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…


Newcastle  15:00               Swansea (WIN)


Man City     17:30               Newcastle (LOSE)


Newcastle  19:45               Burnley (DRAW)


Palace          14:15               Newcastle (DRAW)


Newcastle  14:15               Man Utd (LOSE)


Bournemouth      15:00     Newcastle (DRAW)


Liverpool     15:00               Newcastle (LOSE)


Newcastle  15:00               Southampton (WIN)


Tottenham 15:00               Newcastle (LOSE)


Newcastle  15:00               Huddersfield (WIN)


Leicester     15:00               Newcastle (LOSE)


Newcastle  15:00               Arsenal (DRAW)


Everton        15:00               Newcastle (DRAW)


Newcastle  15:00               West Brom (WIN)


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…

To feature like Jack Watt submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here

  • Wor Lass

    Seeing the remainder of the season laid out like that makes you realise just how precarious our position is. If we don`t bring in a couple of decent signings in January – and a goal scorer is absolutely paramount ther – then we could well have had it!

    • Mitros gotta start

      What do you mean…..we have a world class manager in charge and we have just took 7 points from the last 4 games….at that rate we will be challenging for a spot in europe!

      • Damon Horner

        That’s the spirit!

      • Wor Lass

        Ah, OK then!

      • HarryHype59

        CL league at least for those who worship at the alter of ST. Rafa.

    • HarryHype59

      The margin of safety should we survive will be very small. I would take 17th right now!

      • Andy Mac

        Soz HH but I wouldnt. That means the rest of the season is defined and we’re looking to flirt with the bottom 3 until May. Not my idea of fun.

  • Damon Horner

    We’ll be alright. Pick up 4 wins and we’ll be near. Start with Swansea.

  • anyobrien

    It’s impossible to predict there is always a surprise result somewhere along the season…. Each game as it comes.

  • anyobrien

    Tbh most of the moaners and rafa haters on here will be praying for relegation… It would make there day… You all know who you are.

    • Andy Mac

      I wont lower the tone by claiming you are a complete muppet but if you’re contributing on this site then chances are

      1. You’re a Mag (unless an opposing team fan)
      2. You do not want the club to be relegated
      3. Above all you want the very best for this club

      • anyobrien

        Howay man there is a constant campaign by certain posters to have a go at rafa… I mean ffs its monotonous… Im all for criticism of his tactics hell I’ve done it myself but some of the shyte is totally uncalled for.
        His hands have been tied on the transfer front.
        BTW I used to enjoy the muppets as a bairn cracking show.

        • Clarko

          Spends 17/18:

          Watford €61.50m
          Swansea €50.30m
          Newcastle €49.30m
          Brighton €47.60m
          West Brom €45.70m
          West Ham €45.40m
          Huddersfield €44.40m
          Southampton €39.40m
          Crystal Palace €37.20m
          Stoke €34.90m
          Bournemouth €34.30m
          Burnley €34.04m

          His poor little hands…

          (Source: Transfermarkt)

          • anyobrien

            And sleep

          • Clarko

            I rest my case.

          • Danimal

            You rested your brain some time ago.

          • NUFCLX

            I would love to see a spreadsheet with your living expenses, must be one column – titled Expenditures.

          • Clarko

            Doesn’t even make sense.

          • NUFCLX

            U do not take any incoming transfer money into account. If I lost 90 quid at the races and had a tenner on the last winner at 10/1, I would have spent nothing and be 10 quid up. Same situation U would have lost a 100 quid.
            You are a bit of a anorak, I may have seen u before writing train engine numbers down at central station.

          • Clarko

            But my argument isn’t on net spend, it’s on spend. This isn’t a “how much did Mike Ashley spend” argument. It’s a “have Newcastle spent enough to be competitive” argument.

            Which first team player did Newcastle sell in the summer? Murphy? The outgoings at Newcastle during the summer did not weaken the squad, we didn’t sell Gray and Keane for €48.90m like Burnley, Arnautovic for €22.30m like Stoke, Nordtveit for €8.00m like West Ham, the net spend argument in relation to Newcastle is silly and actually hurts any opposing argument because the other teams in the list actually sold players, Newcastle didn’t.

          • NUFCLX

            No – your argument is on spend. Most supporters look at net spend. I cannot imagine any companies releasing their annual accounts and just listing what they have spent. Money spent is incomings minus outgoings, whether that be a + or -.

