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Opinion

Not wanting to worry anybody but Newcastle United lost 6 of these next 7 fixtures last season

3 weeks ago
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Interesting to hear and read what fans are saying about this start to the season by Newcastle United.

Four Premier League games played with one win, one draw and two defeats, three goals scored and five conceded.

Add in a League Cup defeat on penalties at home to Leicester.

So how has it been for you?

There are two extreme views:

Four points in four games is more than Rafa got in his first 10 games last season, two of the matches were against ‘big six’ opposition, could have got something against Arsenal and might have beaten Watford…could have been seven points and joint fourth with a bit of luck. As for the cup match, very unlucky to feature in the only all-Premier League tie and as Steve Bruce (bizarrely) claims, NUFC didn’t really lose the game in the real sense of the word (as it was 1-1 in open play)…

A lucky win at a struggling Tottenham (had won only 4 of previous 14 Premier League games and lost 7 of them) with problems behind scenes, winning despite only two shots on target and 20% possession. That result actually camouflaging a really poor start to the season where an almost Arsenal second team won with their keeper not having a shot to save, humiliated at Norwich and lucky to get a point at home to rock bottom Watford. As for the cup defeat, same old same old, making seven changes to Leicester’s two, all the best players left out to keep them for the Premier League game against Watford and ensuring exit at first opportunity, no cup ambition.

Trying to find a kind of sensible middle ground, I think you can say averaging  a point a game (four in four so far) would just about keep Newcastle up probably (38 points). Playing very defensive football (whatever Steve Bruce claims) with only three goals and very few other decent efforts on goal but on the other hand defending relatively well apart from Norwich, thanks in the main to the low ambition football.  The first four games saw an average of only 32% possession for Newcastle, whilst even at home against a very poor Watford, Newcastle having slightly less (49%) possession than the opposition.

That third overview is hopefully the pretty factual one.

Speaking of facts, I have been surprised to hear a fair few pundits and some fans, suggesting that after this quartet of opening fixtures, things will now get a bit easier for Newcastle and expect to pick up more points etc etc.

This in order are the next seven fixtures and how they turned out last season:

Liverpool 4 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 1 Brighton 0

Leicester 0 Newcastle 1

Newcastle 0 Man Utd 2

Chelsea 2 Newcastle 1

Newcastle 1 Wolves 2

West Ham 2 Newcastle 0

Yes, six defeats and just the one win.

I know things rarely turn out exactly as you think they will, I struggle to see NUFC getting many points from these next seven matches.

The one that we did win, at Leicester, I struggle to see anything but a defeat, especially when our match winner there these last two seasons is now playing for the foxes.

Like me, you are no doubt looking at that Brighton home game as the best chance of points before we are well into November. However, I think they have improved on last season and having hammered Watford 3-0 away they also drew with West Ham, I think it will be tough and undoubtedly have to play better than against Watford yesterday.

Any point(s) from the other six I would see as a big bonus based on what I have seen of Newcastle so far.

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