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Opinion

Newcastle United – The lull before the storm

3 months ago
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It feels like every day we are getting hit by a different storm.

Racing through the alphabet with Dudley, Eunice, Franklin, Gladys…

Looking ahead on the weather sites, when we get to N, the storm will be named Nasim, however, maybe it should be Newcastle United as we get ready to face what could be a stormy 22 day stretch.

Recent times have seen a pretty decent schedule for Newcastle United when it comes to preparing for matches, usually a week between Premier League matches, sometimes longer.

Indeed, since the turn of the year, there have been only five NUFC Premier League matches, which has undoubtedly helped the club, particularly when it comes to Eddie Howe having to deal with a sizeable number of injuries, many of them to key players.

That is all going to change though, because after this lull, we are heading for a stormy period of up to six games in a period that stretches just over three weeks, starting with Brentford away on Saturday 26 February and ends with Crystal Palace at home on Sunday 20 March. Unless Palace win their fifth round FA Cup game against Stoke, which would mean ‘only’ five Premier League matches from Saturday 26 February (Brentford away) to Thursday 17 March (Everton away).

By rescheduling the postponed Everton and Southampton matches to consecutive Thursdays, it effectively means Newcastle United will be playing every weekend and midweek in March (from Brighton at home on 5 March) until the international break.

By the time we get to the next international break (last games on 20 March before that break), the following Premier League matches are scheduled to have taken place:

Brentford: Newcastle (H), Norwich (A), Burnley (H), Leicester (A)

Everton: Man City (H), Spurs (A), Wolves (H), Newcastle (H), Watford (A)

Leeds: Spurs (H), Leicester (A), Villa (H), Norwich (H), Wolves (A)

Newcastle United: Brentford (A), Brighton (H), Southampton (A), Chelsea (A), Everton (A), Palace (H)

Watford: Man Utd (A), Arsenal (H), Wolves (A), Southampton (A), Everton (H)

Burnley: Palace (A), Leicester (H), Chelsea (H), Brentford (A), Southampton (H)

Norwich: Southampton (A), Brentford (H), Leeds (A), Chelsea (H)

This is how the Premier League table currently looks today (Thursday 24 February 2022):

Premier League Table 24 February 2022

Looking at the matches above, this period could be decisive in terms of whether Newcastle United stay up.

If playing all six games, after Palace at home on 20 March it would mean 30 PL matches played for Newcastle and only eight left.

As the schedule stands, Newcastle will play six games before the international break compared to five for Watford, Leeds and Burnley, four each for Brentford and Norwich.

Looking at the six NUFC matches, my prediction would be eight points from a possible eighteen, leaving Newcastle United with 30 points from 30 games. As I think most likely to be wins over Brighton and Palace at home, draws at Brentford and Everton, whilst defeats at both Southampton and Chelsea.

That would almost certainly leave Newcastle with still work to do but not a bad position. Probably needing something like at least seven or eight points from the final eight matches to make sure of survival.

Newcastle United upcoming matches:

Saturday 26 February 3pm – Brentford Away

Saturday 5 March 3pm – Brighton Home

Thursday 10 March 7.30pm – Southampton Away

Sunday 13 March 2pm – Chelsea away (Sky Sports)

Thursday 17 March 7.45pm – Everton away (Amazon Prime)

Sunday 20 March 2pm – Crystal Palace home (Unless Palace still in the FA Cup)

Sunday 3 April 4.30pm – Tottenham away (Sky Sports)

Friday 8 April 8pm – Wolves home (Sky Sports)

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