The race for Europe

Dalglish could help us out
With only ten games to go in the league this season, Newcastle sit in 6th position, higher than any of their doubters, or even most optimistic fans, could have predicted.

A top-five finish would provide guaranteed European football next year, although depending on the F.A Cup finalists, it may yet be that finishing 6th or even 7th would still mean blowing the cobwebs of our passports.

After their mid-week win against Everton, Liverpool are now only two points behind Newcastle, and with the teams to meet on 1st April, will Newcastle be able to hold off the competition and claim 6th spot by the end of the season?

After four games without a win, Newcastle take on Norwich at St James’ Park this weekend. A vital opportunity to get three points and guarantee Liverpool will remain at arms length.

Speaking to Liverpool fans, it would appear that many don’t really care about the league any more. After winning the Carling Cup they have already guaranteed qualification for Europe, and sitting some way off a Champions League spot, it would seem that the F.A Cup is where their priorities lie.

For us, this can only be a good thing. When the teams meet in April it is likely to decide 6th spot, but with games against Chelsea and Manchester City still to come, Newcastle will do well to hold on until the end of the season.

Our remaining games are as follows:

Norwich (h)

WBA (a)

Liverpool (h)

Swansea (a)

Bolton (h)

Chelsea (a)

Stoke (h)

Wigan (a)

Man City (h)

Everton (a)

In our remaining 10 games we play 6 of the current bottom half; games that earlier in the season we would have won at a canter. To remain in the fight for the top 6, points need to be taken at regular intervals between now and the end of the season, something which we have struggled to do in the last few months.

If I had to predict how many points we will get from out remaining games, I would say around 16.

Wins against Norwich, Bolton, Stoke and Wigan; Draws against West Brom, Liverpool, Swansea and Everton; Defeats against Chelsea and Manchester City

16 points would take us to 60 points, which has been enough to finish 6th or higher in four of the last five seasons.

Meanwhile, Liverpool play:

QPR (a)

Wigan (h)

Newcastle (a)

Villa (h)

Blackburn (a)

Fulham (h)

WBA (h)

Norwich (a)

Chelsea (h)

Swansea (a)

Predicting their results, I would have them to get around 19 points, beating QPR, Wigan, Villa, Fulham, West Brom; Drawing against us, Blackburn and Swansea; and only falling to defeat at the hands of Chelsea.

This would put Liverpool on 61 points, finishing one point ahead of us based on my predictions.

Liverpool definitely have the easier of the run-ins, although both Newcastle and Liverpool play two relegation candidates- as everyone knows, come the end of the season form can be turned on its head, as whilst teams at the bottom are fighting for survival, mid table teams have very little to play for.

Hopefully we are able to put together a bit of a run of form, replicating our form from earlier in the season. This, coupled with any complacency from Liverpool, should they choose to focus on the F.A Cup might be enough to secure 6th or 7th, and with it hopefully a Europa League spot.

Of course it is going to end up being the F.A Cup final which decides the fate of us and whether or not we make Europe, but finishing as high up the league as we can should still be a priority.

Howay the lads!

About Ben Johnson

In 3rd year of English degree at Leeds Trinity University. Hoping to go on and do something Sports Journalism related. Breathe NUFC. Follow me on twitter @nufc_blog

47 thoughts on “The race for Europe

  1. I predicted 61 points a while back but that was based on us beating Wolves and 5under1and.

    With that in mind I would revise it down to 57, which should still be plenty for 7th and would mark an excellent season, especially when you consider what some pundits and even fans were predicting back in August! πŸ˜€


  2. I had put us down as a draw against WBA.. odewingie is currently out with a calf injury, if this is still the case when we play then we could scrape a win. he ran us ragged at home this season in the 3-2. Good match for the neutral but it was painful.


  3. Yeah, I don’t think we’ll break the 60 point mark this season and also think we’ll finish in 7th spot. If that gets us Europa footy then brilliant, if not then like TC says, it’s still been a great achievement.
    I think Man City and Man Utd found out that the Europa competition is alot harder than people credit it. If we are lucky enough to get in, the squad will need to look alot different.

    All that aside though, we have to get 3 points from Norwich at the weekend!! We gifted them 3 points earlier in the season with a heavily weaken team and defence that was throw together. Think we need to take those back and would love to see Ba and Cisse among the goals again.


  4. 7th for me I hope. Sunderland’s form worries me, especially as this has gone way past the new manager boost. Couldn’t handle them winning the cup either!

    But I’d be delighted with 7th essentially and would see us move forward again in the summer and improve the squad.


  5. Slightly off topic – I hate Liverpool, I hate their arrogance, I hate Gerrard and I really hate Kenny!! he has a face I wouldn’t tire of punching!!

