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Where Newcastle Stand Now – It Could Be A Lot Worse By February

It was critically for Newcastle to get our second win in a row against bottom club Fulham on Saturday

But we failed to do that in what was another below-par performance at St. James’ Park when we didn’t manage one shot on target.

One reason Rafa was so disappointed after the game was that before the end of January we have some very tough fixtures coming up.

Four of the games are against the perennial top six clubs in England.

Rafa Benitez – knows Newcastle have tough games coming up

We have to play at Liverpool and Chelsea and at home to the two Manchester clubs before the end of January.

That’s another reason Rafa is starting to send messages to Mike Ashley that we have to strengthen in January if we don’t want to become a Championship club again in May.

Here’s where we are in the league right now.

10West Ham38-352
12Crystal Palace38-249

Here are the fixtures coming up before February.

Wed 26 Dec   Liverpool vs Newcastle         3:00pm
Sat 29 Dec   Watford vs Newcastle           3:00pm
Wed 02 Jan   Newcastle vs Man United        8:00pm
Sat 05 Jan   Newcastle vs Blackburn         5:30pm FA CUP 3rd Round
Sat 12 Jan   Chelsea vs Newcastle           5:30pm
Sat 19 Jan   Newcastle vs Cardiff           3:00pm
Tue 29 Jan   Newcastle vs Man City          8:00pm

Both Ki Sung-yueng and Yoshinori Muto will be missing for these games.

We didn’t do well against the top six clubs during the first ten games, but hopefully, we can pick up some points this time around.

It will be essential to do that otherwise we could be lower than our current 15th position in the league table by February.

It’s too much just thinking about it.

Comments welcome.

104 comments so far

  • Munster Mag

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #1

    It’s getting ugly now, but rafa has to carry the can for a shocking approach v Fulham. 2 extra points after hudds wud have lifted everyone but the performance was abject and as manager he has to take a large share of the blame. We had enough assets on the pitch to beat fulham but we barely laid a glove on them. Those two points could be the difference in may

  • Pain in the Blog

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #2

    OK That’s me done with the blog until after Xmas. Daughter and her husband arriving from Munich in an hour or so. Off to see my son and his family in rural Northumberland this afternoon then a good old fashioned Xmas at home.

    Best wishes to every blogger and most especially to to Ed and his family. Make sure you all have a good one.

    Hiya Frog. Yes, even you.

  • toon22

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #3

    Yep Munster

    Lets blame Rafa for MAs greed lol

    Mikey boy is making a mug out of him and you still pin the blame elsewhere

    Pain.. Happy Chrimbo 🙂

  • toon22

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #4

    Didnt Fulham outspend us to the tune of about 100 million ?

    Roughly the same amount MA trousered

    Who would you have bought with the Mitro money ?

    Or even the Carrol money ?

  • toon22

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #5

    As it stands the money we got for Carrol and Mitro has payed for every striker since MA bought us

  • yorkymag

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #6

    Goodness gracious
    It’s Christmas
    Why all the doom and gloom
    We should know by now Rafa is playing games
    I prefer to look at the last two games against relegation rivals
    As 4 points gained
    If we can do the same against Burnley ,Huddersfield,Cardiff and Fulham in the second half we will be in good shape
    Cheer up it’s Christmas

  • Optimistic Panda

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #7

    It’s always darkest before the dawn…

    One way or another Ashley will be gone in 12months.

    If Rafa leaves the club under Ashley won’t survive, the fallout from that would be devastating for Ashley and even Bishop couldn’t calm the fans or con the media.

    If he doesn’t sell soon the atmosphere really will be toxic and he’d have no way to appease the fans.

    It’s 5hit or get off the pot time.

  • Zele

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #8

    Rafa sounds like a manager who is trying everything he can to get sacked but is frustrated as the owner won’t oblige unlike the owners of ManU who dumped the ‘Special One’ who succeeded in his efforts to getting himself sacked.

  • Lindisfarne

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #9

    Which will come first, Rafa resigning or new owners?

