A team rich in Premier League history, it’s hard to envision a Newcastle club who were once the cream of the crop up North, alongside the likes of Manchester and Liverpool. But a new era of football and a lack of club discipline now see’s ‘The Magpies’ in a position where they’re struggling season to season. And 2021 could be their worst 2016.
Newcastle fans have dealt with relegation on two occasions, so the heartbreak will not be a new feeling. With that said, the game is changing and tackling the Championship could prove difficult to prior seasons. Newcastle was fortunate in returning to the Premier League on two occasions in 2009/2010 and 2016/2017, but I doubt a Championship run in 2021/2022 will be this easy unless the club makes some drastic changes.
If you are a Newcastle fan and remain overly optimistic, perhaps the bookmaker’s opinion will give you a reason to start worrying; with Premier League relegation odds of 10/11 on Newcastle, hope is dwindling.
One team that Newcastle should worry about the most is Fulham.
Watching ‘The Cottagers’ take their second positive result from the defending champions (Liverpool) this past weekend left a gut-wrenching feeling amongst Newcastle support. Their late-season comeback is seemingly strong; with a prior laidback attitude a thing of the past, we’re witnessing a transformation of Fulham into somewhat of a defensive machine. And a lot can be said for that same defensive record, allowing just seven goals from their previous ten fixtures.
To put this into perspective, Newcastle has allowed seventeen goals during the same period. But Scott Parker reached the Christmas period, and clearly, he’d had enough. A 1-1 drawn fixture with Liverpool was the turning point, the foundation had been laid for Fulham, and now their performances resemble that of a good Premier League team.
As a betting man, I would not argue putting your money on Fulham to remain in the Premier League for the 2021/2022 season. Scott Parker has found his footing and is stringing results that could prove problematic for teams around them to match. The question is, who will replace ‘The Lilly-Whites’ in the dreaded 18th position place.
I hate to jump the gun, but it’s hard to envision West Brom or Sheffield United making a comeback at this stage, so let us create a hypothetical situation where they’re already relegated. The relegation battle is still very live up until eleventh placed Crystal Palace, followed by Leeds, Wolves, Southampton, Burnley & Brighton.
This leads us to Brighton, a team just one point above Newcastle and a team who can defeat the divisions best on any given weekend. Burnley doesn’t follow the typical trend and style of play, making them a tough squad to read. Newcastle wants to exceed Burnley’s position in the league, always expected to have a rough season, but they still refuse to be relegated year to year, proving everybody wrong. And having lost just one game in their previous seven, I cannot entertain a relegation threat for them.
Possibly the most unfortunate of relegation battlers, Graham Potter’s Brighton squad have seemingly struggled in front of goal. But take a closer look into their statistics and you’ll see incompetence to finish the job. They are 9th in the league for big chances, created 7th for most shots per ninety minutes, and 7th for opportunities missed. With that said, the entertainment value and efforts from the south coasters is never a disappointment, which leads me to believe they’re another team who will prove challenging to have relegated.
With strikers who really cannot score, defenders who are struggling to see the ball, a completely undesirable manager and a club who refuse to spend money, I feel like Newcastle fans are now relying on nothing but hope. Newcastle is lucky to have seven wins this season and tragically should now rely on their mediocre attempts to battle the bottom three. The West Brom fixture was appalling; the fans seem utterly disgraced by Steve Bruce and are just praying for this season to be over.
But poor club decisions do not reflect on the fan-base. Newcastle has been a staple Premier League team. Even though their past relegations, nobody ever saw them as Championship side. Hope is alive, hope is accurate, and hopefully, hope will keep ‘The Toon Army’ Alive.