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Rafa Benitez doing it again – Newcastle riding high in stats of points picked up from Premier League bottom half teams

4 months ago
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The Premier League has a very clear split for Newcastle United.

When it comes to playing the better teams, those in the top half of the table, it has largely proved a step too far for Rafa’s seriously underfunded squad.

Newcastle have played 13 games against the 10 clubs currently in the top half of the Premier League and have a record of Won 1 Drawn 1 Lost 11.

The four points they have got, all came from Watford. A 1-0 win at St James Park which helped land Rafa Benitez his November manager of the month (see photo above), then a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road.

However, it is a different story when it comes to matches against those other clubs in the bottom half of the top tier.

When up against clubs with expenditure on their squad closer to Newcastle’s. Rafa Benitez has tended to outperform them.

These are the 10 matches so far against bottom half opposition:

Cardiff 0 Newcastle 0

Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 0 Brighton 1

Southampton 0 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 2 Bournemouth 1

Burnley 1 Newcastle 2

Everton 1 Newcastle 1

Huddersfield 0 Newcastle 1

Newcastle 0 Fulham 0

Newcastle 3 Cardiff 0

As you can see, a record of played 10 Won 4 Drawn 5 Lost 1. A total of 17 points from a possible 30.

That one defeat was a fluke 1-0 home defeat to Brighton where Newcastle actually dominated the game and chances.

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In this table below, only Everton of the bottom 10 clubs have done better than Newcastle, in results against other bottom half clubs.

That is Everton who have spent £400m (via Transfermarkt) assembling their squad and Newcastle got a deserved 1-1 draw at Goodison last month.

Thanks to Chris Holt for the table below:

premier league

Newcastle have got eight games left against these other clubs in the bottom half and five of those are at home, so if they can keep picking up points at the same rate against those around them, then Rafa’s team will be ok.

It is very similar to last season, before the 31 January 2018, Newcastle picked up only one point from the clubs who would eventually finish top half. However, from drawing with Burnley on 31 January 2018, Rafa’s team picked up 13 points from seven games against top half opposition.

There were home wins over Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal, plus a victory at Leicester. The eventual split was 14 points against top half clubs last season and 30 against the 10 in the bottom half.

It looks unlikely that Newcastle will have such an upturn this season in their later games against top half clubs, six of the seven matches that remain are away from home.

As we remarked last season, the fact that Rafa Benitez tends to outperform managers/clubs with similar spending to Newcastle, or those who have spent relatively little more, points to the likelihood that if he had more/some backing at Newcastle United, he could then be outperforming many clubs at a higher level.

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