Newcastle have 33 points form 30 games and Wigan have 27 points from 29 games in 3rd bottom place, so if they win their game in hand Newcastle will be only three points above the drop zone.
Alan Pardew – difficult last tow months of the season
That’s some of the outcome of Wigan’s 90th minute winner on Sunday, and if we had managed the 1-1 draw, and the referee had rightly disallowed the winning goal for hand-ball, then Newcastle would be 9 points ahead of Wigan and in a better position than we are now.
So with eight league games to go we are not safe from relegation, and of course we are in the quarter finals of the Europa League and meet Benfica, and we have to have a decent chance of reaching the last four in that competition – at least.
So the question will become what does Alan Pardew prioritize – the Europa League or the Premier League.
In the last round after beating Stoke he said we were clear of relegation and would prioritize the second leg against Anzhi over the Wigan game, and we won the Anzhi game – but the very worst thing happened when we lost to 3rd bottom Wigan on Sunday.
Some will say the Wigan game was an anomaly because Wigan should have been down to 10 men after McManaman’s terrible foul on Haidara, and also their winning goal should have been disallowed for hand-ball.
It;s a problem Alan Pardew will have to grapple with, and he could be helped by how we do against Manchester City and Fulham, which are the two games before the ties with Benfica.
Two defeats in those league games and we will be in more trouble than we are in at the moment – although our way to safety could be by winning our home games.
It’s an interesting dichotomy, because on the one hand we are fighting to stay in the Premier League, and yet we have also a chance of glory by winning the Europa League.
These are some of the challenges Alan Pardew will have in the next two months – and it’s so far been a tough season for the manager – and for the fans too.
Note: Please sign this petition to get the FA to do their job, following the disappointing Massadio Haidara decision of last Tuesday – thanks.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org