Sunday, 24 February 2013

Ball is in Newcastle's Court

Since Ashley invested in Newcastle's french contingent, things have really started to pick up at Newcastle United. The club has recorded 3 wins in the Premier League and managed to progress in the Europa League.

A quick analysis of the table adjacent suggests we're in a much better position than we were 3 weeks ago. For starters, we're ahead of the mackems. As well as this, we've managed to pull away from QPR, Reading, Villa and Wigan who are lurking perilously close to the drop zone. The win away at Villa was pivotal and the turning point in our season without a doubt but the win over Southampton is up there with the Chelsea result. The Chelsea result would of mattered for little if we were unable to add to it without victory over the Saints. But we did win and we're on the up. In his post match press conference, Pardew suggested that 10th was a real possibility and that's what they're striding for at the moment. We currently sit on 30 points and the team in 10th (Stoke) have 33. This is very much achievable, 3 points in the Premier League is vital, Stoke, Fulham, Norwich and West Ham are all likely to lose more than one of their remaining games and I'm confident Newcastle can improve on what has been a disastrous season so far. What remains to be seen however, is whether or not Newcastle will be able to juggle the European commitments. Pardew has stated that he will take the competition seriously - we have the depth to compete in two competitions it's a question of whether we're able to perform well in two. On a positive note,  Newcastle are closer to 6th than they are 20th.

In our next few games there is potential to pick up points. Our next trip sees us travel down to Wales to play Swansea who beat Bradford in the Capital One cup final. Hopefully, the Swans will be hungover from their cup antics and Newcastle will be able to sneak a point or even a win. When Birmingham won the competition 2 years ago, their league form suffered. Hopefully Newcastle will benefit from something similar. Squeezed in between the next league fixture is the away leg of the European tie which will see the Toon play Anzhi Makhachkala. If the lads can score an away goal we'll be in a great position to progress. Then we play Stoke at home - a very winnable game. We beat them comfortably at St James' last season but they did beat us 2-1 at the Brittania this year. If we're to maintain our charge up the table, one would assume a win against Stoke is imperative. It's achievable but it's difficulty must not be underestimated.

The ball is in Pardew's and Newcastle's court, it's just what we do with it.

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