Newcastle United stagger on towards the end of the season, like a drunk walking home after a skinful and looking likely to keel over at any time.
This particular NUFC drunk only somehow continuing to stay upright thanks to being propped up by the ability and experience of Rafa Benitez – but is it realistic that this can be the case all the way until May?
Tuesday night saw more shaking of the head from Newcastle fans, as it was revealed Rafa Benitez had spoken to Mike Ashley yesterday morning to find out what exactly is happening, if anything, with transfers.
Mike Ashley’s people having put out messages into the media that the Newcastle Manager would be backed with up to four new signings, including a £20m striker.
The Rafa Benitez frustration all too clear after none of his list of targets handed to Ashley back in December having been landed, only the short-term Kenedy loan deal which was set up in the Summer and finally activated this month.
With 11pm the deadline for transfers, we wait to see if Rafa’s appeal on the eve of this deadline has any effect on Mike Ashley, fair to say optimism doesn’t abound.
Sadly, the hopes of being able to rely on other clubs’ failings allowing Newcastle to avoid relegation, are quickly fading as well.
Not so long ago it looked as though West Brom and Swansea were helping NUFC out by booking two of the relegation spots early, that ‘plan’ though could be fast disappearing.
Swansea looked dead and buried but after beating Liverpool 1-0, they have now followed up that with another stunning result, 3-1 against Arsenal.
To make it worse the Gunners went a goal up and then the usually very reliable Peter Cech played a major part in handing the win to Swansea.
Thankfully Liverpool stuffed Huddersfield 3-0 to ensure the Terriers are still dropping like a stone, although they are still above Newcastle…
Usually I would have said a draw would have been a decent result for either West Ham or Crystal Palace (who also looked knackered not so long ago) but I think last night’s 1-1 draw that sees them drawing four and three points respectively above Newcastle, isn’t great either.
This is still in Newcastle’s hands but with all the other relegation strugglers getting significant help in the transfer market, a win tonight against Burnley is a must.
Southampton play Brighton tonight and Stoke host Watford so points have to be picked up by someone there.
Also, whilst West Brom should be guaranteed defeat at Man City tonight, having once looking doomed, their next two home matches are against Southampton and Huddersfield, meaning they also have a live chance of doing a Swansea and finding a couple of wins quickly.
For some time I have thought at least four points from these next two games at home to Burnley and away to Palace are a must, as I honestly can’t see anything more than a point from best in the next three – Man Utd at home, then Bournemouth and Liverpool away.
The pressure is really on and Rafa Benitez really needed a boost from this transfer window, to get to this point and to have been so undermined yet again by Mike Ashley, it is really unbelievable but at the same time sadly, totally expected, by Rafa and fans alike.
Premier League Table after Tuesday’s results:
Tuesday 30 January results:
Huddersfield 0 Liverpool 3
Swansea 3 Arsenal 1
West Ham 1 Crystal Palace 1
Wednesday 31 January matches
Chelsea v Bournemouth (7.45pm)
Everton v Leicester (7.45pm)
Manchester City v West Brom (8pm)
Newcastle v Burnley (7.45pm)
Southampton v Brighton (7.45pm)
Stoke v Watford (8pm)
Tottenham v Man Utd (8pm)