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Opinion

Light at end of the tunnel – Newcastle United now ready for big push

1 month ago
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As you may be aware, Newcastle United have been going through a bit of a rough patch.

These last six weeks seeing eight defeats in ten games, in all competitions.

One of the massive positives during this period, has been the response of Newcastle United fans.

I know you see the predictable attention seekers online BUT I haven’t seen any normal / real fan that seriously thinks the response to these results, is for Eddie Howe to leave Newcastle United. This is certainly the case with all NUFC supporters I personally come into contact with.

Whilst nobody is happy when losing so many matches, a general acceptance that no other manager could have done a better job in dealing with this set of pretty unique circumstances at our club. To have so many matches in quick succession and so many players unavailable game after game, we have then seen fine margins / bad luck also repeatedly go against us.

For sure, I don’t believe the level of performances has equalled eight defeats in these last ten games.

Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and get through this kind of period where everything goes against you. If you believed Eddie Howe was the right man for Newcastle United ahead of this season, why would you suddenly be so fragile that you would think otherwise?

Eddie Howe is the key person when it comes to the solution to emerging from this bad run of results, he isn’t a key part of the problem.

I can see light at the end of the tunnel and Newcastle United ready to make a big push.

Here are a few previous big pushes of Premier League form with Eddie Howe at Newcastle United:

22 January to 10 March 2022

Played 7 Won 6 Drawn 1 Lost 0 With 19 points from a possible 21 (Averaging 2.71 points per game)

1 October to 26 December 2022

Played 9 Won 8 Drawn 1 Lost 0 With 25 points from a possible 27 (Averaging  2.77 points per game)

12 March to 30 April 2023

Played 9 Won 8 Drawn 0 Lost 1 With 24 points from a possible 27 (Averaging 2.66 points per game)

16 September to 2 December 2023

Played 10 Won 7 Drawn 2 Lost 1 With 23 points from a possible 30 (Averaging 2.30 points per game)

That initial recovery under Eddie Howe after coming in after the takeover and inheriting a desperate situation, also saw him pick up 12 wins and 37 points in total in the final 18 PL games of the 2021/22 season, only Man City and Liverpool picking up more points than NUFC in that time. Newcastle averaging 2.05 points per game over that run of 18 PL matches.

Coming back up to date, I think there are already real positives emerging since moving into 2024 and of course the team have to up their game further and certainly find consistency, however, I think there is a real chance to now have a real go in these last four months of this Premier League season.

This is how the Premier League table now looks on Monday morning:

As you can see, 11 points off top four and five points off top six.

Newcastle United just need to do their own thing, get one of those Eddie Howe runs going and then see where we are at the end of the season.

Last season, it took 62 points to get top six.

Whilst this season there is a very good chance that fifth place in the Premier League will give Champions League qualification, 67 points saw Liverpool in fifth last season.

Using those totals as ballpark figures, in their last 17 PL matches, Eddie Howe’s side would need 33 and 38 points respectively to match those last season totals. we are basically talking about averaging two points or better in the remaining games to get amongst that. Eddie Howe has time after time put these kind of runs of results together.

Obviously we need some players coming back, but for me, I think we are showing real signs of recent improvement at the back and front ends. Eddie Howe finally has his first choice back four in place again despite the scoreline, I thought the defence looked back to something like their best against Man City, whilst against the Mackems they strolled through the game. I think the front three are looking a real threat and with now seven goals in the last three games from the team, including two goals against both Liverpool and Man City. More than that though, I think NUFC are now creating far more chances in these recent games, even when not having too much possession or indeed control of matches.

Key to our attack and indeed our chances overall in the rest of the season, is Alexander Isak staying on the pitch.

Alexander Isak Goal Celebration Newcastle

IMAGO/Offside Sports Photography

I honestly don’t think there is a better striker in the Premier League and his five goals in these last four games (all competitions) is telling me that he can fire us up the table for sure. A great finish from Anthony Gordon as well on Saturday, even though playing on the wing, he is now joint tenth highest scorer in the Premier League and doesn’t take penalties.

Newcastle United of course still need to grasp the chance BUT in these remaining Premier League fixtures there is real opportunity.

Once we get Villa away and January out of the way, Newcastle will have played all the top three home and away.

Of the 16 PL games from February onwards, of those currently in the top six of the table, we have the following fixtures remaining:

Arsenal away, Tottenham and West Ham at home.

Whilst in those last 16 PL games, Newcastle United have all ten teams in the bottom half still to play.

I am taking nothing for granted but I do think that if we all stick together, Eddie Howe and his players along with the fans, then even with fair luck and fine margins, Newcastle United could finish this season really strongly.

Averaging two points in each of the remaining 17 PL games would take Newcastle United up to 63 points and I think that has to be the target. Then where we end up in the table will all depend on how results elsewhere work out.

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