NUFC’s next four games crucial to steady the ship – TWO of which look particularly important

After a good start, some reality has been restored with defeats in our last two games. Alarm bells are certainly not ringing, as we knew this would be a tough season and we are still performing above expectations after a disappointing summer.

With takeover talk quiet for now, putting January plans in limbo, Rafa will continue to squeeze what he can from this group of players.

Our next four games would then take us to 15 games played – signalling over a third of our way into the season. By then it usually gives you a really accurate measure of where you sit in the league and what to expect the second half of the season.

Here’s who we have coming up in what looks like a crucial month for NUFC and my thoughts on each of our next four games:

MANCHESTER UNITED (A)

This weekend we face a tough game at Old Trafford. Man United’s form has dipped slightly from their superb start but they remain an excellent team and the power going forward of Lukaku, Rashford and Martial is tough to handle. Lukaku is going through a mini goal drought at club level too so it would be sods law he hits form again against us.

We will no doubt approach the game very cautiously, with Rafa setting up the team pragmatically as ever and making us hard to break down with the aim of frustrating the home crowd. There is always a bit of extra spice when Rafa and Mourinho meet after their Liverpool/Chelsea battles too. I think we may put up more of a fight than people expect but being realistic getting anything from this game would be a massive bonus.

PredictionMan United 2 – 0 Newcastle

WATFORD (H)

It looks though as highly regarded Hornets boss Marco Silva will still be in the Watford dugout for this one, despite being chased by Everton. Watford have won plaudits for their excellent start this season and have done as well as anyone outside the big six arguably. They are dangerous going forward and their star performer has been the talented young Brazilian Richarlison who looks a real player on the left wing. Him and the good form or Pereyra on the right side have added an extra dimension to their play, with less reliance on Troy Deeney – who will actually miss this one through suspension.

We’ll need to be as resolute as ever to stop what seems like a free-spirited and confident Watford this season, but they are pretty poor at the back and do concede goals. Dropped to the bench this season, it may see a return for Daryl Janmaat, who is another who left NUFC to find struggles and limited game time elsewhere.

Should we lose on Saturday, this will be a massive game for us to get back on track – but it won’t be easy.

PredictionNewcastle 1 – 1 Watford

WEST BROM (A) 

By the time we travel to the Hawthorns, a lot could have changed. If we fail to win either of our next two, the pressure will start to be on with us probably sliding down the table. On the other side, it may well be that current Baggies boss Tony Pulis may not even be at the club, with strong rumours that their Chinese owners have seen enough.

A big game for both teams, who could be in and around the same places in the table come May. West Brom didn’t build on their good start last season and have had a poor 2017. Both teams are solid, but struggle going forward.

We have some good memories at the Hawthorns, such as that Perez Flick or a great goal from Hatem Ben Arfa there a few years ago. We need some of the same this time – it would be massive to get three points here and I have a feeling we will.

Prediction WBA 1 – 2 Newcastle

CHELSEA (A)

This chunk of games finishes with a daunting trip to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea aren’t quite the team they were when they ran away with the league last season but they are still a fantastic side with some outstanding players.

The usual suspects of Hazard, Morata and Pedro will be tough to keep off the scoresheet. Like any away performance, we will go there to frustrate the opposition and hold out for a draw but I fear for us with this one; barring the Cisse game of a years back we have an abysmal record at Chelsea.

Prediction Chelsea 3 – 1 Newcastle.

This would leave us with 4 points and 18 points from 15 games played, which is on track to break the magic 40 point mark. The key games are the middle two against Watford and WBA where we need to get 4 points really, so we can relax into the other two games against the big teams, giving us a free swing.

What points haul are you expecting from our next four games?

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

43 thoughts on “NUFC’s next four games crucial to steady the ship – TWO of which look particularly important

  1. 4 points sounds alright to me. Can’t see any more than that and less is definitely possible. Anyone heard anything about Merino lately? We could do with him back because I read somewhere Rafa’s losing patience waiting for Hayden to reach his potential. He’s not a good DM and his forays forward rarely come to anything. The door (heaven forbid) could swing wide open to Diame.

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  2. kimtoon:
    Don’t see much change out of the next four games, reckon it could be as low as 1 point from the baggies game.

    I fear the same mate,but Ime hoping not

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  3. One decent thing I’ve heard is the FA have been told that there is going to be a change of owner,God hope I haven’t been sold a duffer story,Ime keeping everything crossed

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  4. Hope we see the Mad Serb at Man U. Going with a 1-1. This is how I would line up but I have no idea what Rafa will do, and assuming Elliot is over his bereavement.

    Elliot

    Yedlin Lascelles Lejeune Mbemba

    Shelvey Hayden

    Ritchie Gayle Atsu

    Nutter

    I don’t see why Gayle can’t play in the hole and if we do what we have done recently and hoof it out from the goalie then I would much rather see the Mad Serb up there than Joselu. If he gets sent off he gets sent off and not many of us expect much from the game anyway.