    Which is a shame coz I’m normally a very loving and caring person 😯 😳 πŸ˜†


  6. i mentioned this subject last night and we have no chance for europe.. we got 22 points in first 10 games this season, then from 11-28 we have taken just 21 points. since the turn of 2012 we have averaged just 1.1 points per game– thats 11 points in our remaining 10 games, that puts us out of euro running and probably about 8th or 9th in the league. It has only been the form of our start that has carried us through as otherwise, based on 2012 levels.. we would have been in relegation dog fight. so i am going for 53-54 points and an 8th/9th slot finish.


  7. Of course we still have a chance for Europe, we are still bloody 6th! Every team goes on a bad run and we have had massive key players missing for us since practically the start of the year. We were unlucky not to grab another point against Arsenal earlier this week, yes they were the better team over 98 mins but not many teams go there and fight tooth and nail like we did!

    3 points against Norwich is vital to keep up though, I will concede we are out of the running if we don’t take maximum points from them.


  8. evil franky… since our massive key players have returned we have gained less points mate.


  9. CC @ 6

    Hard to argue with that really.
    I’m sure we would all love a resurgence, starting with Norwich, that would see us clearly grab Europe.
    But an honest appraisal of our results over the last couple of months and our standard of play recently leaves you wondering if there is any substance to base such hopes upon.


  10. The thing is though, the fact our form has slumped after Saylor went out seems to be no coincidence.

    Can this be correct though… can our form really come down to one man in one position? ❓


  11. Franky I would say that we weren’t unlucky to get nothing from Arsenal.
    More that we were lucky not to get really twatted by them.
    They were miles better than us.
    Our form has been cack for quite a while. Missing players to the ACON didn’t help nor did Cabaye’s ban. That said none of them have been outstanding since they came back, in fact the quality of our play has stayed roughly the same
    Of course we may yet have a resurgence, but at the moment it will appear to arrive out of the blue, as there is nothing to take from the last several matches to suggest a revival is about to occur.


  12. Earlier in the season I predicted we would finish with 52 points and a 7 to 10 position. Won’t be far out , but I would now like a few more points to make sure we’re ahead of the mackems.


  13. Nobby Saylors injury isn’t completely responsible. More like its been the catalyst for a series of problems and weaknesses we have to become more apparent.
    Saylor was playing well so lack of an adequate replacement has cost us.
    Our defence being weakened has also weakened our midfield. Our players that have been playing on the wings already don’t provide enough but they have been playing more defensively again.
    Cabaye also appears to be struggling to get forward enough.
    All of this appears to have effected the confidence with which the players go about their game and our attitude approaching games.


  14. I think we’ll struggle to keep our 6th place spot, so im not so sure we will make it we’re being caught by a few teams below us.
    I am still 100% sure that it all stems from Saylors injury, as our defence was 1 of the strongest in the prem with only man city being better, untill we lost Saylor.


  15. meant to add that considering we have been in the top 6 near all season and even at times we were proudly sitting in the CL spots, it would be a shame not to make it .


  16. In my opinion we had a lot of luck in the unbeaten run at the start of the season. Luck which we aren’t getting now and it’s showing in the results apart from one or two games where we have been outstanding.

    This ‘poor’ run of form is actually how good we are if that makes sense.

    I still feel we can grab 7th and hopefully Europe, but I’ll be honest I wouldn’t fancy us facing teams like Bilbao from last night as we would be destroyed.


  17. Northernpaul are you saying that Saylor and the defence had nowt really to do with it or just thst he was our lucky charm πŸ˜€

    Ice can’t get that on my phone but I don’t think it was down to tiote but I don’t think it helped us, I think we were lucky to get away with being beat by one goal, and Krul has a lot to do with that.


  18. Big Dave:

    No mate, I’m just saying that we didn’t play very well in a few games but managed to win them. Now we don’t play very well in games and don’t win them.

    Don’t get me wrong, there have a been a few great performances as well, but not that many.

    The only current top 7 team we’ve had any joy against was Man U, and that doesn’t happen often. We are not good enough for top 6 in my opinion, and on a par with the teams currently in 15th to 8th, and I think the table will reflect that.

    I sound like I’m having a go, but 7th/8th is still a great season for us. The squad lacks goals, and without Krul, we would be right down the bottom.

    We seriously need to start winning games.


  19. We need a win, definitely – but I think we need to win in style!! all the teams around us have had inspirational wins recently – Chelsea v Napoli, Liverpool v Evertoon (as they will be called this weekend πŸ˜† ) and Arsenal are on a good run.
    I’d like to see us go there and give them a real hiding.


