There are just eight games left to go in the Premier League this season, and still, Newcastle United’s safety in the top-flight isn’t assured. The board have been playing an online slots type game with the Toon’s fortunes throughout the season, and they will be breathing a huge sigh of relief if their decision to stick with Steve Bruce is vindicated at full-time of the Fulham fixture at the close of the season.
There was a much-improved performance against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, but which parts of that performance should the Magpies take with them into a huge run of fixtures?
Fight And Determination
Most of what the fans ask for isn’t hard to fulfil, as the very least that the Geordie faithful require is fight and determination. There have been too many occasions to count throughout the season where this has been solely missing, with the most recent example that springs to mind being the drubbing that Newcastle got at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion before the international break. That defeat was the very worst of Newcastle, but we were given a glimpse into the best form of the team most recently against Spurs.
When the Toon fell 2-1 behind, it looked as though it would be a case of how many Spurs would score. However, the team stuck together and didn’t stop running throughout, and they got their just deserves with Joe Willock’s equaliser. If Newcastle show the same fight in every fixture between now and the end of the season, then they won’t finish in the bottom three.
One of the most pleasing aspects from the 2-2 draw against Spurs would have been how strong Newcastle were defensively. The Toon didn’t allow Harry Kane much of a chance after falling 2-1 behind, which was a pleasant surprise given that Newcastle had conceded 48 goals heading into the fixture. Only the bottom two in the Premier League have conceded more goals this season, and the battle to avoid relegation could be decided by Newcastle’s defensive record.
There are slim pickings between Newcastle and Fulham when it comes to goal difference, which means every goal conceded could be vital. Defeats could be on the horizon against Manchester City and Liverpool, but making sure they are as narrow as possible is essential.
Callum Wilson’s Fitness
Callum Wilson is by far and away the most dangerous threat that Newcastle have in the opposing box. He has scored ten goals in the league this season, which is double the tally recorded by the next highest. Joelinton’s double against Spurs offers hope.
But, his record of a goal every 0.19 per 90 minutes means that a fully fit Wilson is needed for the run-in. Since the Englishman’s injury against Southampton, the Toon have scored just five goals in seven games. Wilson is reportedly near match-ready, and having the striker back for the game against Burnley this weekend could be the morale-booster that is needed.