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  5. I don’t know if this a good or bad omen but Man U have only taken 4 points and scored 2 goals in their last 4 games. Correct me if I am wrong but I think we have taken 4 points and scored 3 goals in our last 4.

    So, obviously we are the form team as long as you do not count the quality of opposition 🙂

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  6. If I was the new owner of NUFC I would make it my mission to make the club stand out from the crowd – be different – attract new fans and be famous for something. Firstly I would give every season ticket holder for the last ten consecutive years a free season ticket for the next two years. Then I’d give season ticket holders for the last five consecutive years a free season ticket for next season. I’d then start a major charity. A bit like the NUFC foundation but on a massive scale. I’d basically start it in Newcastle and then roll it out on the home continent of the financial backer of the club. I’d guarantee to donate £5m for every cup the club won. Culminating in a £20m donation if we won the CL.

    Just a start to make us stand out.

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  7. I always thought A Carroll was a bit short in the brain department,but to name your new born son “wolf nine” blows my mind

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  8. Icedog:
    I always thought A Carroll was a bit short in the brain department,but to name your new born son “wolf nine” blows my mind

    His son is gonna hate him for that 🙂

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  9. Icedog:
    I always thought A Carroll was a bit short in the brain department,but to name your new born son “wolf nine” blows my mind

    😆 😆 😆 been in Laandon too long me thinks.

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  10. Icedog:
    I always thought A Carroll was a bit short in the brain department,but to name your new born son “wolf nine” blows my mind

    Come on ..your name is Ice Dog and your young fella is Ice Pup… bit harsh on Carroll there mate! ????

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  11. Not looking forward to the Ashes. I think there is a real possibility that England will not win a game. Not sure about the World Cup though. The only player I know is Mooy. Be interesting if they draw England as the Aussies really like to stick it the Poms.

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  12. Eric Sykes:
    Not looking forward to the Ashes. I think there is a real possibility that England will not win a game. Not sure about the World Cup though. The only player I know is Mooy. Be interesting if they draw England as the Aussies really like to stick it the Poms.

    I’m going for Perth, Melbourne and Sydney tests. Just hope it’s not 2-0 by then. Pretty sure it will be a good series. Both sides inconsistent – brilliant one match, terrible the next. Could be a 3-2 either way.

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  13. A lot of clutching at straws re the takeover. We actually know nothing yet that comes near to reality. Stavely was at a game but has said nothing publically. Nobody else has commented at all.
    Rafa will have some money in Jan. How much is anybody’s guess. It always is but we’re absolutely desperate for a striker and relegation looms if we don’t get one.

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  14. Stuart79: I’m going for Perth, Melbourne and Sydney tests. Just hope it’s not 2-0 by then. Pretty sure it will be a good series. Both sides inconsistent – brilliant one match, terrible the next. Could be a 3-2 either way.

    My worry about England is they lost 2 allrounders in Stokes and Moen for at least 2 games. Then I saw that the Aussies have changed 6 of their squad and they also have very injury prone quicks so who knows. Everybody except McGrath is going for a close series but then he admitted he always goes for 5-0.

    Give Piers Morgan a kick in the balls for me. That over in the nets against Brett Lee was one of the funniest things I have seen. All of the retired players praised him for his courage, how about slating him for his stupidity. Lee is one of the fastest bowlers of all time and was still playing at the time.

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  15. Tosun dad (who is also his agent) flew to England to hold talks with toon reps about transfer of his son,hope talks went well

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  16. Icedog:
    Tosun dad (who is also his agent) flew to England to hold talks with toon reps about transfer of his son,hope talks went well

    Good news

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  17. So Lascelles, Merino and Atsu all out tomorrow. In other news, Pogba, Zlatan and Rojo all back for Man Utd. 😳

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  18. Forgot to say why was every single light on at SJP last night the whole place was lit up,my only thought was do the new owners want to see it lit up? or is it just me making my mind dream

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  19. Icedog:
    Tosun dad (who is also his agent) flew to England to hold talks with toon reps about transfer of his son,hope talks went well

    beautiful!

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  20. Saying Zlatan and Pogba are ready is probably a Mourinho bluff. Maybe as subs to come on for the last 15 minutes especially if they are 2 up. It is really difficult to have any confidence about tomorrow even though they are not in the best of form.

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  21. Eric Sykes:
    Saying Zlatan and Pogba are ready is probably a Mourinho bluff. Maybe as subs to come on for the last 15 minutes especially if they are 2 up. It is really difficult to have any confidence about tomorrow even though they are not in the best of form.

    Eric – it’s difficult to see a win but equally I don’t fear a drubbing. I don’t think we will get many under Rafa. Maybe City but who aren’t they drubbing. Man Utd not in the best form either. Big ask but a point wouldn’t be totally unsurprising.

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