The Last Five Games Are So Important To Newcastle’s Season


Newcastle have struggled through the second half of the season and we haven’t won too many games by big scores as we did last year when we took QPR apart at Loftus Road 6-0 and Preston at home 6-0 in the EFL Cup.

But after we had annihilated QPR we were at home to Wolves and it looked like another easy 3 points but we didn’t turn up and lost that game 2-0.

The high point of the season was when we had nine successive wins on the trot and it looked an odds-on certainty that we would break the record on November 26th, since we had Blackburn at home and they were third bottom of the league.

Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager

But it was another stunning loss – much like the first two games of the season at Fulham and at home to Huddersfield and that other home loss to Wolves.

We have now lost nine games this season and there weren’t many people last summer who would have forecast we would lose that many games and five of them at home too.

But we have also come through games that could have gone either way and our lads have shown they can fight like the best of them and we have won a total of 26 games.

But over the last six games we have only taken 8 points (two draws, two defeats, two wins) and that’s a slump in anybody’s book, for a side trying to win the Championship.

With only five games to go our players must look at the big picture – and realize that even though we have had so many ups and downs this season we are close to not only gaining automatic promotion but also to winning the Championship.

If that’s not enough to inspire our players to play well we don’t know what is.

Here’s the final five games of the season.

April 2017	
Newcastle v Leeds United	     Fri 14 Apr  19:45	
Ipswich Town v Newcastle      Mon 17 Apr  15:00		
Newcastle v Preston 	             Mon 24 Apr  19:45	
Cardiff City v Newcastle	     Sat 29 Apr  15:00	
May 2017
Newcastle v Barnsley	             Sun 7 May   12:00

Five wins will see us finish the season in style – and everybody will say we have had a great season.

But if we continue to sputter through these last few games and finish in second place then yes – we will have gained automatic promotion but not in the style or the way we wanted to do it.

Then there will be big cries that Newcastle need to significantly strengthen their squad for next season – and we’re sure that’s exactly what Rafa Benitez will then do.

So in short – how the season will look will now depend on these final five games – let’s go up in a blaze of glory.

How Will Newcastle Fare Against Leeds United?

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27 comments so far

  • LewSpi v2.0

    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #1

    Our Toon

    Are you a troll or not? I can’t personally understand how you can be unhappy at being on course for promotion when that was the ONLY objective set out for the season.

    Yes, sometimes its been ugly. Yes, sometimes the tactics have been a bit boring. BUT we’re on course for achieving our only goal. And all you keep saying is that we have the best squad in the league, not one other player in the championship would get into our team and they’re playing rubbish because we’re not running away with it. That’s drivel mate, the squad’s not as good as you think it is and will require serious work over the summer.

    Yes, pundits and journos all said we were going to walk the league, I thought we were, hell bookies were even offering odds for us to go unbeaten all season! And people were taking it! Talk about hype.

    Sometimes you’ve just gotta hold your hands up and say ‘maybe I was wrong, maybe the squad isn’t as strong as I thought and maybe people have underestimated the competitiveness and strength of the league.’ It’s a dirty, horrible, long arse season in the championship, and thank god it’s nearly finished.

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  • firebug666

    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #2

    It’s difficult to predict how Newcastle will fare against any team, I always vote win, because I always want us to win, but predicting a result depends on what team turns up for each match.

    Do we get the disjointed can’t string two passes together team, or the fast breaking one touch attacking team. or a mediocre mixture of the two, good at time but poor throughout.

    So frustrated with the lads, but still have a chance to improve in these last few games, and possibly win the league.

    HWTL

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  • martoon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #3

    LewSpi v2.0 @1 – I’d agree with a lot of that – I think this league has been a lot tougher than anybody thought probably including Rafa. That’s probably why he wanted a couple of players in January to give us reinforcements and boy could we use them now!

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  • Fostino

    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #4

    I love rafa

    Def getting towns and was a no brainer .look at him now…our left side been average all season

    We do however have a big squad and why not freshen things up a bit. Dummett…goofy..Anita. .need a spell on sides…Let’s give Yedlin and hayden back in ..haidira..Sammy or rolando a go and Murphy can get is a few goals like Murray for brighton

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  • Mag52

    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #5

    Fostino.

    I can’t see Rafa playing about too much with the set up or the personnel until promotion is guaranteed.
    He might try out a few underused players once we are sure of going up.
    In actual fact, I can see a very similar approach to tactics next season under Rafa, if we do go up, as the objective then will be to cement our position in the premiership, so anyone looking for fireworks from NUFC are likely to have to wait for quite some time IMO.

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  • ron burgundy

    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #6

    its like the national poor runners fail at the fences

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  • ron burgundy

    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #7

    is this the melling road coming up

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  • martoon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #8

    Fostino @4 – As I understand it Yedlin & Aarons have just recovered and not ready yet (Yedlin is probably closer) and Hayden has had some kind of setback so that’s 3 of your suggestions gone however I’d agree with Murphy & Sammy – worth a try.

