Connect with us

Sports

The nightmare before, during and after Christmas: Just HOW difficult will December be for the Magpies?

Published

on

Credit: @NUFC instagram - the Magpies face an extremely tough festive period...

Newcastle remain winless heading into the busy December period and are in desperate need of improvement on the pitch, having picked up just 7 points from a possible 42 this campaign.

Summary

The Magpies find themselves six points from safety following their disappointing 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Norwich and have the worst defensive record in the division, shipping a total of 30 goals so far this season.

Howe’s side face six important games in 27 days before the January transfer window and will require some outstanding performances if they are to give themselves a chance of maintaining their Premier League status come May.

With the expectation that the team from Tyneside will spend big in the transfer window, it’s vital they pick up a collect a decent tally of points to give the fresh talent a chance of survival. 

Credit: @NUFC instagram

The most important game is the battle with fellow relegation candidates Burnley on Saturday at St James’ Park and is a must-win for both sides.

Newcastle can ill afford another disappointing display and must not lose any more ground in their fight for safety. Dyche’s side currently sit 2 points ahead of the Magpies in 19th position and have two games in hand.

The failure to gain points on the Canaries on Tuesday evening means that Howe’s side are going to have to pull off a number of Christmas miracles in the next six games. This was made even worse by Leeds’ later winner from the penalty spot in the other game on the night.

Newcastle’s home record leaves a lot to be desired. SJP has proven a difficult venue and the Magpies face four testing games on home turf in December, including the visits of both Manchester clubs either side of Christmas Day. 

Newcastle travel to the King Power Stadium to face a Leicester side in desperate need of improvement given their slow start to the campaign. Everton away on the 30th December ends the nightmare run of fixtures for the Toon. 

Here is how the Premier League table looks heading into the season defining December fixture list: 

Howe’s side face two of the current top four, two underperforming sides in Man Utd and Leicester as well as difficult games against fellow strugglers Everton and Burnley – making up their upcoming fixture list.

But realistically, what is the best Newcastle can hope for from their festive fixture list?

The Fixtures 

(H, 4TH DEC) 

Burnley often provide a stern test of their opponent’s steel and the game on Saturday will be no different. Dyche sets his team up to be hard to beat as they often carry a physical threat in attacking areas. 

Striker Chris Wood will be hoping Newcastle have another shaky defensive performance come 3pm and will be looking to bully the Magpies’ second rate outfit. 

It’s likely that Jamaal Lascelles will return to the starting eleven for this one in replacement of suspended Ciaran Clark, with many hoping that Federico Fernandez takes his position instead. Howe is expected to keep the same system for the visit of The Clarets and will hope it lasts longer than eight minutes.

Newcastle have faced Burnley over one-hundred times in the 116 year history between the two sides – winning on 45 occasions. The side from Lancashire have won 44, with 11 games ending in a draw – a close contest to call. 

The most recent meeting between the sides came early in the season at SJP where the visitors came away winners courtesy of their penalty shoot-out win in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

However, It will be a very different game on Saturday as Newcastle must claim the spoils if they are to give themselves any chance of reaching safety by the end of the season. 

SCORE PREDICTION: NUFC 2-1 Burnley 

(A, 12TH DEC) 

The Foxes have had a disappointing start to the campaign, sitting in 10th position after thirteen games and failing to win in eight of their league games so far.

Rodger’s side have been in poor form at the King Power and will be hoping that their results improve before the visit of the Mags in just over ten days time.

Leicester smashed relegation candidates Watford 4-2 last time out and face bottom half Southampton and Aston Villa in the next two games before the battle with the team in Black and White.

Jamie Vardy is in fine goalscoring form following his brace at the weekend and is the second highest scorer in the Premier League, netting on nine occasions this season.

To everyone’s surprise, Newcastle came out 4-2 winners in the previous meeting between the sides but before that, the Foxes won four consecutive games against the Mags and many pundits will be expecting a similar outcome on 12th December. 

There are currently eleven points between the two sides – Rodgers’ side having a game in hand.

SCORE PREDICTION: Leicester 2-2 NUFC

(A, 16th DEC)

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are many people’s favourites to claim the Premier League crown come the end of the season and their form this season shows why. They are currently third in the table and have lost just once this season, away to West Ham last month.

Mo Salah is in ridiculous form and is the current Premier League top scorer with 11 goals to his name, just five less than the whole of the Newcastle squad this season. With the return of man-mountain Virgil Van Dijk at the back it’s hard to see they visitors troubling the scorers in this one. 

The difference in quality between the two sides is outrageous – the recent head-to-head record highlights just how dominant the Reds have been in this fixture. Liverpool are unbeaten against the Mags since 2015, where the home side came out 2-0 winners at SJP thanks to a 90+3 minute goal from Gini WIjnaldum who enjoyed spells at both sides.

