Saturday 4 March 2023, early afternoon, Newcastle United The Etihad.
Our third defeat in a row, together with the League Cup Last at Wembley Stadium and we’re mendacity sixth within the desk, having gained 10, drawn 11 and misplaced three league video games, 41 factors on the board and even on the again of this disastrous mini-run, the everlasting pessimists may at the least declare we’d amassed sufficient factors and due to this fact couldn’t go down!
Because it occurs, we gained 9 and drew three of our remaining 14 fixtures, barnstorming our option to ending the season with a ultimate factors tally of 71, cementing fourth place, with 4 factors and a a lot superior objective distinction between ourselves and fifth positioned Liverpool. Champions League qualification had additionally been achieved with a sport to spare.
After final night time’s win on the Metropolis Floor, we discover ourselves having performed the identical variety of video games. Wanting on the league desk, we’re one place worse off and have 36 factors on the board. While we’re possibly not 100% assured of retaining our Premier League standing subsequent season, it’s after all, all however assured.
My level? Nicely, it’s been a really troublesome season and regardless of what the naysayers can have you imagine, it ain’t a disaster for Newcastle United.
After hitting some notable highs early within the marketing campaign; the 5-1 demolition of Aston Villa on the opening day, an 8-0 win at Bramall Lane in September, League Cup wins over each Manchester golf equipment and the 4-1 hammering of PSG no much less, the optimism of autumn gave option to a bleak winter and with accidents piling increased and better, our season stalled.
Regardless of this, we nonetheless managed to inflict a primary defeat of the season on Mikel Arteta’s mob in a extremely charged ambiance at St James’ Park, and we additionally swept Man Utd and Chelsea apart, albeit registering house wins in opposition to each of these is maybe not as spectacular a boast because it was.
Painful losses at house to Milan and at Stamford Bridge within the house of every week extinguished our European and League Cup adventures, as we continued to subject the identical first eleven for a run of fixtures all through December and into January that horribly uncovered the acute and unprecedented harm disaster that has so cruelly affected Newcastle United this season.
And but, right here we’re.
Extra league wins than this time final season, a primary win in whereas over our neighbours from Wearside behind us and an FA Cup Quarter Last to stay up for subsequent month, assuming we will negotiate our well beyond a poor Blackburn aspect, languishing within the incorrect half of the Championship.
Moreover, because the strolling wounded regularly return to motion, there’s room for optimism as we strategy what stays of the season. Harvey Barnes has offered a a lot wanted filip over the previous seven days and the bench is trying stronger week by week.
Producing 30 factors from our final 14 matches nonetheless looks like a tall order, particularly if we’re going to be with out two of our most influential gamers, Nick Pope and Joelinton.
Even when we may hit the highs of final 12 months’s ultimate third of the season, it’s unclear what 66 factors would obtain. In 2023, it will have assured Europa League soccer; this season it may not.
Then once more, there’s at all times the FA Cup and 2024 has a sure serendipitous resonance to it, Newcastle United successful the well-known trophy for the second time in 1924, though our opponent in Might gained’t be Aston Villa if we have been to succeed in the ultimate on the one centesimal anniversary of our 2-0 victory in opposition to the Villains.
Identical to the optimisim that accompanies the times getting longer and winter regularly giving option to spring, I sense positivity descending on Newcastle United and I imagine now we have hit a turning level in our 2023/24 marketing campaign. HTL