The January transfer window opened with Newcastle United having exactly half the Premier League season remaining to save themselves.
A shocking home draw with a clueless Aston Villa had been followed up by defeats against both Everton and West Brom.
Those results left Newcastle third bottom with only Sunderland and Aston Villa below, United on only 17 points from 19 matches and two points away from fourth bottom Swansea and safety.
The bottom of the Premier League looked like this after 19 games (number of points and then club):
23 West Brom
8 Aston Villa
Seven matches have passed since the transfer window opened and Newcastle have picked up seven points from 21 (two wins, one draw, four defeats – and an FA Cup exit) and now have 24 points from 26 games.
Those results leave Newcastle third bottom with only Sunderland and Aston Villa below, United now three points behind Swansea who are fifth bottom – the only big positive that Norwich have thrown away leads against both Liverpool and West Ham, to leave them above Newcastle only on goal difference.
The downside though is that Bournemouth are now four points instead of three ahead of Newcastle, whilst Sunderland are only a point behind the Magpies instead of five.
Premier League now after 26 matches (after each club is how many points they have added in last 7 games since the January transfer window opened):
33 Chelsea (+13)
32 Crystal Palace (+1)
32 West Brom (+9)
28 Bournemouth (+8)
27 Swansea (+8)
24 Norwich (+4)
24 Newcastle (+7)
23 Sunderland (+11)
16 Aston Villa (+8)
The consensus before the January transfer window was that Newcastle desperately needed to add goals at one end and stop them at the other – result was no defenders bought or even loaned and a last minute loan for Seydou Doumbia who still isn’t fit enough to start a game.
So despite Newcastle being heralded as having this great January transfer window, this key time of the season going form 19 to 26 matches played,has seen every team but one improve their position compared to Newcastle.
Sunderland have added four more points, Chelsea six, West Brom two and even Aston Villa (yes, even no hopers Villa!!!) have gained one more.
If Norwich had held their nerve in a couple of home matches it would have been a clean sweep, Newcastle would have been three points off safety and a far worse goal difference than those above.
The biggest positive for Newcastle in this time period has been Norwich’s failure.
If we weren’t in such a desperate position we could be having a right laugh at Alan Pardew and Palace because they have managed to slip from fifth place to thirteenth with only one point from 21.
The message clearly is, as often happens, a point in the season is reached where those desperately fighting for their lives start to pick up points.
With sadly the other message personal to Newcastle, being that the January transfer window has so far brought no significant improvement/advantage compared to their rivals.
Including the FA Cup defeat at Watford, since the window opened Newcastle have won two, drawn one and lost five – scoring eight and conceding 16 goals.
The relegation form continues and we are still asking that pre-January transfer window question…how are Newcastle going to start scoring more and conceding less goals?