In the first 9 games of the season we picked up a good 14 points, and in those games, we conceded 8 goals.
In the next 9 games things were a lot different, and we picked up just one point and conceded 19 goals.
And in our last four games over the festive period, we have picked up a good 7 points and conceded 3 goals.
We have a decent defense this season and have conceded 30 goals in 22 games – which is not too bad in the Premier League – but we can also improve through the rest of this season.
Newcastle have always done well when the defense has been solid and especially when we can get clean sheets.
With not having strikers who can score a lot of goals we have to keep the defense very tight, and then we can nick a 1-0 win which we did at Stoke on Saturday.
The other good thing is that conceding few goals tends to keep our goal difference quite good, which is worth an extra point in a close relegation struggle.
Ciaran Clark – how did he miss that one?
A strong defense can see us to safety this season, but it’s also obvious that Jamaal Lascelles is key to that and we must, therefore, keep him fit.
His partner in central defense for the last several games has been Ciaran Clark, and they play well together and formed a good partnership last season in the Championship.
As an aside – still cannot believe how Ciaran missed scoring in the first half when he was two yards from goal and somehow kicked the ball over the bar.
Anyway – we’ll get over it – and Ciaran is a good player for us!
This is what Ciaran Clark has said on the Newcastle website:
“I think for every defender, that’s their main aim; they want to keep clean sheets, and obviously the goalie.”
“But as a team, that’s what we’ve tried to do – it’s not just the back four or five, it’s the whole team working hard to try and keep the clean sheet and give ourselves the best opportunity to go up the other end and get a goal.”
“As a team, we want to keep as many clean sheets as possible and we know that if we do manage that, we’ll usually create chances that will give us a chance to win games.”
“We did well against Brighton to keep a clean sheet but didn’t manage to get an opportunity to score. But we created plenty on Monday and I think definitely deserved to win the game.”
“I think we created the better chances – I know they piled on a lot of pressure towards the end of the game but throughout the game, I think we were the better team and deserved to win.”
“I think the manager’s done it really well,” said Clark. “He’s managed to use everyone in the tough games.”
“With all the fixtures, it’s been a tough month and when the squad’s not as big as other teams, it obviously makes it more difficult.”
“Nut we’re just trying to keep everyone fit and as fresh as possible for the games that are coming up and I think – touch wood – we’ve done a good job of that.”
“You see teams getting a win and they’re jumping up a few places, and I think it’s going be like that throughout the rest of the season.”
“We can only concentrate on our own games and our own results. Hopefully now, from the results we’ve had, we can use that as a positive, push on now and use the form.”
A strong defense is also the hallmark of a Rafa Benitez side – and we looked very well organized and committed on Saturday.
But we should have been a lot more than 1-0 ahead after 75 minutes when Stoke came back at us.
There was some excellent defending from the lads and two brilliant saves from Karl Darlow those final 15 minutes at Stoke.
It was not good for the old heart!
Maybe if we can get two strikers in this month – things will be a lot easier in the future?
What do you think?
Comments welcome – but please be respectful to other readers – personal attacks are out of line – let’s make this a great year for Newcastle and on the blog too.