No Complaints If 10 points In NUFC Fixtures In December
I made a decision after the derby game a few weeks ago to refrain from commenting on Newcastle United until December, to let the games against Chelsea, Spurs, Norwich and West Brom pass before taking stock of the rest of the season ahead.
Then to pass judgement before Santa Claus comes around with a sack full of tricky festive fixtures.
Beforehand, obvious defeats to Chelsea and Spurs followed by testing games against poor opposition threatened to plunge the club (and supporters) into a bleak mid-winter BEFORE the run of games around Christmas (where we traditionally never pick many points up) took place. Santa wasn’t the only person in line for a sack.
I’m happy to say though that at the end of the November tunnel things couldn’t be much better. Two clean sheets against very hard London teams and wins against two sides we would have dropped points against last season and probably struggled against in our fifth place season of two years ago, have given us a festive glow when looking at the league table. Manager of the Month in waiting for Pardew methinks.
Moving on to December brings the same sort of mixed bunch of NUFC fixtures; Swansea and Man Utd away (I’d take a collective point) followed by Southampton and Stoke at home and a trip to Crystal Palace (I want nine but I’ll take seven).
Then we have Arsenal to round off the year (Anything is a bonus). So anything around 10 points out of a possible 18 from December and we really can’t complain in a league where nobody other than Arsenal are running away with things.
There is also clear daylight between Spurs in 9th and the rest of the league so we really shouldn’t be looking over our shoulders at a drop too far down the table should things go pear shaped.
I could moan about Alan Pardew dropping Mapou for Colo (unfair in my opinion when the Captain wants out), the need for another striker in January, or any signing that could cement a charge for top four (steady on!).
I’d badger Tottenham and Jermain Defoe for six months (In World Cup Year) or pester Chelsea for Demba Ba on loan.
All this brings me on to where we can finish come May. Again, with teams being so patchy in the form guide, we really don’t have to put too much of a run together to stay in the top half (the club’s stated aim for the season) and can finish top six without too much help from others the way form is going.
This club can really finish where it wants this season (apart from the obvious), it’s just a case of how high the owner wants to aim. We’ve heard the mantra of top 10 and that’s it, forget the cups and if we get near needing a passport next season, start playing weakened sides.
The truth of the matter is, Europe frightens the living snot out of Mike Ashley. This club is built for tick-over and nothing more. My old philosophy of ‘The only club I fear in the league is Newcastle United’ still stands true I’m afraid. Like Viagra, we’re never too far away from a self-inflicted cock-up.
Until the next problem arises, it’s going to be silence is golden for a bit from me. The club needs space to motor on without hype and bluster from the national press, or fans with expectations above our station. We over-achieved two years ago, under-achieved last season and paid the price for not pushing on from 5th.
Enjoy the results while they last and hope they do, keep smiling and looking at the bottom three with a bit more glee than six weeks ago, after all, it’s grim down there.
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