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Newcastle United failing or succeeding? Comparisons to same point(s) last season…

2 months ago
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How are Newcastle United doing?

Every supporter has their own personal take on this but what about measuring it in some way?

Is that possible, to give us some kind of definitive outcome?

Well I think a decent starting point is comparing how Newcastle United are doing now, compared to the same moment(s) the 2022/23 season.

This is how the Premier League table now looks on Monday (18 December 2023) after the weekend results and 17 Newcastle United PL matches played:

This is how the Premier League table looked back in December 2022 after 17 Newcastle United PL matches had been played:

As you can see, the top six looking very familiar, Aston Villa instead of Man U the only difference.

Newcastle United in 2023/24 with a record of:

Played 17 Won 9 Drawn 2 Lost 6 Points 34 GF 36 GA 21 GD +15

Newcastle United in 2022/23 with a record of:

Played 17 Won 9 Drawn 7 Lost 1 Points 29 GF 28 GA 11 GD +17

So this season, Eddie Howe’s team have won the same number (9) of PL matches but drawn five less and lost five more.

The net result of that is five less points, whilst when it comes to goals, it is eight goals more scored so far but ten goals more conceded.

Clear signs for me that Eddie Howe has turned Newcastle United into a more potent attacking force and you wonder just how many less goals might have been conceded this season, if instead of numerous injuries, NUFC had been able to put out that established excellent defensive back five that was the rock last season was built on.

The incredible number of missing players this season overall, throughout the team / squad, simply can’t be ignored when making comparisons to last season. To have only five points less at this point is pretty amazing for me, when you add then the demands of the Champions League on top of the unprecedented number of unavailable players so far this season.

As for the Carabao Cup…

Last season a generous draw saw Newcastle United crawl past League Two Tranmere 2-1, before winning on penalties at home to Palace, followed by an own goal sending United through against Bournemouth at SJP, taking NUFC into the quarter-finals.

This time, a not so generous draw has seen Newcastle United win against all conquering Manchester City at St James’ Park despite Eddie Howe making 10 outfield changes, before then hammering Man U 3-0 at Old Trafford, despite the NUFC Head Coach making eight changes.

Once again now in the quarter-finals and the ‘luck’ of the draw giving us Chelsea away tomorrow night.

In the FA Cup, last season an away game against lower league opposition saw a shock 2-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday as Eddie Howe felt no alternative than to play a much weakened team at Hillsborough, having had Arsenal away (0-0) four days earlier and most importantly, a Carabao Cup semi-final first leg to follow only three days after that FA Cup game, Newcastle going to Southampton and winning 1-0, to set the platform for an eventual 3-1 aggregate win and a final at Wembley.

If Newcastle United get past Chelsea tomorrow, that then sets up a run of games at the start of January which would be 1 January away at Liverpool, 6 January away at Sunderland, then it would be a Carabao Cup semi-final first leg on either 9 January or 10 January.

I think fair to say this Newcastle United is delicately poised.

Just like last season, we approach the new year with no European commitments, but with potential Champions League qualification in our sights for next season’s competition, plus two domestic cup competitions with upcoming matches that could be pivotal moments dictating what the final outcome is this season.

Back in the 2022/23 season, the 17th Premier League match was a very frustrating goalless home draw despite dominating Leeds (see photo above – feels a bit unreal to think Chris Wood was still playing for NUFC as recently as then).

After that St James’ Park game played on New Year’s Eve 2022, Eddie Howe declared:

“2022 has been a great year.

“The team has developed really well.

“We have had some great results.

There are big challenges ahead but we look forward to those.”

Before we see out 2023, Eddie Howe and his Newcastle United team have what looks two very winnable Premier League matches against relegation fighting Luton and Forest, as well as this massive cup game at Chelsea tomorrow.

I think that whatever happens in these remaining days of the year, Eddie Howe will be able to say again, that this (2023) has been a great year.

However, if NUFC can win these remaining three matches of 2023 AND get a kind semi-final draw (other three quarter-finals are Everton v Fulham, Liverpool v West Ham and Port Vale v Middlesbrough) then we should be really looking forward to a 2024 holding all sorts of possibilities.

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