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  • Our Toon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:57 PM

    Comment #9

    Lew

    Defo not a troll, don’t have enough hair to be one. As for promotion yes that was the ultimate goal, and remains to be the case which is right but it’s also disturbing to see what we’ve produced in the 2nd half of this season in a shite league with the best squad.

    I do keep saying we have the best squad because it’s a fact, the other accusations you’ve made have come from nowhere, made up comments such as “not one other player from another team would get into our team”. I’ve clearly stated that knockaert is by far the best player in the league and that I wanted forrestieri in the summer as he’d improve the starting xi.

    The squad is exactly what I think it is, the best in the league, I’m yet to here an actual counter argument to it. Can you point to anyone else you’d want to swap squads with in this league?

    As for the championship, it’s a poor league and is competitive as teams aren’t that good and don’t have the resources to compete. Have we been underwhelming, yes, have we allowed teams back into games with “control” football…..yes.

    Our issue has been the negative mindset, by not finishing teams off and playing with the handbrake on we’ve dropped points, more so at home when the onus is on us to attack. The negative mindset of taking the lead and then refusing to continue to push forward and get 3 or 4. That’s my biggest gripe, along with the same tactics employed throughout the season, underperforming players keeping places in starting xi like Diame or Perez or laschelles.

    Probably the most frustrating is the lack of will to change a game when it’s not going our way which will be often next season, sitting on subs till the last 10mins in the hope that we get back into a game

    No manager is perfect and no individual is perfect, I see these as areas where we could have made life easier for ourselves this season, instead we’ve made it harder by being conservative when clearly we are the best this league has to offer.

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  • jayphoto

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #10

    It’s a tough league. Villa have spent a fortune, got a champions league winning manager, got a manager who’s proven in this division and still won’t make the play offs.. similarly Norwich had a near identical (if not slightly better) squad to the one that walked the league 2 years ago and again won’t make the play offs… There is 8 or 9 teams that all have about 6-7 good premier league level players in their sides.
    Tbh, at the start of the season, I saw our signings, Ritchie who was a sub mainly in the prem at Bournemouth, Gayle who I liked but couldn’t get in the palace team, Hayden who I’d not heard of, Clark who I didn’t rate, Atsu who I again didn’t rate and thought we’d be around 2nd-5th with Rafa, but 10-15th with same squad but different manager. Now I still think we’ll go up as champions, 1st or 2nd tho, as long as we’re premier league next year I don’t care

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  • jayphoto

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #11

    @ourtoon – personally think our problem this year will be a strength next year. The prob is rafa goes too cautious against teams that in turn come to defend, meaning we end up level around the 60 minute mark, crowd gets itchy, players start to take risks and we get hit against the run of play. I think in the premier league only a couple sides really camp out on their own 18 yard line, generally when we’ve played sides that have a go we’ve come out on top!

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #12

    Our Toon,
    The manager publicly stated that we would need to strengthen in January, is it any coincidence that we have not preformed as well second time round with the same old faces and hence us becoming predictable.

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  • jayphoto

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #13

    Reckon Gayle being out forces rafa to be slightly more offensive. Mitro and Murphy lack the pace to stretch teams so the wingers have to push much higher up, also really means Diame can’t play #10 as he doesn’t get close enough to the striker.

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  • Our Toon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #14

    Jay

    I can see where you are coming from in terms of next season and how teams set up, let’s not forget we took on a shocking hull side under phelan and dominated the ball but lost against 10 men.

    The issues will remain for next season but will get magnified to extreme lengths if we continue with hoofball, we won’t be able to control games with possession and sure as hell more ppl will be disgruntled. On the flip side if we somehow miraculously improve in terms of the type of football we play then rafa will rightly be given the pass. If he serves up the shite we’ve played this season then the knives will be out!!

    Btw not sure who it was but I read FSW somewhere earlier, I now know what that stands for……utter disgrace to call rafa names. Hang your head in shame for referring our manager as that!!

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #15

    And you talk about Fat Sam and Pardews football. Fat Sam had us nearer the bottom of the league than the top and when Pardew had us doing well in that blip in his career there were only a handful on here moaning about him. Your post earlier shows your main agenda is not with the current manager but with those that gave Pardew a hard time.

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  • jayphoto

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #16

    Still not sure that from Janury Armstrong, De Jong and possibly Saivet wouldn’t have added something to our squad. Leaving out Thauvin because he clearly didn’t want to be here, but the other 3 all expressed a desire to stay at Newcastle, Armstrong coming off the bench would have been good for Gayle, De Jong is a class above diame and perez and saivet could have offered fresh legs for colback (he works like a dog, and we seem to look a worse side with colback)

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  • jayphoto

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #17

    Our toon – wasn’t me who referred to rafa as that! I reckon he’s a class act, not just a great manager, but great man too! Best manager we’ll see in a long long while here

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  • Our Toon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #18

    Jail

    I know he wanted to strengthen in January, I was in the camp of we don’t need any reinforcements if it comes out of the summer budget as better and cheaper options will be available. Plus we still have the best squad even after that window so if rafa couldn’t get us up with what we have then maybe he wasn’t the right man for the 2nd tier of English football.