          • Clarko

            And there we go, you don’t have an argument, for the second time in a row you have just given the definition of net spend, you’re ignorant, ignorant of just how much Newcastle have spent, ignorant of who Newcastle have sold and ignorant of the net spends and outgoings of the other teams on the list.

            Have fun being ignorant.

          • NUFCLX

            I will carry on being ignorant until we really spend some money. Cannot understand why u do not understand what spending money actually means.
            Anyway no hard feelings, carry on train spotting, just checked on Trainspotting market and there is a new Train Engine coming thru tmrw – I am so exited wondering what number it will be.

          • Clarko

            Again, nothing of any substance, no argument.

            Benitez has spent €113.05m since he took charge.

          • glassjawsh-got-banned

            “my argument is stupid and here’s why” – Clarko

          • Clarko

            Can you read? Try reading.

          • Danimal

            Well there won’t be any incoming. Who’d employ this lunatic?

        • theoriginalbomberman

          Some of us are sick of the rafa can do no wrong attitude on here and because most Benitez lovers say he’s not above criticism then tell us who have legitimate concerns about his negative tactics and poor man management to shut up and just support the manager regardless of what he does (very sheep like mentality) it devolves into petty personal squabbles.

          • Mitros gotta start


          • Damon Horner

            None of us know the personal situations. For example if a player was in the dressing room not pulling his weight, not doing his best by fans, teammate’s and the manager resulting in the manager wanting him out of the environment then it’s not good man management to give that type of player equal privilege. On the whole the squad seem to be playing for him so they mustn’t be too annoyed with his approach to other players.

          • anyobrien

            Rafa is not beyond criticism many times his tactics have been discussed on here I personally think he is very negative… But imo he’s the very best we can get at the moment. And with some backing could be one of the greats.

    • ghostrider

      Praying for relegation?
      The reason why I want a big boot up Rafa’s aris is the frustration of having to consistently deal with his baffling tactics and negativity and yet in between those baffling tactics we scrape some points and all seems to be fantastic.

      No, it’s not fantastic until Rafa stops taking the risks he’s taking….and trust me they are massive risks.

      I’d be the first to bow down to the man if he stops being a dipstick with his choices and playing sickening negative football at home in front of regular 50,000 plus fans.

      I’m not going to blow smoke up his aris when he doesn’t deserve it.
      The players graft but graft means nothing if you have no plan to do much with it other than trying to stop the opposition from playing and feeding off scraps as and when it’s deemed safe.

      • anyobrien

        Good bye

        • ghostrider

          Hopefully it’s a real goodbye.

  • TheNutJob

    Lets just wait & see what Clarko has to say

  • gallowgate26

    Half times. I’d settle for Palace, Swansea, West Ham & Watford losing like, even if Brom get a win…. One of the comments on BBC reckons Watford are worth an outside bet for relegation.

    • Mitros gotta start

      Wet spam 94th minute winner…..big andy

      • gallowgate26

        Well it’s looking like Swansea, West Brom + ???. Could be Stoke but Southampton are dropping quite a lot… Stoke might sack Hughes and spend some money.

    • Danimal

      Watford three points above us and on a terrible run.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The problem will be the home games not away as this site and the fans put to much pressure on the players and they are to anxious. Will get six wins but four will have to come away unless this site and the fans start supporting our club and forget a bout the posh birds low and miserable offer for the club. We are having a party when Ashley leaves during games really boosts the players confidence and get’s the opposition going so thanks for that . With supporters like ours the clubs must love coming to Newcastle thank god for the away fans.

  • Simon Ritter

    To suggest the fans at home hinder the players is nonsense. The idea that a website has any influence is unbelievable. The team struggle at home because they lack the flair and marksmanship to score against well-organised opponents. Most of our matches are decided by extremely small margins. With only five points between 10th and 18th places tonight, expect the next five months-plus to be a rough ride.

    • David S

      It’s not a ‘blame’ thing. It’s just a fact that the home fans get anxious when things aren’t so easy. That transmits to the players who become cautious and tense and can’t play freely. Especially with a young side, mistakes soon come along, and results suffer. But, in the end it’s just a consequence of long-frustrated hope.

      I don’t have any practical suggestion to make about how to get the home crowd to ‘man up’ and just support the team … through thick and thin.

      But it’s true, the team would probably achieve more in an empty St. James’ Park than they can in a full stadium.

      • Mitros gotta start

        You will be telling us the players have to go in the stalls to have a P155 next because they are too nervous to go in the troughs with the rest of the men.

