Two months into the season and and we sit second bottom, with just two points on the board after six defeats and two draws across our opening eight games.
It’s been a worrying start – with so few positives to take – however there were signs of life for the first time this season during Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Manchester United.
It was a devastating defeat in the end, but there were several positives to take – and this could be key heading into what is an incredibly generous run of fixtures; starting with Brighton at St James’ Park next Saturday.
After facing FIVE top six sides in our opening EIGHT games, we are due a ‘winnable’ run of fixtures and we’ve got exactly that from next week onwards – with us playing no top 6 team and just three sides in the current top half in our next 10 games between now and Christmas:
There’s no easy game in the Premier League when you’re struggling, but this is about as generous as fixtures are going to get.
Brighton at home a week on Saturday is followed by an away trip to fellow strugglers Southampton, with us then facing back to back home games against Watford and Bournemouth over the first two weekends of November.
Then it’s Burnley away (a team that look a shadow of the side that finished 7th last season), followed by a run of West Ham at home, Everton away and Wolves at home – with those three fixtures perhaps representing the toughest run we’ll have between now and Boxing day.
Finally, in the build up to Christmas we play bottom of the table Huddersfield and then host Fulham at St James’ Park on the 22nd December – a side that have conceded more goals than anyone else so far this season.
Our fate isn’t realistically decided by Christmas, but with 30 games left and around 10 wins (or more) needed to get to that 40 point mark, these next 10 games are going to be absolutely pivotal.
This point is emphasised when you see the fixtures we have from December 26th onwards. I don’t expect us to pick up a great deal of points given these are the fixtures after the Fulham game on December 22nd:
Aside from Cardiff at home, you can’t see us getting a great deal of points from these eight fixtures, emphasising the importance of us getting our season underway with a win against Brighton and kicking on while the fixtures are generous over these next few months.
Finally, here’s our fixtures for the final few months of the season after the away trip to Wolves on February 9th.
A generous run, with us only facing TWO of the league’s top six in our final 12 games, however the damage may be done by then if we can’t get points on the board in the next few months.
The Brighton game is massive next Saturday. Win and we’ll be heading into games with Southampton and Watford full of confidence, but lose and our fragile confidence levels would be in tatters.
If your average fan were to make any football tips today, they’d struggle to see past us going down given our start to the season, however things could change very quickly IF we finally click ahead of this winnable run of games – starting with Brighton next Saturday.