Newcastle United came away from Selhurst Park with a valuable point.

Could have been three if taking one of the chances to make it 2-0 but equally/even more so, Palace could/should have finished NUFC off once they became the dominant team after the break.

I was interested to see the article on The Mag earlier today featuring the Premier League relegation odds.

Newcastle currently 2/1 and rated the fifth most likely to go down.

I wrote an article that was published on Saturday where I explained why I thought the ‘experts’ such as Owen, Lawrenson and Merson had their predictions wrong.

All three said it would be a comfortable home win and I published some stats explaining why they were wrong and Newcastle had every chance of getting at least a point.

The basis of this was that against the other eight clubs (Huddersfield, West Brom, Swansea, Stoke, Brighton, Palace, West Ham and Southampton) in the bottom nine (still the same bottom nine after the weekend’s results), Newcastle have an astonishing record – stats which I have now updated (the 13 games listed individually at the bottom of the article as well):

This is the astonishing record of Newcastle’s record against the other eight clubs in the bottom nine of the table:

Played 13 Won 6 Drawn 5 Lost 2 (23 points from possible 36)

In contrast, Newcastle’s record against the current top 11 clubs is:

Played 13 Won 0 Drawn 2 Lost 11 (2 points from possible 39)

Newcastle may have been under pressure in the Palace game later on but we could still easily have won, never mind draw. Newcastle had more corners and shots on target than Palace, plus an almost equal share of the possession. This backed up my theory (as opposed to Owen, Merson etc) and a draw was probably fair.

Looking at the rest of this season, Newcastle have 12 games left, six at home and six away.

However, I am more interested in a different six and six split.

I believe that there are six games where Rafa’s players stand next to no chance, with the other six where Newcastle have to get the points if they are to survive.

Next to no chance games:

Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal at home, Liverpool, Spurs and Leicester away.

Matches with possibilities:

West Brom, Southampton and Huddersfield at home, Bournemouth, Watford and Everton away.

As the more observant of you may have noticed, Newcastle have already (sadly) played 13 of their 16 matches against clubs currently in the bottom nine.

The three they have remaining are all at home, that trio of West Brom, Southampton and Huddersfield.

I know Newcastle have only won three of their first 13 at St James Park but to have any chance of survival, Rafa’s players have to win those three games, no question.

The other three with ‘possibilities’ are the away games at Watford, Bournemouth and Everton, all three of these won at St James Park, though Newcastle wasted great chances to beat the latter two and as for the 0-3 against Watford, it was just a shambles.

However, I think Newcastle have to get an absolute minimum of four points from this trio of away matches.

Along with nine from the winnable home ones, that would give another 13 points and take NUFC to 38 points, which just maybe could be a surviving total.

The other six matches I would be amazed and very pleasantly surprised if we get anything. To do so I think you are looking at getting a lot of luck, just as we did in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool (Burnley at home the other point gained against the top 11 in the Premier League).

These teams, including Leicester (and Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal), just have far too much quality and pace, in these games Newcastle will struggle to even put together moves to get into the opposition half much. Especially with Rafa knowing his team are capable of being ripped apart if committing too much forward, as eve Palace threatened to do yesterday.

To compound matters, Kenedy won’t be able to play on the final day against Chelsea, nor Slimani when NUFC face Leicester.

With the front six yesterday, only Kenedy and Gayle are anything but pedestrian. I don’t rate Perez whatsoever and his ‘attempts’ at closing down defenders are embarrassing.

I know he seems to be taking a lot of the blame this season and deserves some of it but I would hope Gayle keeps his place and is paired with Slimani, then get Murphy and Kenedy on the wings and it doesn’t matter as much that Diame (first choice now, who would have thought…) and whoever else (Shelvey, Merino…) are so pedestrian in the middle.

For me, the easy part is identifying the games where Newcastle could/should get points but of course far more difficult when it comes to Rafa’s job of actually selecting the tactics and players to try and win those points.

As for the six matches I have marked down as having no chance, I am not suggesting that Rafa goes for all out attack but with the tactics so far against better teams only producing damage limitation at best, maybe time to go and try something else and a more attacking formation, as what have we to lose in those matches?