      • Arty Hume

        Don’t forget part of the reason there is little atmosphere at St James Park is because the fat one disbanded the singing section and spread them around, he was ashamed at the name calling and the abuse. Hopefully this will change with new owners and we can get the place rocking again!

        • David S

          Fair point, I’d forgotten about that. I’m 4,000 miles away and only get to watch on TV. My impression from that, though, is that Newcastle currently have one of the edgiest home crowds in the Premier League. Conversely, they see to have rock solid away supporters who never give up on the lads.

    • Martin

      Listen to what Rafa is saying. No manager will ever criticise the fans but he is clear that when the fans get on the players backs it makes them more tense and does not help them. It kills their confidence. Even last year we won the league due to our away form, our home form was average. If there was a more supportive and less critical atmosphere at SJP our home form would be better. I agree though re: the website.

  • Stephen Paylor

    if West Brom and Swansea keep losing it is going to make it easier, Stoke were awful so that is my 3 to go down.

    • Stephen Paylor

      Probably end up with Gibbs after all when west brom go down

  • Alreet

    At home we make alot of openings but we really need a finisher from 6 yards or 20. We need a scorer from free kicks not just a taker. We cant rely on clark and lascelles digging us out in the last 10 mins.

    We have to have that real cutting edge and movement that shelvey. Merino and ritchie can play on.

    We could do with around 5 newbies but id settle for a no.10 and a striker so see us through till the summer.

  • Stephen Paylor

    Conte said Batshuyal can leave in january, please let us grab him. Would be ideal for us. Big Mike or Amanda, lets do this……

  • Tino o

    I think although everyone bangs on about us being a championship side i think there’s more than 3 worse than us. Keep lasceles and Clark fit and playing together,Murphy is growing in confidence every game and could prove to be a great buy get Gayle scoring again job done. Get rid of fatty and live happily ever after. Easy

  • Danimal

    Match of the Day showed the latest non-penalty by accident, when they were trying to do a piece about Murphy. Crystal Palace got a crucial goal from a free kick awarded for someone thinking about making a tackle. There can’t be
    another team in the league getting as many helping hands from refs as they are??? Having said that, Southampton are a useful addition to the relegation mix.

    • Damon Horner

      Won once in ten weeks. I didn’t realise until last night how bad their situation is.

  • TheNutJob

    i don`t think we`ll get 40pts, we can only score against the bottom clubs, come across the top 8 to 10 & we lose or can`t score.the team isn`t good enough no matter how much they run or how hard they try the quality in the opposition does us.
    we have a decent defence & a rubbish attack but the powers that be are looking at keepers. unbelievable

  • Desree

    Rafa should be sacked. Such poor man management, making his players commit to a points total BEFORE seeking the approval of The Mag contributors. No wonder Ashley won’t back him with funds. We all know that games are won based on the predictions and team selection of The Mag writers.

  • robbersdog

    Our coaching team, led by the impressive Rafa, will get the job done; and that’s more than can be be said for West Brom…a club which is sinking like a stone after employing football’s answer to Laurel and Hardy – Pardew and Carver.

  • 1957

    With the league being as tight as it is, only 5 points between 9th and third bottom, whoever has even a short run of positive results will probably have the momentum to be safe.

  • Kingfisher

    What is this obsession with being in the Premiership as opposed to the Championship? Obviously the two main advantages in being in the Prem are:
    1) The amount of money on offer.
    2) The chance of seeing world class players.

    I would suggest that the riches available are only relevant if they are used to invest in top class players, to make your team more competetive/successful which obviously in Newcastles case doesn’t happen,so no advantage there.

    In Newcastles case considering the lack of investment (see above), the only world class players you will see are usually playing for the opposition,and giving us a good sorting out !

    When we have been in the Championship,at least we are competing with teams we know we can beat and are not going to be humiliated on world wide tv.
    There are more games in the Championship so we all get to see more football. From a personal point of view, I believe that football is an entertainment business, and we should enjoy watching our team,hoping/expecting we can win which doesn’t happen in the Prem, not only against the big lads but also against the so called ” lower ” sides.

    Surely everyone must have enjoyed last season, especially the battles with Brighton and Huddersfield? The way the season ended was one of the best days us Toon fans have had for ages,and all things considered I would rather be competing at the top end of the Championship and enjoying the games,rather than fighting against relegation in the Prem and having no enjoyment whatsoever.What is there not to like?