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Opinion

Is the fate of Newcastle United already sealed?

5 months ago
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Newcastle United will be without their attacking trio – Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, until sometime in April, at the earliest.

The news confirmed by Newcastle United on Tuesday, that ASM and Almiron had joined Wilson on the relatively long-term injured list, thanks to the injuries picked up against Wolves on Saturday night.

Their confirmed absence comes at a time when the team are, at least ‘on paper’, set to play their most winnable and important remaining games of this season – West Brom away, Aston Villa home, Brighton away and in the first weekend of April, Tottenham at home.

For Premier League survival, you are usually aiming for 40 points, Newcastle United currently 14 points off that.

Best case scenario, I think we have to believe victories against West Brom and Brighton should / could be on the table and optimistically, squeezing a draw against Villa, even if picking up that very optimistic return in the next three games, that would still leave Newcastle United on 33 points with nine games remaining. Which sounds quite reassuring, assuming seven points accumulated in this next trio of matches.

However, these remaining nine games include Tottenham, West Ham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City and Leicester – all of who are competing for top four places (bar champions-elect Man City, of course). A task which would look extremely worrying if these next three easier looking games don’t provide a decent return of points.

To make matters worse, Newcastle United are approaching these upcoming key matches with an available squad of players who have only managed 10 PL goals between them this season (not including Wilson ten, Almiron four, ASM two and Man Utd own goal at SJP).

That leaves the ultimate question; where will the Newcastle United points and goals come from?

Sadly, I can’t see Gayle, Joelinton and Carroll adding too many goals to their spectacular combined tally of three this season, nine in total these past two seasons.

If things do continue to go wrong (currently on a run of only two wins in last seventeen matches in all competitions), I believe it is fair to say that if we get relegated, it won’t be unexpected.

The one straw that I am clutching at is that Fulham’s fixtures are equally as tough. They still need to play Tottenham, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd. Also, we still have, for now anyway, that magical three points (recently reduced from ten) cushion. Another part of my ‘straw clutching optimism’ is that Fulham have unbelievably scored fewer goals than Newcastle. Although Scott Parker’s team have conceded less than NUFC and indeed have a better goal difference.

With that being said, there is of course the chance that we will end up going down to the wire and having to play Fulham for the decider and the big question is, do Newcastle United have what it takes to beat the mighty Fulham?

I believe that Newcastle shouldn’t be in this predicament and that better tactical management of players, by an all around better manager, would not only have kept us up and out of another relegation battle, but have had NUFC at least finishing closer to mid-table, like the always stable Crystal Palace, sitting comfortably in 13th.

I was slightly cautious of suggesting mid-table though, as I’d hate to ‘expect too much’ from our team.

As we’ve heard over the last couple of months, Steve Bruce believes he is the man for the job. He is ‘quietly confident we’ll stay up’ this season.

Interestingly, we’ve heard this all before; back in 2015/16 season under a manager who frequently claimed ‘I am the right man for the job’…we had only 10 games remaining when the belated sacking of Steve McClaren at last happened. Those games also included Leicester, Liverpool, Tottenham, Man City and Aston Villa.

I’m not superstitious but we all know the outcome of that season.

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