Newcastle for Europe, Chelsea for the title…
Sunday started just like any normal Sunday for me, I took my baby swimming in the morning like always. Then when I got home I made and ate my pre-match pizza for lunch like normal and then sank a beer in preparation for the game. But then something extra special happened, something I really wasn’t expecting.
I had been given no inclination in the build up to it, it was absolutely out of the blue; without notice, my little man – who is 10 months old, stood up and walked across the room!
When 7pm eventually rolled around, I tuned into the game to watch the carnival that is Newcastle United, roll into the capital with vague hope that we may escape The Lane with a point, by my own admission though I was apprehensive that such a feat was possible given Tottenham’s recent form.
The rest is history, two inspired yet obvious substitutions from the man at the helm led to a late victory deep in stoppage time, when a neat finish from last year’s match winner Ayoze Perez sealed all three points. Following on from the scrappy, yet equally as important, goal that lumbering Serbian Aleksandar Mitrovic had poked home to level things up with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Following our win, with tongue in cheek Alan Shearer joked on MOTD2 that Newcastle are now destined for Europe! Quite a claim, even if made in jest, given the scalding criticism levelled at the Newcastle players after the mauling at Selhurst Park.
But, in all seriousness, do Newcastle realistically have hopes of reaching Europe this season? Like Big Al, this article, although largely based on facts, is also tongue in cheek before anyone starts shouting “deluded”!
At the time of writing this on Monday afternoon, Chelsea currently sit in 16th and 18 points behind Arsenal at the summit with a game in hand, whilst Newcastle are 9 points behind Watford in 7th. However, last season Chelsea finished the season as champions on 87 points, more than double Newcastle United who finished the season on 39 points.
Based on that, it would be fair to say that Chelsea are twice the team that we are, maybe not on current form, but in general. OK, so I may be stretching the reality here to make my point, but without any further ado here it is: There is as much chance of Chelsea winning the league as Newcastle qualifying for Europe.
Indeed you would have to be a brave man to have a flutter on Chelsea winning the league from their current position, nonetheless, teams have come back from a 12 point deficit to lift the trophy in the past and done it from later stages in the season. However, there is no doubt that their task at hand this season is much greater than the 18 points deficit on paper.
And the same can be said of Newcastle United, often dubbed by many, well, mainly me if I am honest, as ‘a club in perpetual turmoil’. But in order for us to qualify, we would need to bag an estimated 20 points more than we did last year.
Based on what we have seen so far this season under Steve McClaren’s stewardship, it seems unlikely if not impossible, but I’d be equally surprised to see Newcastle qualify for Europe as I would to see John Terry lift the trophy once more, another feat which seems impossible.
With all that said, there will still be a smattering of Chelsea fans that harbour hopes of winning the league and no doubt out there somewhere there are a fair few Toon fans that think Newcastle can make it into Europe this season.
Can Chelsea or Newcastle do it? Will my son one day be running marathons? It may or may not happen, but just like my son, it’s all about baby steps and right now Newcastle are moving in the right direction, on the pitch at least.
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