Interesting today to see a report looking at the first 11 Premier League matches for all 20 clubs, then looking at who has the toughest and easiest upcoming schedules.
The next 11 matches for Newcastle start on Saturday at Old Trafford then conclude at Stoke City on New Year’s day.
At that point 22 of the 38 Premier League matches will have gone by with only 16 to play – and everybody will have a pretty decent idea of where they are at by then.
Before the last round of matches, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth were the bottom pair in the Premier League before the Cherries won at St James Park and lifted themselves to fourth bottom.
This interesting piece in The Independent puts down Palace and Bournemouth as having the easiest (on paper) sets of fixtures until the new year.
By contrast, they place Southampton, Newcastle, and Huddersfield, amongst the five with the toughest upcoming games, concluding that all three ‘might want to start looking over their shoulder’.
Newcastle’s next 11 games are:
Man Utd (A), Watford (H), West Brom (A), Chelsea (A), Leicester (H), Everton (H), Arsenal (A), West Ham (A), Man City (H), Brighton (H), Stoke (A).
At the moment Newcastle have 14 points from 11 matches, to be on schedule to be reaching at least 40 points by the end of the season, Newcastle need at least 10 points from these next 11 games, which would put them on 24 points with 16 games left.
The Independent’s most favourable schedule over next 11 matches:
1 Crystal Palace
3 Man City
Their least favourable schedule over next 11 matches:
4 West Ham
The Independent view on Newcastle United:
“All three of the promoted sides have, to a degree, benefitted from the fixture computer’s kindness at the start of the campaign. Now it’s payback time.
“It seems Newcastle United are in for the bumpiest landing, starting with a date at Old Trafford this weekend. Two further trips to Chelsea and Arsenal come a little bit later down the line, as does a visit to St James Park from Manchester City.”
The Independent conclusions:
“The main conclusions to draw, however, are: a) there is no reason why Manchester City should not keep on collecting points and build up an even greater lead at the top of the table, and b) the battle to avoid relegation should tighten up considerably.
“While Bournemouth and Crystal Palace could gain ground, the likes of Southampton, Newcastle and Huddersfield might want to start looking over their shoulder.”