Mid-season expectations

Have your expectations changed?
Looking at our recent defeat at Man City, who currently are, in my opinion anyway, the toughest opposition in the league, I was impressed by the team as a whole.

What impresses me even more is that the fact that even if we fail to pick up any points in our next two fixtures against Manchester United and Chelsea, we would still have had a remarkable start to the season – far better than any Toon fan could have expected.

This has got me thinking about just where Newcastle will be standing in the league table when we reach the half way mark of the season. After some tough matches ahead, and a very congested fixture list around the December period, the true strength of the Premier League squads will start to show.

Our December fixture list looks as follows:

Man United (a), Chelsea (h), Norwich (a), Swansea (h), West Brom (h), Bolton (a), and Liverpool (a)

Assuming we only picked up a total of seven points from those fixtures, that would see us on a points tally of 32 points for the first half (19 games) of the season.

Nobody can then say we haven’t really been tested, because we would have played everyone in the league!

Now considering our target realistically should be to finish “the best of the rest”, (so in seventh), what would our competitors have to achieve in their fixtures to keep up the chase.

At the moment, our nearest rivals for that position are Aston Villa, who are currently 10 points adrift. So hypothetically, in order for them to be above us come January, they would need to accumulate 17 points from their seven fixtures, those include:

Swansea (a), Man United (h), Bolton (a), Liverpool (h), Arsenal (a), Stoke (a) and Chelsea (a)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see them getting anywhere near 17 points from those fixtures. Perhaps nine points at best, which would still see them eight points adrift.

Next on the list of competitors is big spending QPR who no doubt will invest again in January. There next seven fixtures are:

Norwich (a), West Brom (h), Liverpool (a), Man United (a), Sunderland (h), Swansea (a), Arsenal (a)

Here I can see QPR picking up a maximum of 12 points. Again, I’m being generous, but even with that, they would still be five points adrift.

Next up is West Brom. They are a solid side, as most Roy Hodsgon sides are, but a side we really shouldn’t be too worried about. Regardless, their fixtures look like this:

Tottenham (h), QPR (a), Wigan (h), Blackburn (a), Newcastle (a), Man City (h), Everton (h)

Again generously, I’m going to say West Brom could probably pick up around nine points from these fixtures, leaving them remaining nine points behind us.

Looking at the rest of the teams below us, I just can’t see Swansea or Norwich becoming a threat, with small squads and little recent Premier League experience in their squad, I can only see them falling lower down the table.

Our only two remaining threats then come in the form of Everton and Stoke. I don’t see Sunderland at any stage making up a 14 point gap with their squad.

So lets look at Everton. Perennial late bloomers, they again have suffered a slow start, but history tells us, they should improve as the season goes on. Currently 12 points behind us, their next seven fixtures look like this:

Bolton (a), Stoke (h), Arsenal (a), Norwich (h), Swansea (h), Sunderland (a), West Brom (a)

Continuing the trend of generosity, I’m going to give Everton a maximum of 14 points from these fixtures, which would see them at best five points behind us.

Finally, our last genuine threat comes in the way of Stoke. Stoke were probably seen as the team to push up the table this year after some big spending, but as things stand, they are 13 points behind us, with their next seven fixtures being:

Blackburn (h), Everton (a), Tottenham (h), Wolves (a), Man City (a), Aston Villa (h), Wigan (h)

I’m going to go with them getting a maximum of 12 points from those games, which still leaves them a fair distance of right points behind my projected minimum points total at the half way point in the season for Newcastle.

I realise that might be a lot to take in and leave people a lot of working out to do so I guess the easiest way of showcasing it is to put it in a table showing just what the mini-league for the ‘best of the rest’ would look like given the results that I’ve afforded each team.

Team Played Points
Newcastle 19 32
QPR 19 27
Everton 19 27
Aston Villa 19 24
Stoke 19 24
West Brom 19 23

If we could pick up a few surprise results at big clubs and our competitors don’t fair as well as I’ve given them credit for, that table could very likely look even better.