Matches played so far by Newcastle against other clubs in current bottom nine of Premier League:

Huddersfield 1 Newcastle 0 (20 Aug 2017)

Newcastle 3 West Ham 0 (26 Aug 2017)

Swansea 0 Newcastle 1 (10 Sept 2017)

Newcastle 2 Stoke 1 (16 Sept 2017)

Brighton 1 Newcastle 0 (24 Sept 2017)

Southampton 2 Newcastle 2 (15 Oct 2017)

Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0 (21 Oct 2017)

West Brom 2 Newcastle 2 (28 Nov 2017)

West Ham 2 Newcastle 3 (23 Dec 2017)

Newcastle 0 Brighton 0  (30 Dec 2017)

Stoke 0 Newcastle 1 (1 Jan 2018)

Newcastle 1 Swansea 1 (13 Jan 2018)

Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 1 (4 February 2018)

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  • mentalman

    we need to hope for 3 other teams imploding

    • Geordiegiants

      Two already are.

  • Arty Hume

    I have to say with the bottom of the table so tight goal difference will be crucial come the end of the season, so I think it will be damage limitation with the better sides. As above we are at the moment brittle when it comes to a counter attack and due to our mid being slow opposition just cut through us, so its a delicate balancing act for Rafa. We need someone to assist the attack as Perez is not the answer IMHO, but hey Nazri is available on a free…worth a gamble. Strange I think Slimani would have been interesting with Mitro to see if they could have developed a partnership like Sir Les and Shearer?

  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    With Mahrez acting like a giant greedy baby out at Leicester(“the foxes won’t sell me to a league rival for less than I’m worth, WAAAAAAAAH!”), I wouldn’t be shocked if we stole a point from them.

    • thewildchimp

      The only problem is that we’ll play without a forward in that game.

  • Chas

    Ayoze’s attempts at closing down are embarrassing? I think you’ll find that with Ayoze in the team we do far better than without. And that’s a fact, whether you like it or not. Can’t believe in the same breath you’ve criticised Ayoze you’ve actually praised Gayle despite his starting berth yesterday having the effect of us playing with ten men for ninety minutes.

  • Peter Stabler

    Big teams sometimes have their eye on a bigger prize than 3 points towards the end of the season, maybe a cup replay or still in Europe, might help?

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      I agree with you there, in-fighting at Chelsea may help, a Cup semi here or there. The issue all the clubs have at the bottom is that the bottom clubs are actually mid-table too. A game away to the 9th place side and we may think they may take it easy but the fact is the 9th place side are Bournemouth and as much in the relegation dog-fight as Swansea

  • Peaky Magpie

    Worst case scenario would be having to beat Chelsea for survival final game with those having to beat us to guarantee a CL place 😳

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Geordie John saved us on the last day, let`s hope we don`t have to beat Chelsea to survive

      • Peaky Magpie

        Was at that game,West Ham didn’t try and Fat Sham had apparently jacked in at half time,I somehow don’t think this game would be that easy…let’s hope we’re safe and they’ve already qualified for the CL.

        • Geordiegiants

          It looks like it’s gonna be bye bye Conte anyway. They will have a new Man in for the last game. Maybe even tonight the way this is going.

        • Tomb

          And neither did spurs last time we went down

          • Peaky Magpie

            Were Spurs not hoping to beat us to finish 2nd and above Arsenal ??? Can’t remember…

          • Tomb

            True but I think that was a motivation for the fans more than the players. They were going for the league up till then so psychologically were done. I wonder if we had lost to a fully firing spurs that day whether Rafa would have left

          • Peaky Magpie

            Yeah massive turning point in Rafa deciding to stay,I think his daughters were at the game that day and were overwhelmed by his support and from what I’ve read they had a big say on him staying….could do with a performance like that this coming Sunday.

    • Come&TakeIt1836

      Or… it could be like playing Tottenham on the last day of the season. If Chelsea are not at risk for dropping out of the top four, the final week of the season is the best time to play them.

      • Peaky Magpie

        Yup,different angle,fair comment.

