These are the matches this season against the four clubs currently qualifying for the Championship play-offs:
Fulham 1 Newcastle 0
Newcastle 1 Huddersfield 2
Newcastle 4 Reading 1
Newcastle 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Huddersfield 1 Newcastle 3
Reading 0 Newcastle 0
Sheffield Wednesday 2 Newcastle 1
It doesn’t make great reading, does it?
Eight games and only two wins, with one draw and five defeats.
Against Fulham we did nothing really in either game and at St James Park, the Cottages could have scored more than the three.
As for Sheffield Wednesday, once again Newcastle contributed little in either match and took three hours against the Owls to score a goal.
Huddersfield deserved their victory on Tyneside, whilst the draw at Reading was about right.
That leaves us with victories at home to Reading and away at Huddersfield.
The win against Jaap Stam’s team was deserved but the 4-1 scoreline really flattered Newcastle, with Reading having more possession (58%), corners (9 v 2) and shots (13 v 11).
At Huddersfield it was a strange game, with Newcastle getting the breaks Including a soft penalty) and taking their chances, whilst the home side dominated otherwise – The Terrier having 76% possession, 16 v6 in terms of shots and 9 v 3 on corners.
None of the above would appear to suggest that Rafa’s team would sweep away all/any opposition in the end of season lottery.
The matches this season suggesting that actually Newcastle haven’t been great against the better teams in the second tier.
Newcastle being Newcastle of course, the team have taken all six points against top of the table Brighton, with a comfortable 2-0 home win and then a very good performance away from home.
A very soft penalty gifting the Seagulls the lead but Newcastle deservedly winning with two late goals. The stats showing the Magpies earned that win with 54% possession, 19 v 10 in terms of shots and 6 v 3 on corners.
Huddersfield failing to win today and a Newcastle victory on Monday night will sweep away any remaining Championship play-offs worries – which is just as well…
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles to [email protected])