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Opinion

Fixture split is Newcastle United cause for concern

3 years ago
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The defeat to Bournemouth could prove a painful one for Newcastle United in the weeks, and possibly months, to come.

Does the Premier League table give a decent reflection by this point?

With 11 matches gone, almost a third of the season, it does have a feeling by this point that it has had a bit of a shakedown and we can see where we are at as we head into this third(!) international break.

Looking at the Premier League table as it stands on Sunday morning it does give a few causes for concern.

Newcastle are still safely in mid-table, 14 points from 11 games is no reason for panic, but I am starting to feel that the fixture schedule has been very kind to NUFC early on.

Rafa’s team have only played one of the top five so far.

Whilst three of Newcastle’s four wins have come against clubs who are in the bottom four, with the other against seventh bottom Stoke.

The next four matches see Newcastle away at both second top Man Utd and fourth placed Chelsea, with the only home game being against a Watford side who have won three and drawn one of their five away matches so far – that could improve further as they are at second bottom Everton this afternoon.

The fourth game of this next quartet of matches is a midweek game away at West Brom, a lovely fixture on a cold November night. Despite their relative shortcomings this season, Tony ulis has still seen his side lose only one home game, winning one and drawing three.

When you look at Newcastle’s results so far, it does show a complete split between games against those now in the top half, compared to those in the bottom half.

(3rd) v Tottenham – Lost

(6th) v Liverpool – Draw

(7th) v Burnley – Lost

(8th) v Brighton – Lost

(10th) v Huddersfield – Lost

(13th) v Southampton – Draw

(14th) v Stoke – Won

(16th) v Bournemouth – Lost

(17th) v West Ham – Won

(18th) v Swansea – Won

(20th) v Crystal Palace – Won

The Bournemouth result stands out like a sore thumb, Newcastle having won four and drawn one in their other five games against bottom half sides.

On the other hand it is four defeats and a maybe fortunate draw against Liverpool from those against top half outfits.

Three points yesterday would have given Rafa and his players a very welcome further buffer, as they head into more difficult fixtures.

No reason of course why Newcastle can’t pick up points in these games but it would be foolish to deny that so far the fixtures have been relatively kind and now, it is a case of manager, players, and fans, having to stick together even more, until the squad can hopefully be properly strengthened in January.
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