How many points will Rafa Benitez and his Newcastle United players need for safety this season?
Well before the season started, the United boss set a halfway total for his players.
Rafa saying he was aiming for at least 20 points from the first 19 games, the universal impression being that 40 points normally brings safety at the end of a Premier League season.
However, with Newcastle falling short with 18 points from the opening 19 matches, Rafa Benitez then set a new total for the second set of 19 matches.
The NUFC Manager saying recently:
“I said if we can’t get 20 points by halfway through the season, then we have to take 25 during the second half of the season.
“So, OK, we’ll do it.”
Newcastle now have 22 points after 22 points, taking four points from three games in the second half of the fixtures (Man City loss, Brighton draw, Stoke win), so the question is – can Newcastle accumulate another 21 points from the remaining 16 matches?
After each fixture I have put my prediction for the result and at the end my overall evaluation…
SATURDAY, 13 JANUARY 2018
Newcastle 15:00 Swansea (WIN)
SATURDAY, 20 JANUARY 2018
Man City 17:30 Newcastle (LOSE)
WEDNESDAY, 31 JANUARY 2018
Newcastle 19:45 Burnley (DRAW)
SUNDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 2018
Palace 14:15 Newcastle (DRAW)
SUNDAY, 11 FEBRUARY 2018
Newcastle 14:15 Man Utd (LOSE)
SATURDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2018
Bournemouth 15:00 Newcastle (DRAW)
SATURDAY, 3 MARCH 2018
Liverpool 15:00 Newcastle (LOSE)
SATURDAY, 10 MARCH 2018
Newcastle 15:00 Southampton (WIN)
SATURDAY, 17 MARCH 2018
Tottenham 15:00 Newcastle (LOSE)
SATURDAY, 31 MARCH 2018
Newcastle 15:00 Huddersfield (WIN)
SATURDAY, 7 APRIL 2018
Leicester 15:00 Newcastle (LOSE)
SATURDAY, 14 APRIL 2018
Newcastle 15:00 Arsenal (DRAW)
SATURDAY, 21 APRIL 2018
Everton 15:00 Newcastle (DRAW)
SATURDAY, 28 APRIL 2018
Newcastle 15:00 West Brom (WIN)
SATURDAY, 5 MAY 2018
Watford 15:00 Newcastle (DRAW)
SUNDAY, 13 MAY 2018
Newcastle 15:00 Chelsea (LOSE)
My outcome on the last 16 matches is 4 wins, 6 draws and 6 defeats, making it 18 points from the final possible 48.
That would make 22 from the final 19 matches of the season, three short of Rafa’s second half target, with a total of 40 points for the whole season.
I think 40 points would definitely enough for safety this time but it would be nice to have a bit more of a safety net.
Obviously what does, or doesn’t, happen in the January transfer window will be a major factor.
I have gone for only six defeats in the final 16 matches, compared to 12 losses in the first 22 matches.
I just think that Jamaal Lascelles is such a major factor and if he stays fit then Newcastle will avoid defeat on a lot of occasions. The Newcastle Captain has started 16 games so far and in those United have won 6 drawn 3 lost 7.
In those 16 games, Newcastle have only conceded 13 goals and only twice (Southampton and West Ham away) have they conceded more than one goal – two in both of those matches.
Reunited with Ciaran Clark for these last two matches, we have seen clean sheets against both Brighton and Stoke, so I can see Rafa having a team that is hard to beat once again.
The big challenge for January is to add more creativity and goals, then perhaps I will have to reassess upwards my points prediction…