There were differences against West Brom as compared to recent weeks, fighting relegation the team certainly had a bit more effort and structure, plus of course one more point than the last eight weeks had produced.
In a desert you are grateful for any drop of water and I do feel that a lot of people are getting carried away.
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I had a strange feeling listening to some fans in the pubs after the match and then TV interviews later with various players, that the job was pretty much done as far as they were concerned.
There was almost a triumphalism to it all, as though Newcastle had bounced back and grasped the rescue line that had at last pulled us out of trouble.
I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade but I think that yesterday was all but a total disaster.
Going into Saturday’s games this is how the Premier League table looked from 18th (last relegation spot) upwards.
Number of points on the left and goal difference on the right:
35 Aston Villa -21
35 Newcastle -24
34 Leicester -15
34 Hull -15
33 Sunderland -22
This is how it looks now:
38 Aston Villa -20
37 Leicester -13
36 Sunderland -20
36 Newcastle -24
34 Hull -16
John Carver said after the 1-1 draw that the good thing was that Newcastle’s fate was in their own hands, which is true, but only just.
United’s saviour was Steve Bruce, if they had beaten Hull as expected, then it would have been total disaster.
A point for Newcastle would undoubtedly have been better than a defeat but only just.
Our horrendous defending and leaking of goals this season, and in recent matches in particular, means that if goal difference plays any kind of a part after the next two matches, we are almost certainly knackered.
Carver says Newcastle’s fate is in their own hands but only because another team has delivered that to us!
With three (Villa, Leicester, Mackems) of the four clubs winning, the net result is that two of them moved from below Newcastle and the other stretched away.
My guess is that the situation now boils down to – Sunderland will at least draw at home to Leicester next weekend. Even if they get only a draw they will be a point clear and a better goal difference, meaning Newcastle would need at least two points/draws to go above them.
Putting it simply, I think yesterday’s results have changed the picture from Newcastle having potentially four clubs they are fighting with for that relegation spot, to only one. The draw with Wes Brom would have been a brilliant point if at least two of Villa, Leicester and Sunderland had lost…but they didn’t.
It is either us or Hull, in my opinion. Instead of competing with four other teams, it is only the two of us.
People are taking satisfaction in Hull having to play Spurs away and Manchester United at home, compared to our ‘easier’ games against QPR away and West Ham at home.
I can easily see Hull winning at Tottenham and that would mean even a decent draw at QPR would leave Newcastle going into the last day of the season in the bottom three, assuming of course Sunderland got something from that Leicester match, or indeed their game in hand at Arsenal the following midweek.
The situation isn’t desperate, yet, but I do think complacency is setting in for many people after at last getting a point. A win would have made Newcastle all but safe in my opinion but the draw has been just enough to keep the oxygen flowing.
West Brom were ideal yesterday in terms of little to play for and more importantly, the most negative and deep lying team we’ve faced in some time. No wonder a lot of our players looked better than they have for some time!
No proper wingers to trouble our makeshift full-backs and no pace to threaten the creaking centre of defence, until Berahino belatedly came on.
Our players played better but a big factor was that they were allowed to, something I can’t see being the case in either of these final two matches, despite their form and having nothing to play for.
John Carver is right, Newcastle’s players do have their fate in their own hands, but do they really understand just how much more they have to give to ensure relegation doesn’t become a reality?
The reality for me is that yesterday was by far Newcastle’s best chance of winning one of these three remaining matches.
They didn’t and so the team have to raise their game higher than the level against West Brom, or else that fate could well be out of their own hands….