As Newcastle fans we are all guilty of trying to get the facts to suit our circumstances.

Last season, Newcastle fans were keen to show their support for Rafa Benitez. When the manager got criticism for supposedly overly negative tactics against the better teams, fans pointed to how relatively well NUFC did in terms of the goal difference not being too adversely affected, compared to other relegation threatened clubs.

However, goal difference very rarely decides issues at the end of a season.

The last Premier League campaign was no different and it was picking up 10 points from Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea (at home) that was key to survival and indeed a tenth place finish, rather than only losing by one and two goals against all-conquering Manchester City.

This time around, both media and Newcastle fans have taken it as a positive that the team have lost by only one goal in each of the five games played against ‘big six’ teams.

The theory being that once again goal difference isn’t being too hammered AND it created a belief that if Rafa’s team could lose by ‘only’ one goal against the better teams, then surely that meant against the lesser clubs…

Consecutive home defeats to Leicester and Brighton without Newcastle even scoring a goal, have kind of stamped all over that theory.

It is very difficult for Rafa Benitez because of the ridiculous way Mike Ashley has undermined him but you do have to wonder if just maybe, Newcastle did get things wrong a little bit in the home games so far this season against the ‘better’ teams.

Interesting to look back to the most recent Mike Ashley relegation season of 2015/16, Newcastle United didn’t just pick up points against the ‘big six’, they actually did better against those clubs compared to the other 13.

In 12 games against the top teams, Newcastle won three and picked up five draws, only losing four games. A record of 14 points from a possible 36.

In 26 matches against the lesser 13 clubs in 2015/16, it brought only 23 points from a possible 78, due to six wins, five draws and a massive 15 defeats.

Not being too flippant but at least this season Newcastle are treating all of them the same, losing to pretty much everybody.

Realistically, if you look down through Newcastle’s past, the success and failure of the club has invariably been more down to home and away form. Tending to have a decent to very good record at St James Park and anything picked up on the road a bonus.

Rafa’s team still have 11 home games and 10 aways to come this season against clubs who are seen as amongst the lesser 13 clubs.

Maybe the best chance of getting out of this mess is if Rafa and the players try to harness the St James Park crowd more. Having a real go at any team that they play at home to try and get that synergy between players and fans going, whilst adopting more restrained tactics in away games.

Once again see anything against the better teams as a bonus, home and away, whilst having a very realistic chance of beating all 11 of the lesser clubs at home.

If you look at it as wins at home and draws away against the lesser clubs, that is a realistic 43 points that can definitely be played for with some decent expectation of success.

The football at St James Park isn’t working so far in terms of both results and in engaging the fans.

It was a terrible match and Newcastle were non-existent at Southampton from an attacking point of view, not a single shot on target, but now surely a case of throwing everything at Watford and Bournemouth at St James Park in the next two matches.

When you don’t have the best team you most definitely need to get the Newcastle fans engaged and onboard.

  • Kenny

    They have to throw everything at the opposition in the next 2 home matches
    draws are no good.

    • Leazes.

      Why don’t you try it on Football Manager and tell us what happens.

      • Kenny

        Tried it, we won both games

        • Leazes.

          You purchased Ronaldo though.

    • Billmag

      Hope you are right Kenny but does our team really know how to do that.

    • Danimal

      Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. I can’t help thinking if we go all out attack (whatever that looks like with our available players), Bournemouth and Watford will both hammer us on the break, as they have previously. If we gamble, get lucky and score with our first attack, then there’s something to cling onto. Unambitious isn’t it? But it’s what we’ve come to.

  • Paul Patterson

    Draws away at Cardiff, Palace and Southampton are good results, IF we beat them at home.

    • Malcolm Fisher

      IF,IF,IF can be a very big word.

      • Mike D

        Font 76?

  • Leazes.

    I don’t understand your thinking at all…. the reason for the ‘bus’ isn’t the goal difference at the end of the season…..

    ….. its to keep the individual games within reach!…..

    …..To give us a chance of getting at least a point from a game. last season it worked, Ashley gambled that he could get away with it again…..

    …..he’s not very bright.

    • Phil Yare

      we should ask all the away big teams if they’d all like 3 points without playing as long as they’d only take a 1-0 win. then we can ask every other team if they’d take a 0-0 at SJP without kicking a ball. that’s a guaranteed 19 points and then we’ll just keep it tight for the remaining games and hope 24 points is enough to stay up without having to shoot or win a corner

      • Mxpx

        If this isnt our tactic maybe we could buy a lovely white flag

      • Leazes.

        I’ve no idea what you’ve just said…. I’ll read it again when daylight saving time catches up with my brain.

        • Phil Yare

          best to read it when your very tired in a dark room

          • Billmag

            Must admit Phil I had to read it twice and I’m still non the wiser, now you can call me thick or whatever that’s your choice.

          • Phil Yare

            no mate your right. i think i lost the will to live halfway through writing it.

          • Billmag

            😀😀😀 Good lad at least you are honest.

      • Mike D

        I’ve got it on the scond attempt I think. Correct me if I’m wrong but you’re recommending we agree scorelines and not play any football? 1-0 losses to the big clubs and draws for the rest. Yeah, we’ll still go down unless we can negotiate better.

    • BanJones

      Well said Leazes this “goal difference” take on the tactics does my head in. Man City at Christmas last year Jonjo had a shooting chance edge of the box in the last minute, on another day we could have pinched a point against the record breakers, 1 point trumps 100+ goal difference.

  • Superdooperhooper

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – what’s the point of staying up? To be rid of ashley we have to go down and stay down . Ashley’s cash cow will be dead and he will sell up

    • Mrkgw

      Be very careful what you wish for – look at Coventry, Forest, Sheff Wed, Villa, Leeds, Blackburn, even the Mackems. Things have gone from bad to worse. We need to rid ourselves of Ashley but relegation shouldn’t be a consideration.

      • Leazes.

        After 12 years yo-yoing and downsizing, its not what anyone wishes for….. its what is coming!

        The asset strip was completed last year…. Ashley has no more options and neither do we…..


  • Rev

    Just try to win, simple. No more of this don’t concede, catch them on the break, no shots but a point is a good outcome nonsense. Thats not a tactical masterclass, look at the table, look at how the players are performing, look at what it is doing to the support, the atmosphere. The squad is not miles below the standard of the rest of the premiership and triers sometimes succeed (man utd at home last season anyone?). We cant change the squad, the owner won’t let us. Change the tactics, or the manager or we may as well concede we are down. The statistics dont lie Rafa fans.

  • GlasgowMag

    So basically take the Fulham approach with the mighty Mitro yip that will work!!