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  • martoon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #19

    Our Toon @14 – It’s ‘The Overrated Frenchman’ who calls him that – I think Rafa must have run over his cat or something

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  • Our Toon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #20

    Jail

    I gave pardew a hard time, I gave him more shite than you did. The difference between us is I don’t see much improvement in the way we are playing. That’s the point I’m making.

    You seem to have this agenda that any bad word against rafa is a vindication from previous incumbents positions, go back through and read some of the comments I made about king nutter. If you can’t remember or can’t be arsed then please stop with the insinuations and false accusations.

    As for fat Sam and pards having us play shite football which it was, that was in the prem and we survived, more affective than the shite under McClaren. They never got the chance to serve up hoofball in the championship.

    To sum it up, I gave them 2 dinosaurs a hard time for the rubbish we played, if I didn’t know any better and had been I coma id have thought one of them was still the manager with the type of shite we’ve played this season in a far inferior league.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:39 PM

    Comment #21

    Our Toon,
    Maybe he wasn’t, I wonder if he would have been able to be persuaded to take a year off without pay while we asked Chris Hughton to get more out of the squad just for promotion. I also wonder if Hoots would have been able to persuade Gayle and Ritchie to drop down a division. Are you honestly suggesting for a single second that we’d have been better off going for a Championship plodder for the sake of two points. Gawd save me???

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  • Our Toon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #22

    Jay &Martoon

    Jay apologies I didn’t mean to say it was you, I was just confused who’d refer to our manager as that.

    Martoon thanks for the clarification, pretty damn disgusting he’s even allowed to comment on here with that kind of rubbish. I think rafa must have done a John Terry on him, still no excuse for that

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #23

    Ok Our Toon,
    So unless we get an unbelievably special manager who can serve up both winning and sexy football you are going to be constantly whining. And we wonder where the deluded tag comes from.

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  • JamesToon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #24

    Mag52

    I don’t get it, we’ve seen our team blitz teams at times this season, 6-0 away at qpr, bet every single fan thought we were on top of the world, it could have been 8 or 9-0. We played some fantastic passing football, in that 9 game winning streak, along with some games where we had to grind out the results.

    I’d rather be in our position playing this so called negative hoof ball (which i really dont believe the long ball part, plus stats say we’re one of the best passing teams) than be in say fulham’s position who only know how to win one way by possession football.

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  • Our Toon

    Apr 11, 2017 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #25

    Jail

    Nope just highlighting that rafa is not infallible mate, nothing to do with 2 points, more to do with the shite that’s served up. One of your biggest gripes with pards was that he looks to stop the opposition first rather than concentrating on our strengths. Not much has changed except your affection for rafa which means you give him the benefit of doubt.

    Plenty of players have dropped down division to play for bigger clubs, nufc are a bigger club than Bournemouth and palace, so yes even with Houghton in charge Ritchie and Gayle would have dropped down divisions.

    As for deluded, unlike you I don’t expect us to win anything of note anytime soon, it’s never happened in my life time so why change a habit of a lifetime. I do want to see us play good football and attacking football, win lose or draw next season, relegation or staying in the prem, that’s all I want……i wouldn’t call that deluded, just being realistic.

    At least I judge all by the same motto, if we play well and good football I’ll comment on that, if it’s poor dull side to side hoofball I’ll call it, I’ve kept the same principles no matter who’s the manager, you’ve changed your colours quicker than pards in his press conferences when he served up all the lies. I’d call that double standards and others would call you deluded, don’t you think that’s where the tag comes from?

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  • U.S Magpie

    Apr 11, 2017 at 4:22 PM

    Comment #26

    Gents here’s the rundown, We are ten points clear we have 5games to play, Huddersfield have six games to play meaning 15 point for us and 18 points for them. A Hudderfield run in goes like this, H V Preston – Derby V H – H V Fulham – Wolves V H – Birmingham V H and H V Cardiff. Newcastle’s run in N V Leeds – Ipswich V N – N V Preston – Cardiff V N and N V Barnsley. Essentially out of the last five games we have, if we win two and Hudderfield lost one then they could not catch us. If we win three then its all over, so simple really. Win three games and its over we go back to the Prem, screw the money incentive for us going back, lets be honest here, if your a true Toon Army fan there is only one thing that would make our day more than anything else. Its not winning the championship, its not getting the players we want if we go back to the Prem. Its only one simple wish for Geordies far and wide, we go back and the red and white shite swops places with us. Please god lets this happen, lets open up some form of communications with the red and white shite, let us be friendly and wave to them as we pass them with a big smile. How many times lord can someone in the Toon Army say ” I saw a Sunderland supporter the other day and waved to him / her with a heart felt smile. I’m hoping the lord has a sense of humor and completely understands we only want to return the gesture from last year.

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  • toonincheek

    Apr 12, 2017 at 2:18 AM

    Comment #27

    U S Magpie,

    Despite the fierce rivalry, I have no desire for 5under1and (or Boro) to be relegated.

    Derby days are a special occasion (not so special for us
    recently as far as results go!)

    I just want/EXPECT us to be better/higher than the other
    northeast clubs.

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