Newcastle let an opportunity to basically wrap up safety go by without even a whimper yesterday. The Magpies were thoroughly outplayed and outcoached at St. James’ Park in a comfortable win for Arsenal.
A result would have seen Newcastle climb the table while a win would have moved us up to 13th place. However, Newcastle were not at the races from the opening whistle as the Gunners enjoyed a stroll in the park.
It was another show of inconsistency from this Steve Bruce side. After a great unbeaten run, and the return of Callum Wilson to the starting eleven, Newcastle’s dropped their levels and failed to put a dagger into Fulham’s survival hopes.
As it stands, Newcastle now must sweat over Fulham’s next few fixtures and pray they don’t pick up a couple of wins. The next couple of weeks are now critical in making sure that the season finale at Craven Cottage doesn’t become a relegation showdown.
Fulham have the advantage in matchups over the next couple of weeks, though they don’t play again until next Monday at home to Burnley. Then just five days later it’s a trip to St Mary’s to take on Southampton.
Newcastle travel to face Leicester City this Friday, a club who have consistently destroyed us over the past few seasons. The Foxes are flying high as they are determined to maintain their Champions League place.
Then it’s back to St. James’ Park the following Friday to take on Manchester City. The Citizens will hopefully have wrapped up the title by then and have little to play. Though getting any points over the next few weeks will be difficult.
It may not matter if Fulham don’t pick up at least 4 points against Burnley and Southampton. Then Newcastle will have to get something from Sheffield United at home to avoid what would be a horrific final day with relegation on the line.
It’s still a nine-point cushion, and Fulham have it all to do. They’ll have to win at least 3 of their final 4 matches for even a chance. They’ve only won 5 times all season. But yesterday’s no show of a performance has put a minor dent in our confidence, though a couple of results down the stretch will see us safe.