  20. and fall all the i-love-ashley spin that is peddled out on here and by dekka and AP, the simple facts from a fans point of view is we are in more debt now than when he took over, despite spending naff all on players, have had a season kicked out the prem, spent over 20 million on sacked managers, been taken to court over lying by KK (and admitted in court his spins fans a pile of shit to shut them up), become a selling club (Dekka’s own words last week), raise season ticket prices by 9% in one hit, strip out level 7, remove St James park name and replace it with SD Area signs all over our stadium.. which also happen to be in the colour of sunderland colours.. plus god knows how many more balls ups, lies bad PR and fuk ups along the way… i dont think i will ever be able to say i like our owner or what he represents.


  21. next season we will not do as well as this one unless changes are made somewhere, the squad is unbalanced still and it shows. we can thank our lucky stars that we have had the great start we did as otherwise it would be yet another relegation dog fight run-in. Next season we will not be as lucky from the off unless issues are addressed, admitted and rectified. it will be another summer of wheeling and dealing and we know we are loosing one or two big names as dekka has already warned us of that. i just hope that the continued sell big and buy low pays off and we can pull one or two more rabbits out the hat.


  22. Saylor’s injury definitely did us in a bit this season. Willo has been poor and the stats with Staylor in the lineup speak for themselves. Really wish we could have found a CB in January , at least on loan


  23. aye mds….we never had a plan B for either staylor or colo being out the line up… and we still dont despite going through an entire window in january. defence has to be our priority in the window.. thats presuming we keep Ba and Toite… Ba for sure is going to have good offers. i epxect that we may well have yet another newish looking line up for the start of next season. its like a conveyor belt these days.


  24. just heard news from sjp that we have agreed to sell tiote for 23.5 mil and we have signed moussa sissoko for 7.5 mil πŸ˜›


  25. we have just sold goodbye (cabaye) to valencie for 13.75 mil and have signed diame from wigan for free

    coming in summer πŸ˜‰


  26. ben afra should start every game despite his ability to anoy people ❗
    sensible enough 😐


  27. The whole outlook hinges on this weekend’s game. If we tonk them, people will be putting the last 15 games down to a ‘dip’; if we don’t get 3 points they’ll be putting the first 10 games down to a purple patch.

    Something’s definitely lacking, and we don’t seem to have recovered from all the absences yet. Saylor is a huge miss – that defiant spark seems to be missing – but it’s not just that.

    We need the big players to regain their confidence and determination – most notably Ba, Tiote and Cabaye. If they can do that, we could keep ahead of the bindippers.


  28. You are a scouser,
    An ugly scouser,
    You’re only happy on Giro day.
    Your mum’s out thieving,
    Your dad’s drug-dealing,
    So don’t take my hubcaps away.

    Can’t wait for that game. πŸ˜†


  29. nufc blog . com is much much better than this kaka
    people dont know what they are on about


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  31. Ultra – you’re just being annoying now. Please do your stuff on a blog where that kind of stuff is ok. We need one blog not full of juvinile shite.

    (Unless it’s MY juvinile shite, of course. :mrgreen: )


  32. We’ve only had the ‘big hitters’ back since Wolves, but had played 5 league games without them taking 9 points. If we win our next 2 with these players back in then it’ll be 8 points, but it’s no where near as black and white as that. Granted Wolves we properly messed up, but then had a derby which was never going to be easy then an away trip to the Emirates!

    Remember we got walloped 5-2 off Fulham and were lucky against Blackburn without our full team…


  33. Wolves – New manager giving them a lift, fighting for their lives, we switched off.
    Scumberland – Actually performing very well, came with a gameplan that was executed well. Dominated them for about 60 mins.
    Arsenal – What else can you say, we got them when they are hitting end of season form giving their all for 4th spot…at the Emirates. So close to a draw it was unreal.

    Before that…

    QPR – Just utter cack, Leon’s skills saved the day scraping us a 1-0.
    Fulham – Destroyed us.
    Blackburn – Fighting for their lives and probably should have at least drew with us.
    Villa – Amazing debut goal from Cisse saved us.
    Spurs – Embarrassing.

    While we didn’t have the big lads we played 2 teams in a relegation dog fight, 1 mid table team and an excellent Spurs side.

    Since they have been back we have had 1 relegation team, 1 mid-upper table team, and 1 top 4 team…with 2 comfortable mid table teams to play next. Basically we are playing better teams with the lads back than when they were away.


  34. Sorry that should have said…

    ‘While we didn’t have the big lads we played 2 teams in a relegation dog fight, TWO mid table teams and an excellent Spurs side.’


  35. Interesting that the clubs that have been around our position (where we should be if properly managed) seem only interested in champs league qualifcation. Is the Uefa cup, er, Europa league more hassel than it’s worth? just look at Fulham and on thursday the 2 Manchester clubs, (and they are the supposed two superpowers that we can’t get near) what are we gonna gain from getting into the Europa? I just hope we finish above sunderland (coz we have conked out now and can wave goodbye to shytepool lets be honest with each other).


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