For so long, the Premier League fixtures have been easy.

Well, easy when it comes to knowing who you wanted to win, or rather, lose.

Simply look to see who West Brom, Stoke and Southampton were playing, then wishing the best to whoever was the opposition(s).

To be fair, they rarely let us down.

Sadly, it also often means swallowing your pride and wanting the likes of Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea to win, but needs must.

With only defeats to Liverpool and Man City since mid-December and in particular, four wins in the last six [three wins in last three], the goalposts have suddenly shifted.

Rafa says he still won’t feel safe until Newcastle are on 40+ points but when the bookies have you as high as 500/1 to go down, I think the rest of us can have at least one eye on where this season could realistically end up…when looking up.

These are the weekend’s games and then there is the current Premier League table before Southampton kick-off against Chelsea…

Saturday

Southampton v Chelsea 12.30pm

Burnley v Leicester 3pm

Crystal Palace v Brighton 3pm

Huddersfield v Watford 3pm

Swansea v Everton 3pm

Liverpool v Bournemouth 5.30pm

Tottenham v Man City 7.45pm

Sunday

Newcastle United v Arsenal 1.30pm

Man Utd v West Brom 4pm

Monday

West Ham v Stoke 8pm

premier league fixturesI look at this Premier League table now and see Newcastle’s potential highs and lows depending on how they get on compared to this group of clubs…

Burnley in seventh down to West Ham in 14th. It isn’t impossible for the likes of Swansea, Huddersfield or Palace to catch Newcastle but very unlikely.

Closing an 11 point gap on Burnley is also very very unlikely but this is my show and I am allowed a little artistic license.

Certainly West Ham (14th) four points behind and Leicester (8th) five points ahead, are clubs that Newcastle could feasibly swap positions with.

If NUFC did end up 14th it would mean £13.3m prize money due specifically to the league placing, whilst 8th would equal £24.7m, so straight away that would be hopefully an extra £11.4m Rafa would have to play with this summer (if Newcastle end up 8th compared to 14th).

Whilst Burnley might be just that little bit too far away, no reason why Newcastle can’t end up best of the rest. Certainly we have seen nothing from either of the two clubs directly ahead of them to fear.

In fact, if Rafa’s team had beaten either Leicester or Everton at St James Park, they would already now be ahead of that respective opponent.

Burnley play Leicester this afternoon, so a no-brainer for me that we should want the home team to win, meaning Newcastle could move to within only two points of the Foxes if beating Arsenal.

As for Everton, I suppose that a few weeks ago I would have been forced to want Fat Sam’s team to beat Swansea but happily, I can now cheer on the Welshies this afternoon. Newcastle would then travel to Goodison Park a week on Monday actually ahead of the scousers on goal difference, if Everton lose and Newcastle win.

Directly below Newcastle are Bournemouth and Watford, so I suppose it is a case of wanting Eddie Howe’s team to lose the 5.30pm game at Anfield, whilst I would happily now take Huddersfield winning at home to Watford – which wouldn’t have been the case a week or two ago.

I’m not counting on anything just yet but I don’t see any reason why as Newcastle fans we can’t aspire to a top eight placing after such a tough season, when we even got stick for standing by our manager! Everybody from mackems to the clueless media, not understanding the challenges Rafa had to face, due mainly to lack from backing from Mike Ashley.

The United boss has successfully navigated those hazards and now together we can look up the league rather than always down.

Then wonder if that can carry on into next season and muse on what could be possible if finally Rafa Benitez is able to bring in the players that he wants.

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  • Charlie Thompson

    Well my prediction for league position at the beginning of the season was 9th before a ball was kicked and it would be some achievement if we finished in the top ten

    • Peaky

      I went for 15th with 41 points….looks like I’m going to be wrong on both…I’m so pleased.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        It`s not over until the Fat lad sings,
        a Chas & Dave melody

        • Peaky

          Can just picture Fatso in one of those pearly king suits by the old Joanna doing The Lambeth Walk while singing On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep and sinking 15 pints of Bombadier…

  • Rich Lawson

    The only one that looks really difficult now is Spurs away.Hopefully by the time we play Chelsea they will have no chance of Champ’s League qualification and will want to save themselves/avoid cards for the FA Cup final which at the moment looks like Conte’s last game ? Every other game looks winnable the way we are currently playing.

    • Peaky

      Aye,Spurs away is the only one with any trepidation….we owe them big time however….they took Dummett,Lejeune out and the odious Dele Ali got Shelvey sent off….Rafa will no doubt remind them….must dash the sun has just appeared for the first time in months….

      • Leazes.

        We have to identify Deli Ali first and Kane second as the mechanism which makes Spuds tick….Ali creates confusion and panic off the ball and isn’t adverse to gamesmanship (cheating). He’s very clever in what he does.

        • Peaky

          Agree 100%

      • molend

        Is that the Royal Sun? Hev one on me.

        • Peaky

          Gone back in….oh well the shorts were nearly out the drawer….

          • molend

            Is that where you keep them? I keep mine in the drinks cabinet.

          • Peaky

            😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣

      • Rich Lawson

        Putting the washing out then ? Me to !

  • Lord

    It’s conflicitng to wish for a top half finish when that would effectively vindicate Mike Ashley’s strategy of paying big money for a top manager at the expense of investing in the team.

    If we can hit top 10 on a net investment of 11m, why should he put any more in next season?

  • Leazes.

    Two wins that were unforeseen against manure and Leicester Crisps has changed your opinion….that’s because you are fickle Sam and react to every event on a momentary basis rather than take an overview approach….

    ….in short it has largely been a season of struggle and of poor results in which we stayed largely injury free, and that has been the welcome bonus this time around… we haven’t challenged….. we’ve escaped by a few points which seem to be enough!

    This seems to be a constant trait of writers for the Mag…. jumping at every turn, up and down like a yo-yo and most of all so willing to share ‘feelings’ with its readership!

    I just wish it was a sport without the overblown dramatised feminine oratory where writers could analyse the game, the problems, the shortfalls, without the hyperbola, without deifying the decent players or criminalising the wrong people as the writers who turned on Shelvey did this season!

    • steve

      But the change in opinion isn’t based on two wins, it’s based on two months worth of performances and results.
      Having a really good goalkeeper who has given the defence a massive confidence boost and Kenedy being a great deal better than Atsu or Murphy means we are a completely different proposition than we were at the start of January.

      • Leazes.

        True

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Can we win this game, yes but don`t write Arsenal off.
    the likes of Ryder of the Ronnie is already taken this as a foregone conclusion but let`s hope the lads don`t get complacent.

  • Desree

    Can’t believe some people think Arsenal will be a breeze. On the Arsenal blog ‘Embarrassing comments by Newcastle fans’

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Do we exchange money at 40 points or wait until mathematically certain?