      • Angelswithdirtyfaces

        more likely to be out of sight of getting into 4th the way it’s going

      • Tomb

        Agree the harder games at the end of the season are the sides who have points to play for

      • thewildchimp

        Yeah, they might want to offload some of the players, therefore play them, if that’s the case.

  • Paul Patterson

    We need four wins/12 points. Simple as . .

    • Geordiegiants

      2 wins and 6 draws even. 😃

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    we`re schitt, but there`s some below us that are even worse & that takes some doing
    up until the last 3 games SloMo was a waste of space but he seems to have woken up, as for the Hoss & Perez, Manure

    • Geordiegiants

      West Brom have got Pinocchio, and I knew Bobby Robson so their fate was sealed the day they walked in. I think the last 2 spots are between us, Stoke, Huddersfield and Swansea. Huddersfield look worse than us at the minute.

      • thewildchimp

        It’s gotta be Stoke, they are bloody awful, and Hudds are in a slump. Basically, like it’s right now, except that we might fall to the 17th place.

  • S.G.M.

    “Palace could/should have finished NUFC off once they became the dominant team after the break.”
    Why was that Dale?

    • HarryHype59

      Because it was an attack v defence game! Lucky for us, Palace didn’t have their shooting boots on!

  • skarabrae

    We are running out of winnable games… in fact , the past few games , we aren’t even winning our “winnable” games… think we need a miracle to stay up!!

    • Tomb

      Even though still not bottom three

      • HarryHype59

        For now!

  • GToon

    What I wonder is will Rafa go for it in any of these must win games or will he play not to lose. I think WBA are down and so are Huddersfield although they play each other this weekend so that will be interesting. I think Stoke or Swansea might make up the third place. I think 37 points will do us as it would mean other teams needing 38 points based on our current goal difference. We need Slimani to make a big difference.

    • thewildchimp

      If only he had realised before that when you are playing for the win, you are also playing not to lose… :)

  • toonterrier

    What will help us survive is if the players work their socks off for ninety minutes instead of switching off after the first half as they have for the last few games. We cant expect other teams to keep losing so we have to get points on the board otherwise we’re doomed. Mostly fatties fault for not investing in the team but the work rate has to improve.

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    Chelski are getting prone to meltdowns. Long may it continue.
    13 pts should see us okay, touch and go with 12. That’s where goal difference might save us.

    • Rich Lawson

      Conte looks done,but hopefully they will keep him to the end of the season so we don’t suffer the new manager bounce yet again. (”Gonna be a Borstal breakout”,U Sham ?)

  • Tomb

    I would say chelsea is a good chance of a win they rarely play well against us at St James and they could well have nowt to play for by then. Arsenal are iffy away from home and Leicester and Watford may be on the beach by the time we play them. If we ever win all the games touted as just wins in a season we’d be a top three side. I’m not convinced that any of the current three will reach 38 points

  • gallowgate26

    If only it was that simple Dale. As others have said, at the end of a season, it’s funny how a ‘winnable’ game against a team fighting relegation, suddenly becomes difficult; and a game against a top 10 side, (with nothing to play for) suddenly becomes winnable.

  • Down Under Mag

    Games against our relegation rivals will probably come out as important BUT it is probably more important how we fair against some of the “mid-table teams” if there is such a thing these days, as at a certain point they won’t have a lot to play for. I think we will need somewhere between 10-12 points to stay up, but who knows…i’m not confident at the moment we will even get that many and even if we do we are basicaly relying on other teams not being good enough rather than keeping our survival in our own hands. Thanks Mr Ashley!

  • MadMag83

    I agree with the article. I can’t see us getting anything from the other 6 games. Ultimately we may end up relying on other teams results. We’re back to Ashley’s philosophy of hoping there are 3 teams worse than us.

  • thewildchimp

    The problem with Gayle is that he offers absolutely nothing apart from scoring goals. “Well, isn’t that his job”, you are rightfully gonna say. It is, but when he’s shut out – NUFC is as good as playing with 10 men. I think that’s the reason why Benitez picks Joselu over him.

    So I’d go with Slimani for some 60-75 mins., for as long as he can endure, then sub him and pray for an odd corner or a foul.