Also with it being very likely that one of the top six clubs will be lifting the League and FA Cup competitions, then seventh place could well be good enough for an automatic Europa Cup place.

Where do you think we will be placed in the league as we head into 2012 and after the start we have made, what is your minimum expectation for Newcastle in the league this season?

[poll id=”50″]

About JJ

Toon supporter since 1993. Living in South Africa. I've been following Newcastle since the days of Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley. Despite all the turmoil recently, the passion only grows with time.

63 thoughts on “Mid-season expectations

  1. Really good write up. I think you’re dead on with most of those predictions tbh maybe a tincey bit harsh with us as I think we may pick a few more points BUT I always think it’s sensible to be reserved with our predictions


  2. 32 points would be an incredible achievement halfway through the season. However, I would be a little disappointed if we only managed 7 points from the next 7 games.


  3. Spot on with the assessment. Villa are definitely ‘realistically’ our closest rivals on paper. I really feel that just 7 points out of all those fixtures is to few, we’re as good away as at home and I’d expect 10-12 however ludicrous a total for mid way that gives us.


  4. Interesting read JJ, I think Everton will be the closest to us after these fixtures, Stoke’s Europa league adventure will take it’s tole and they won’t mount a challenge I don’t think. Also with Villa I think the animosity between the fans and the manager will get too much and they will start to slide down the table.


  5. great great write up JJ. I think it would be hard for anyone to pick holes in what you have said. i see us as 6th at best to 10th at very worst, defo a top 10 for us though unless we do a self inflicted job in jan and sell on toite and or colo, crashing morale etc etc…. lets hope not.


  6. …quite confident of 6th to 8th, maybe higher, but on 3 provisions –

    1. We don’t have 3 or more key players injured for a sizeable chunk, at the same time (especially defence).
    2. We don’t sell Tiote, or Colo (especially) in January.
    3. We bring in another striker and defender in January, with no departures.

    Easy. Take note Fatboy.


  7. I put a comment up a few days ago saying prem would be a two tier league after 19 games with us in the top tier of 7 clubs , with a gap of 10-12 to Everton leading the second tier.

    I’m sticking with that prediction!


  8. I don’t believe Liverpool are as strong as some Liverpool believe.
    Likewise, Chelsea aren’t the force they were.

    Man City
    Man Utd
    Toon 😯


  9. Tiote out of the ManU game…I’m really worried his heads been turned by these Chelsea rumours as mentioned on here the other day πŸ™


  10. Man United (a) lose, Chelsea (h) win, Norwich (a)draw, Swansea (h) win, West Brom (h) win, Bolton (a) lose, and Liverpool (a) lose

    thats 10 points in december for me !! that will take us to 35 points which is fantastic


  11. Rich – Still a few left? Really 😯

    Mind you I only read the headline on the club site and not the full article πŸ˜•


  12. Toonsy about 5 and one will still be reserved for a minute or 2 more cos I clicked on it 😳 πŸ™„ πŸ˜†


  13. Rich – Those will be the cheap seats where you sit on a strangers lap for the match πŸ˜†

    They best not sit on mine or they may get more than they bargained for 😈


  14. ive just had a look at newcastles results from last season and from the 15th feb til 1st may we picked up 6 points!!!! that is really bad!!

    it just makes you think how much further up the league we would have been if we picked up a few more wins last season


  15. Toonsy… or next to a “special friend πŸ˜† the one I reserved was the Strawberry corner 😯

    Witters…but are you saying he’s faking an injury?….at the end of the day, last season Chelsea were better than they are this, we are better this season than last, the same rumours were flying about then and he didn’t let it bother him …….oh and change that avatar, plleeeaase πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜†


  16. toonsy
    November 25, 2011 at 14:25

    Army – You can watch if you like?