  • Optimistic Panda

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #10

    Ashley would never sack Rafa, last thing he needs is a martyr.

    He’d just not give him cash and say it’s because Rafa wouldn’t sign a contract, Ashley will use the excuse of not wasting cash with a new owner and manager coming in.

    Atm were doing ok, it’s all down to the sale.
    If that doesn’t happen Ashey has major decisions to make, he either spends or risks it all.

  • Ron Knee

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #11

    Festive trolling.

  • Bambams

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #12

    I think our players just can’t handle playing at home, add to that we tend to get a little more space away from home so the counter attack works (Huddersfield)

    Keegan used to say to his players ‘ if you can’t play for this crowd, you can’t play for anyone ‘ he also use to buy the right type of player – here lies the problem, the right players are expensive – we all know the rest.

  • yorkymag

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #13

    Let’s look at Rafas comments in another way
    With half the season finished according to him he and the players have worked a miracle
    Do the same in the second half and we are comfortably safe
    Rafa a miracle worker!!
    I think not ,yes he has done a good job with a limited squad,but also made some basic mistakes.
    A good manager certainly but no miracle worker

  • Optimistic Panda

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #14


    I don’t think the players can’t handle it, they’re just not good enough.

    They barley get results away hitting teams on the break, they don’t have the quality to break teams down by attacking at home.. we’d get murdered.

    We’ll be lucky to have more than 1 player score 10 goals, we’re bang average…

    Not many of our starting 11 would start in any other EPL side, 2 or 3 maybe

  • Zele

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #15

    Optimistic Panda,

    If there will be new owners (big if) I believe they will bring in their own manager.

    Rafa is of the ‘old school’ His tactics look out of place with many teams in the league. Yes, some will say (with some justification but by no means all) it’s because he doesn’t have the players.

    As a so called world class manager he should have been able to devise formations and tactics by now to defeat teams in lower reaches of the division.

    We are half way through the season and Saturdays performance showed no improvement on many of the previous home games.

  • Lindisfarne

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #16


  • yorkymag

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #17

    It is a great tactic from Rafa
    He feeds the local press a line like
    If I pull this off it’s a miracle
    And low and behold,the national press are running the story
    Rafa is so great he is working miracles
    Don’t get me wrong I am a massive fan of his
    But he is probably better at working the press than he is a football manager

  • Munster Mag

    Dec 24, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #18

    22, irrespective of what Fulham spent, they were nothing to write home about. We set up and played so negatively that it’s hard to believe we were home to Fulham. As opposed to a much better team. That’s where rafa has to carry his share of responsibility, along with the players and of course Ashley. It’s quite simple really.

  • Optimistic Panda

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #19


    I think they’d keep him to settle the ship during the transition at least..

  • Zele

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #20


    You are right there.

    He isn’t a miracle worker. And increasingly he’s not looking like a ‘world class manager’.

    Half the season gone and little or nothing has changed on performances at home.

    He appears to do everything possible to avoid defeat but seemingly little to win a game. This has worked well in away games with the tactics and formations deployed but not so at home.

  • c-dog

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #21

    Tsunki baby, slip a sable under the tree for me
    Been an awful good girl
    Tsunki baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight
    Tsunki baby, a ’54 convertible too convertible too, light blue
    I’ll wait up for you, dear
    Tsunki baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight
    Think of all the fun I’ve missed
    Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed
    Next year I could be also good
    If you’ll check off my Christmas list
    Tsunki baby, I want a yacht and really that’s not a lot
    Been an angel all year
    Tsunki baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight
    Tsunki honey one thing I really do need, the deed
    To a platinum mine
    Tsunki baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

  • Optimistic Panda

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #22

    Before the last 2 games everyone would have took 4 points.

    It just turns out people would rather we’d won at home and drawn away..

    I’m happy with the 4 points, 6 would have been great, 3 disappointing.

    My glass is neither half full or half empty so I’m off to the pub.

  • Zele

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #23

    Optimistic Panda,

    I disagree.

