It wasn’t long ago that Brighton were 2 points ahead of us with a game in hand, so we could have gone 5 points behind Brighton who had a good habit of winning their games.
At the same time Newcastle were struggling without Jonjo Shelvey and we lost at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day.
We then we somehow managed to lose at Blackburn after missing so many chances in the first half and allowed a team in the bottom three to do the double over us – both defeats by a 1-0 scoreline.
Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager
And then our 20 goal striker Dwight Gayle was injured so it was starting to look a little bit of a struggle.
When we allowed a last minute goal to only draw with QPR 2-2 at home after going down 3-0 in the FA Cup at Oxford things got tough.
But then would you believe it the next day Huddersfield easily beat Brighton 3-1 at home last Thursday and then we got a hard-fought 1-0 win against an in-form Derby on Saturday.
That was even though we again missed too many easy chances to kill off the game and nearly paid for it with seconds to go in stoppage time, but Yedlin brilliantly headed off the line to get us the win.
Last Sunday Brighton we lucky to escape a second successive defeat at Brentford who should have won that game after being 2-0 up at half time and 3-2 up after four minutes of stoppage time only to draw the game 2-2,
So we have gained 3 points on Brighton in the last two games and we are back at the top of the Championship 2 points clear of Chris Hughton’s Seagulls with a better goal difference.
And Sky Sports pundit Peter Beagrie thinks the 1-0 win at Derby on Saturday was crucial for the Magpies and still thinks we will win the Championship:
“I think recent results show how intense the Championship is because both Newcastle and Brighton have been beaten several times this season.”
“But after Brighton’s last two results, Newcastle have the edge in the title race.”
“Beating Derby was a massive result, especially after dropping points at home to QPR, and Benitez’s side are the favorites for me.”
At this point seven years ago Newcastle won 13 of their final 17 games and drew the rest – so we are hoping Newcastle can go on a similar good run to nail promotion – and the sooner the better.
It’s also good that we seem to be getting some of our players back from injury – like Dwight Gayle and Jack Colback.
Finally on SkyBet, Newcastle are 1/16 odds-on favorites to be promoted with Brighton next in line at 1/7 odds on.
And as for winning the Championship Newcastle are 4/7 odds-on with Brighton second favorites at 13/8.
We have to hope those betting odds turn out to be accurate.
But starting Saturday we have three games in ten days at Wolves (Saturday), at Norwich (Tuesday) and then at home to Aston Villa (Monday) and we know things could change quickly.
We cannot become complacent – Newcastle have to keep winning games.
What do you think?