Last Friday (24 February) before the Carabao Cup Final, I looked at the upcoming Premier League fixtures.
With Eddie Howe and his team at Wembley, it meant a two week gap between Premier League fixtures for NUFC, whilst most of the rest carried on.
Before Newcastle United would play again in the Premier League, there would be 10 PL games involving other clubs, some of those matches very relevant to NUFC’s hopes of getting top four.
Wednesday night saw the completion of these ten Premier League fixtures and these have been the results, whilst Newcastle United were not playing in the league.
Friday 24 February
Fulham 1 Wolves 1
Saturday 25 February
Everton 0 Aston Villa 2
Leeds 1 Southampton 0
Leicester 0 Arsenal 1
West Ham 4 Nottingham Forest 0
Bournemouth 1 Man City 4
Crystal Palace 0 Liverpool 0
Sunday 26 February
Tottenham 2 Chelsea 0
Wednesday 1 March
Arsenal 4 Everton 0
Liverpool 2 Wolves 0
After last night’s matches…
This is how the Premier League table looks on this Thursday morning:
Looking at the results above and how the Premier League table now looks, these are my conclusions:
With their latest outrageous spending in January, you were thinking / worrying they could mount a serious late run. However, February has seen them pick up only two points in four PL matches, losing at home to bottom club Southampton and then if still any doubt, Sunday’s defeat at Tottenham surely ending any remote chance of top four. Not saying it is impossible for them to still finish above NUFC but if Newcastle are to stand any chance of a Champions League spot, they will be most definitely not be seeing Potter’s side as a main threat.
They are having a great season and as well as top seven in the league, are now in last eight of FA Cup. Friday’s home draw with Wolves was a positive for Newcastle and whilst I don’t see them collapsing, I don’t see them either as a major threat to NUFC’s top four aspirations. Fulham now two points behind Newcastle having played two games more.
This leaves two more contenders for top four who have played this past week in the Premier League…
Like Chelsea, you were worried that the scousers would potentially come with a late run, as a number of injured players returned. I am not writing them off but despite winning last night (and of course winning at SJP two weekends ago) they aren’t looking in any way convincing. Liverpool were fortunate to get a point at Palace on Saturday and last night were poor again, two goals in the last 17 minutes seeing them eventually crawl to three points against Wolves. They have some good attacking players but the midfield and defence doesn’t convince. Now two points behind Newcastle United and having played a game more.
A little bit like Liverpool, in that they possess very good attacking players, but midfield and especially defence don’t inspire. I think that Spurs are the team Newcastle have to finish above, if we are to be top four. After losing at home to Southampton, not the biggest surprise Chelsea then handed Tottenham a 2-0 win on Sunday with the goals coming after the break. Spurs now four points ahead but having played two more games than Newcastle. Again though, I don’t see them as any great team, in their last 15 PL matches, Tottenham have lost seven of them and drawn another.
This coming weekend we have the following Premier League fixtures coming up:
Saturday 4 March
Man City v Newcastle (12.30pm)
Arsenal v Bournemouth (3pm)
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace (3pm)
Brighton v West Ham (3pm)
Chelsea v Leeds (3pm)
Wolves v Tottenham (3pm)
Southampton v Leicester (5.30pm)
Sunday 5 March
Nottingham Forest v Everton (2pm)
Liverpool v Man U (4.30pm)
Monday 6 March
Brentford v Fulham (8pm)
Man City away is of course what most usually regard as the most difficult of the season but Guardiola and his team’s form, hasn’t been at the levels of previous seasons. If Newcastle United get it right at the back then I think getting something from the game is far from impossible. Tough but not impossible.
Elsewhere, I think Wolves can at least avoid defeat at home to Spurs and the same with in-form Man Utd at Liverpool.
Brighton having a great season and they look to have the easiest looking game on paper, West Ham at home. If Newcastle lost, Brighton with a win would move to within three points and the Seagulls with a game in hand.
Brentford v Fulham could well see shared points and as I have indicated, whatever Chelsea do against Leeds isn’t in my opinion something that will have any kind of serious influence on the race for top four.
A tough run of games for Eddie Howe having faced Liverpool, Man Utd and now Man City.
Guessing most Newcastle fans seeing anything on Saturday at The Etihad a bonus and then Wolves at home and Forest away we have to go all out for six points.
Going into the international break, I think 6+ points from these three games would see Newcastle United in a decent position.
Then we hit that very busy April which will surely go a long way to decide where Newcastle United end up eventually, seven PL games next month and potentially eight, if the outstanding Brighton home match is found a date in April as well.