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Opinion

Newcastle United – Time to breathe

4 weeks ago
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The inevitable request from Newcastle United to postpone Sunday’s match at Southampton, was met by an equally inevitable howling at the moon from the crazy people.

Crazy people claiming…all kinds of crazy things, that supposedly ‘prove’ Newcastle United are ‘cheating’.

That ‘cheating’ being to ask for a postponement of a match due to a combination of Covid cases and injuries. The accusations fired at Newcastle United, despite 17 Premier League matches having already been called off due to the same ‘cheating’ of a combination of Covid cases and injuries.

We do indeed live in crazy times.

The Premier League agreeing to this postponement of the Southampton match, due to an overwhelming number of Newcastle’s first team squad being unavailable, has given NUFC that most valuable of all commodities, time.

Everybody at Newcastle United having time to breathe.

Not that there is any time to now rest and relax, at least not for those in charge, of both the club overall and those with responsibility for looking after the team / squad.

However, what the postponement has done, is to now give a two week period to give the players the chance to properly recover for that key Watford home match on Saturday 15 January. Whether Covid and / or injury, players able to get themselves properly sorted, apart from those with injuries certain to keep them out beyond the date of that Watford game, obviously hoping against hope as well that the Covid cases can be brought to a close.

It is also an invaluable fortnight that must be used to bring in some new players in time to prepare them and enable them to play against Watford and Leeds the following weekend and so on.

I have been amused to see the crazy people, particular those of a Southampton or Everton persuasion, believing that in the coming days, before we play them in the rearranged games, NUFC will have signed an entirely new starting eleven of superstar players.

In reality, I think we can have an expectation of two or three players arriving in January, possibly four or five if this transfer window really is made to work for us.

For those pundits, journalists, fans of other clubs, who are calling foul when it comes to Newcastle maybe signing players in January. I haven’t seen anybody putting this particular argument (defence?) forward…considering Newcastle United didn’t sign a single new player (Willock was on loan the second half of 2020/21) in summer 2021, NUFC are only desperately playing catch up and signing the essential players that absolutely had to be signed five or six months ago.

Anyway, looking ahead to out upcoming schedule of matches (see below), we now know confirmed dates and times for all(***) games until the end of February 2022, with the final live TV games at the end of that month confirmed on Friday, the West Ham away game chosen and the time but not day changed.

When talking about upcoming games I am not disrespecting the FA Cup but for me, whatever will be will be with it this season, as we have bigger fish to fry / save. Obviously the dream scenario is that we can dig ourselves out of relegation trouble whilst at the same time fiddle through a few rounds of the cup with seriously weakened teams. However, the Premier League has to be the priority, the only priority at the moment.

The full Newcastle United schedule up to the end of February 2022:

Saturday 8 January 3pm – Cambridge Home (FA Cup third round)

Saturday 15 January 3pm – Watford home

Saturday 22 January 3pm – Leeds away

(Weekend of Saturday 5 February – FA Cup fourth round)

Tuesday 8 February 7.45pm – Everton Home (BT Sport)

Sunday 13 February 2pm – Aston Villa Home (Sky Sports)

Saturday 19 February 12.30pm – West Ham Away (BT Sport)

Saturday 26 February 3pm – Brentford Away

(Midweek of Wednesday 2 March – FA Cup fifth round)

Newcastle United do of course have those two postponed matches to fit in and anybody thinking that they will be far in the future, way beyond the arrival of our entire January new signings cavalry, may be disappointed.

Southampton had already seen their home match with Brentford called off that was due to be played on Saturday 18 December, due to the Bees having a combination of Covid cases and injuries. Though apparently that was most definitely not ‘cheating’ by the opposition, bizarrely.

Anyway, that game has already been rearranged to be played in only 10 days time (11 January 2022), so don’t be surprised if you see one or both of Newcastle’s games against Everton and Southampton rearranged very soon as well.

The race is now on, those in charge at Newcastle United now tasked with making massive progress before that Watford match in exactly 14 days time, progress that is needed both on and off the (training) pitch.

Time to breathe for Newcastle United before this mad dash to the Premier League safety line, hopefully.

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