Liverpool haven’t lost a league game against the Magpies at Anfield since 1994 and this has very little chance of changing come the fixture in mid-December – it could be backs to the wall job for Howe’s side.

SCORE PREDICTION: Liverpool 3-0 NUFC 

(H, 19th DEC)

Second placed Manchester City travel to St James’ Park in a couple of weeks and will be hoping to be Premier League leaders come the 19th December.

Guardiola’s side have failed to find the goalscoring form of previous seasons but have been no less clinical when it comes to winning games this season.

They are the third highest scorers in the Premier League, but may face injury challenges with boss Pepe claiming this week that they face a ‘crises’ with just fourteen first-team players available for selection. An absolute joke considering the difference in quality between the two sides.

Unfortunately for the Mags, Man City’s third team would probably give them a game at this current moment but fans will be hoping there are not many more years of misery as their side have been outclassed on a number of occasions in recent meetings with the Blues. 

However, the Magpies have enjoyed a decent home record against the visitors in recent times, unbeaten on two occasions in the previous five meetings. Many Toon supporters will be hoping for a transformation of their club, similar to that of Man City and look towards better times in the future. 

But for now, all eyes turn towards the challenging December run faced by the Magpies and will be hoping for Christmas surprise in this one. 

SCORE PREDICTION – NUFC 1-3 Man City 

(H, 27th DEC)

Newcastle face a Manchester United side in mixed form who have plenty of time to find momentum under their new interim manager Ralf Rangnick before they travel North to face Newcastle. 

Rangnick was previously linked with the Director of Football role at St. James’ Park before his move to Manchester on a six-month contract. His side have struggled in recent years on Tyneside, despite coming out 4-1 winners in the last meeting and winning the last four games between the sides. The Magpies won consecutive games at home against the Red Devils a number of seasons back, claiming a 1-0 victory on both occasions in 2018 and 2019 respectively. 

The role of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been a major talking point at Old Trafford but having scored twice on his Premier League return against the Mags back in September he will be confident he can bolster his tally under the lights on 27th December. 

The home side will be hoping they can pull off a Christmas miracle in this one – stranger things have happened. Man Utd have struggled against sides who have attacked them from the kick-off and Howe will be hoping that with support from the Geordie faithful his side can pull of an upset in this one. 

This one promises to be a real Christmas cracker.

SCORE PREDICTION: NUFC 2-2 Man Utd

Everton (A, 30TH DEC)

Rafa Benitez’s Everton welcome the Magpies to Goodison park for the last fixture in a manic December, hoping his side experience a dramatic change in fortunes. 

The Toffees are one of the most out of form sides in the Premier League and the fixture on the 30th Dec is perhaps Newcastle’s best chance of clinching victory during a tough festive period, other than the visit of Burnley on Saturday. 

The visitors in this one will be hoping to claim what could be their first away win of the season and have to travel to Merseyside on the front-foot and ready to attack from the off.

It will be Howe’s last opportunity to claim some much-needed points ahead of what promises to be a busy transfer window for the Geordies who are tipped to spend big come January. 

Newcastle are unbeaten in four league games against Everton and will be looking to extent that run to five and put pressure on their fellow relegation candidates.

The 2-0 away at Goodison last year kick-started Newcastle’s season as Graeme Jones was introduced into the backroom staff – Callum Wilson netted in both halves to help his side take the spoils. A repeat of this would help the Magpies gain momentum as they try to attract new talent in their hunt for safety. 

SCORE PREDICTON: Everton 1-2 NUFC

 

December promises to be a season defining month for the Magpies who are in desperate need of improvement on the pitch. It may be possible to pull off a few upsets in the festive period but realistically any points gained before January would be a bonus.

Eight points would represent an excellent return given the circumstance but still feels extremely hopeful as Newcastle remain winless after fourteen games – a record in the Premier League.

Only time will tell…

Thoughts?

How many points will Newcastle accumulate in their six December fixtures? Can the Magpies claim their first win on Saturday? Who should Howe bring in to strengthen the side?

Join in the conversation and have your say.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Featured

Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United

Published

on

North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..

 

“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”

 

Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.

 

What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

Continue Reading

Sports

Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?

Published

on

Newcastle

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

Let us know on our Facebook page!

Continue Reading

Sports

What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)

Published

on

deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.

 

Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.

 

With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?

 

Toon are charging for Europe

 

If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.

 

Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 

 

In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.

 

Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed

 

Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 

 

Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.

 

Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.

 

Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 

 

On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.

 

Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.

 

Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 

 

With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?

 

So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?

 

Join the conversation on our Facebook page …

Continue Reading

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Trending