Will question marks show again on Newcastle United fitness regime and preparations after PL restart?
In a rather nice distraction from takeovermania, football moved a step closer to returning on 17th June.
Big cheers all round? Or a questionable step back into what is the real reality of Newcastle United under Mike Ashley’s ownership?
Like most of you, I hope (more likely pray) that the Newcastle United takeover will have reached its climax when we finally step back on to the football field.
However, if we are to take on the challenge of securing our premier league safety, what are the realistic expectations?
Personally, I believe the season thus far has been nothing short of a miracle that we find ourselves with 35 points.
The traditional safety target of 40 points, is only five away, yet I still feel a sense of trepidation, considering some incredible escapes achieved in games this season.
Victory against Chelsea, victory at home to Man Utd, late draw against Man City, unbelievable comeback against Everton, are a few highlights of the season. No one can dispute that our players don’t play to the end and keep fighting for Bruce. 20% of our goals have come in last 10 minutes this season.
Now step back into the issues…
Newcastle have scored the joint least goals in the division on 25.
Shelvey is our top scorer with five in premiership
Our preferred front three of ASM, Joelinton and Almiron, have just five league goals between them.
It could have been argued that we had greater ambitions for the season afloat when Almiron scored his first goal, against Crystal Palace, before Christmas. Since then we have picked up 10 points in 11 games.
Certainly not the worst possible return but I would focus supporters’ minds back to our injury crisis that destroyed our form over the winter period and the questions that were raised surrounding the club’s fitness regime and preparations?
Should Newcastle (unlikely I know) reach the FA Cup final we are looking at up to 12 games in the space of six weeks!
Personally, that makes me feel slightly nervous considering the the threadbare squad, in terms of quality, that we have.
Factor in that there are still no confirmations regarding the situation on players contracts that finish on 30th June, what squad depth will we have at all?
Players currently included in our registered premier league squad, loan or end of current contract are:
Carroll, M. Longstaff, Manquillo, Elliott, Lazaro, Bentaleb, Rose
Now with the exception of Elliott, I would have expected every one of those players to have played their part in remaining fixtures.
I’m not a fan of Steve Bruce, he’s done ok at best for me, but ultimately there are a few key factors that could yet ensure this relegation fight becomes a lot more uncomfortable than it should have been.
Lack of goals
No passionate crowd
We could be in for a rough ride yet!
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