    The fans will be so overjoyed with the new owners and all their promises of riches that a new manager will add to the excitement and Rafa will quickly become a distant memory.

  • Optimistic Panda

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #24

    It’s definitely Xmas

    People don’t know what they want

    Then when they get it they want something else.

    I’m keeping faith in Elvis, the foul beast will leave boxing day.

  • Blaydon-Toon

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #25

    Cardiff at home is a must win – really can’t see too many points being bagged in January … have to hope the teams below us struggle too


    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #26

    Ana I’ll probs get jumped on for this but would rather see sorenson and longstaff brought in for game time in these next tough games,maybe even roberts or the other spanish youngin if he’s fit….sorenson for joselu,who has done nothing when he’s came on looks like 900 mins after just stepping on the pitch,u’d think he’d bust a gut a run him himself into the ground for however long he’s on for…but no looks more lethargic then the players who started… these young players will probs most likely not be the answer to our problems but they may inject a little bit hope,energy,creation,even losing the games we myt see something from them that gives hope… enjoyment maybe.

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #27


    I’d say with this motley crew it most certainly is and has up to now been a miracle.
    None of our players would be first choice or even squad members in any other PL team.
    Rafa launched the careers of Hazard, Coutinho and Torres and is now working with comparative
    champo / league 1 players.

    We have a CL winning manager. Say that slowly and yet Ashley gives him Hayden and Diame to take on Keita and Fabinho on boxing day.

    The immature, insensitive and classless will keep rubbishing Rafa and refuse to acknowledge the constraints and restrictions placed on him. Well when we get Stuart Pearce or similar and are in the champo again we may just reflect on when we had that CL winning manager.

  • Optimistic Panda

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #28


    You’ll get your wish

    Longstaff at least, no Ki Shelvey out injured.

    Needs must


    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #29

    #Looks like he’s played 900mins after just stepping on the pitch

  • Lindisfarne

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #30

    At least the Referee will have somewhere to hide in the players tunnel.

  • Jib

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #31
  • hibbit

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #32

    which new owners are these and when will they arrive ??
    and a name for this new manager would help ??

  • yorkymag

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #33

    I agree completely with your analysis and certainly view rafa as a top coach,working with a limited squad
    I am just not sure that is a miracle!!
    My point really is more about understanding Rafas skill and motivation to feed the press the lines he wants them to evaluate him against
    As I said according to him at half way he has worked a miracle


    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #34

    Rafa will probs push Kennedy or atsu into midfield with diame and Hayden,yedlin and dummet as wing backs,schar,fernandez and lascelles 3 at the back with rondon and Perez…shelvey will be on bench if fit,missed a few games to just be thru back in…. just a guess like??

  • yorkymag

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #35

    Puts football in perspective

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #36


    Fulham just spent well over 100m in the summer. love to know which of our ”assets” you thought were better than
    Schuurle, Cairney, Seri etc, etc


    Agree with that. i remember donkey’s years ago sunderland were struggling at the bottom of the league and they chucked a load of kids in and immediately improved. Can’t remember their names (Jib?) now but 3 of them became regulars

  • Aces-of-Eights

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #37

    Balotelli and naingollan available at cut price in january

  • Zele

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #38


    I’ll put money on Rafa not selecting Sorensen and Longstaff.

    Rafa hasn’t (I believe, but could be wrong) used any player from reserves in the first team this season.

  • Aces-of-Eights

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #39

    Vs fulham howcome rafa never brought on muto or joselu?

  • L Toon

    Dec 24, 2018 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #40

    Rafa looks like a man worn down, where everything has started to take its toll and his comments would be indicative of that. Nothing meant as a sleight or a putdown on the players, just a genuine honest statement. Can we attack more? Of course. But i simply believe that rafa doesn’t trust the players to do it. In Goalkeeper and defence we are more than solid enough and have player’s that would be considered if fit automatic starters at most clubs in the bottom half, some even top half. But just sit there and ask yourself what clubs atsu, diame, perez, Ritchie, kenedy, rondon, hayden and joselu would be considered automatic starters at, week in week out.


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