Sky Sports are posing the question that fans are fearing.
The broadcaster asking ‘Will things get even worse for Newcastle?’
The Magpies had/have a run of 13 games before playing Liverpool away on Boxing Day, 12 of those games were/are against clubs outside the ‘big six’.
After four of those matches Newcastle have one point from a possible 12 and failed to score against Palace, Leicester and Brighton.
Ironically though they scored two at Old Trafford.
This continues a trend, having scored in all five matches against the ‘big six’ clubs but no goals in the four other games.
The evidence suggesting that when Newcastle play the better teams who will attack you and play more open football, they (NUFC) are capable of scoring on the counter-attack, but don’t have the quality to get a result.
Whilst against lesser teams who keep it tight and have a more defensive approach, Newcastle lack the quality to break them down and finish the odd chance that comes their way, but are not looking quite as solid at the back as they did for much of last season.
That game at Anfield on Boxing Day sets in motion another run of seven games where five of them are against the ‘big six’.
So, in answer to the Sky Sports question, our return question would be ‘Can Newcastle now take advantage of these remaining nine games in the 13 match run against lesser clubs?’
The Sky Sports preview also points out that Rafa Benitez has a formidable record against Mark Hughes, the Southampton boss only winning one of 13 PL games against the Spaniard.
Two of the six Rafa wins were last season against Stoke, before Hughes was sacked and then tried to relegate the Saints in the same season, which would have been a quite amazing double.
There are so many big stats around this match and Newcastle winning only one and losing 12 of the 17 PL matches at Southampton is a horrendous one.
Even with the Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson teams we struggled, only in the final full Sir Bobby season did we get the solitary win – thanks to a long-range Stephen Carr special.
Not many of these current players would even compete to get on the bench of either of those two managers’ teams/squads, so the question is, can Rafa Benitez spark off another minor miracle of comfortable safety with a win on the south coast?
‘Will things get even worse for Newcastle?
‘Newcastle have made their worst ever start to a league campaign after nine games (assuming three points for a win), picking up just two points from nine Premier League matches.
‘Rafa Benitez’s men are rock bottom of the Premier League and travel to the south coast in desperate need of some positive momentum after a shambolic start to the campaign, both on and off the pitch.
‘Benitez does however hold a positive record against Mark Hughes.
‘The Saints boss has won just one of his 13 Premier League meetings with Benitez (W1 D6 L6), losing both games against Newcastle last season when he was manager of Stoke City.’