After a difficult start and battle to win over an understandably frustrated Newcastle fanbase, it’s fair to say Steve Bruce has done a brilliant job so far.
A draw against City and back-to-back wins over Sheffield Utd and Southampton has sent us 7 clear of the drop zone, with us now just 2 points behind Man Utd in 5th.
We’ve not always played well, but we’re picking up points and are starting to look up after fearing for so long that we were destined to go down.
Here’s a closer look at our fixtures as we enter the busy festive period:
Burnley (A) Saturday 14th December (3pm)
Burnley have been a funny team this season. They’re solid at home, beating the likes of Norwich, Southampton, Everton and West Ham to nil at Turf Moor, yet have shipped a fair few goals on the road, losing 3-0 to Sheffield United last month and being hammered 5-0 at Spurs on Saturday.
We did the double over them last season and are the form side, but I fancy this one to be a tight draw – especially when we’ll have to do without Saint-Maximin’s spark on the break.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Newcastle
Crystal Palace (H) Saturday 21st December (3pm)
Anyone betting on football may see this as a routine home win, but Palace are deceptively good on the road, with only Liverpool and Man City taking more points away from home this year.
I think they may get the better of us here, even if we’ve had a decent record at home against the Eagles recently.
Prediction: Newcastle 0-1 Crystal Palace
Man Utd (A) Thursday 26th December (5.30pm)
Who knows what Man Utd side will turn up ahead of our trip to Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
They’ll be looking for revenge after our 1-0 win in October and have looked better since Anthony Martial’s return, but we’ll be quietly confident of getting a result here.
Prediction: Man Utd 2-2 Newcastle
Everton (H) Saturday 28th December (3pm)
With Marco Silva sacked, Everton showed real signs of improvement over the weekend, beating Chelsea comfortably at Goodison Park.
They’ve got some good players, but are there to be got at defensively and awful from set pieces, also lacking cutting edge in attack considering how much money they’ve spent.
There’ll be no Ayoze Perez hat-trick this time, but I fancy us to take all three points here.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Everton
Leicester (H) Wednesday 1st January (3pm)
Brendan Rodger’s side look capable of breaking the top 4 this season, never mind the top 6, and have been superb on the road this season, scoring goals for fun and keeping it tight at the back.
We competed well against them in the Carabao Cup but were abysmal in a 5-0 league defeat in Leicester. I don’t see it being quite as convincing for them this time, but think we’ll start 2020 with a defeat here.
Prediction: Newcastle 0-2 Leicester
So, with those fixtures and our predictions in mind, we could take 5 points from our next 5, leaving us on a potential tally of 27 points heading into 2020.
How do you see us getting on over the festive period?