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Opinion

This perfect storm is set to hit Newcastle United

2 weeks ago
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For a long time I have been telling my Newcastle United friends to stop watching other teams’ results and instead look at our points tally.

Lately, I have been saying another three Newcastle United wins and as many draws will see us safe from relegation.

Whilst this might be true, looking at the remaining fixtures and our injury list, I got a shock when I worked out how many points we would get and where the wins would come from.

To my horror, I found that all the games against our relegation rivals are away, apart from the Sheffield United end of season game, which is ironically followed by the Fulham away fixture to end it all.

Home and away may not be the same with Covid around but it still looks a daunting task when you take our form, spirit and injuries into account. Couple this with the improvement in ALL the others.

Fulham away and an arbitration decision on the failed takeover pending, can’t you just see how this is going to pan out?

This would be in fitting with how things have gone since Rafa Benitez left and as many predicted.

Here is a diary of the perfect storm that we all feared:

Rafa Benitez leaves and Steve Bruce is appointed

Last year we did quite well but this was more down to Rafa’s legacy than Steve Bruce’s innovation. We spent a fair bit, though most of this was wasted on Joelinton. Many predicted second season syndrome and they were right.

The perfect takeover is foiled by the Premier League

Let’s just say we were bombarded from all angles and the Premier League buckled under pressure, delays and lack of transparency were unacceptable and an unprecedented delay accompanied sheer awkwardness from all around. Even the Government played their part.

Transfer Windows have been neglected

Many point to good summer dealings but I would argue, what is £35m in football terms these days?

The winter window was substantially worse and all put down to Covid 19, the state of the economy and prospective takeover. Perfect Mike Ashley excuses.

Steve Bruce struggles significantly

I don’t blame Bruce for this mess, I blame Ashley. That said, Steve tolerates it and isn’t a good enough manager or coach.

Opportunities to replace him have been missed. He has mismanaged the team and lost the solidity Rafa Benitez instilled. Team spirit is declining and we have lazy players content with second best.

Injuries

I’ve argued for a long time that potentially we have had the best defence for years. This season our five top centre-backs, have at times been reduced to one. Having to use probably our best midfield player in that role.

Lejeune was loaned out without replacement, Covid hitting Lascelles and Fernandez. Dummett and Schar crocked, you just couldn’t make it up. Then there’s your two best forwards ASM and Wilson out for long spells, as well as first choice right-back Manquillo.

The fixture list

I know you have to play everyone but the way that this plays out is pure Hollywood.

I would say to anyone, take a look and pick out the three wins in the remaining matches. Keep in mind the eight weeks it will take Callum Wilson to recover. Those games against Sheffield United and Fulham are so important. Sky will just love it!

The pessimist in me

I’ve joked all along that we will get the go ahead for the takeover just as we are about to be relegated, the Saudis will lose interest and will buy someone else. This joke isn’t funny anymore.

Many will say that this is exactly the perfect Newcastle United storm that Mike Ashley deserves. Whilst this might be true, it vindicates all those who criticised the Premier League, Steve Bruce’s tactics and structure of the club.

It’s only the fans that will suffer.

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