    watch u shag a bloke? ner thanks buddy πŸ˜†


  17. richietoon
    November 25, 2011 at 14:23

    Army….a win on the last game of the season instead of the draw would have had us 9th

    exactly , iif we won every game in december we would have the same amount of pts as we had all last season πŸ˜† , doubt we will pick up 21 points in 7 games tho haha , 10 points i would say


  18. is the gallowgate end on the east corner good seats?? thats where im sitting for the chelski match , i havent a clue , i only go to about 5 ganes a seasin from being so skint 😐


  19. Army 69 said ….. “it just makes you think how much further up the league we would have been if we picked up a few more wins last season”.

    Well if we hadn’t given up that 3 goal lead against WBA on the last day of the season we would have finished 8th rather than 12th. That’s the difference 2 points would have made. I think that 12th place is one of the reasons for the negative pre season comments. Had we finished in 8th in our first season back I suspect those predictions might have been rather different. There again …… (thinking of Lawro) πŸ™„


  20. Great write up! Really exciting stuff for us this year!

    Anyone else think that Gosling starting tomorrow will be better for us than Guthrie? The lad has tons of energy and loves having a pop at goal. I just hope he can do the defensive side as well


  21. see they have changed the ref at the last minute,fergie never liked dowd,jones now in charge,i smell a rat πŸ‘Ώ


  22. Alright chaps.. so is Tiote definately out for tomorrow or what??

    I’d like to see us line up as follows:


    Simpson Colo Saylor Santon
    Obertan Cabaye Tiote Jonas

    Seems a tad harsh on Raylor but little room for sentiment here. He’s proved he’s a valuable member of our squad, but isn’t a long term solution. Saying that, perhaps Santon ain’t either. Grooming Santon for RB spot when Simpson deal doesn’t happen? Back in for Pieters in Jan for LB? Sounds good to me.

    Gutted Chelsea is sold out, its going to be the first home game i’ve missed in 3 years πŸ™



  23. Archie…online it still shows 1 ticket in Bar 1892 as available for Β£51 …..tho it’ll show as unavailable for the next 8 minutes as I clicked on it πŸ™„ πŸ˜‰


  24. Andrew.. Gosling to start? I don’t see it mate, thought he stood out as our worst player against Everton and was lucky not to give away a pen which may have seen us drop 2 points. Just don’t get what this kid is about at the minute like, he’s willing and looks like a grafter, but Guthrie has shown in recent weeks he’s a superior footballer in my opinion.


  25. Archie…unfortunately I live in Spain, I was just checking if any were leftso it should be “unreserved” now if you want it. πŸ˜€


  26. Guthrie over Gosling for me, he’s shown he can do a good job there, I still think Gosling is finding his way back…..though Guthrie is carrying an injury apparently πŸ™


  27. I think it’ll be Benny, he’s in the chair at the moment…….and ya on the wrong thread Army πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜†


  28. I never expect but always hope and my hope is for a Europa spot and I don;t think it’s out of the realms of possibility either.

    I would hope for a miraculous champions league spot but I won;t over do it at this present time πŸ˜€


  29. I think 7 points will defo be a disappointing return, with those fixtures we have to be looking at least 9-12 points in my opinion.
    That said, when do we loose our African lads to the Cup of Nations?
    How we cope during that time will impact our season, I know it’s only Ba and Tiote but they’re our better players this season.
    We have been very fortunate with injuries so far as well so I think 6th wld be a great season – 8th realistic.
    We have a very good first team but we need a squad to cope with Europe and when you look at how Stoke are struggling this season, I just wouldn’t want to rush it and end up going backwards


  30. Sharpy17….you might find that our games in January are against teams which we would hope to hold our own against, with or without Tiote and Ba.

    Although all Prem League games are tough, I reckon we can get something from those games, it would be much worse if we were up against one of the top 6 clubs. I think we’ve been lucky this year with the fixture list, and hopefully the ANC won’t affect us too much.


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