Why Newcastle United’s last two games will be important

April 27th, 2017 | 20 Comments |

Rafa Benitez.
Benitez: Still needs to restore a bit of pride?
Before last Monday evening, a run of one point from three games had seen Newcastle fall seven points behind Brighton. A convincing and confidence boosting 4-1 victory against Preston steadied nerves, assuring automatic promotion, but as a team feted as one of the best (or most expensive) ever to find themselves in the Championship, it is hard to escape the feeling that the Magpies still have something to prove before they take the step up to the Premier League once more. That’s without the possible ramifications of the looming tax scandal of course, but that’s a whole different story!

While Chris Hughton’s Seagulls wrapped up their promotion bid early, The Magpies seemed intent on putting their fans through as much anguish as possible (a familiar feeling some Geordies might say). However, Rafa Benitez’s men can be thankful for the equally dreadful form of Huddersfield making their automatic promotion bid much easier than it could have been. Of course, that poor run was stopped against Preston last Monday evening, and Newcastle now have a chance to continue making a statement of intent in their final two games. (more…)


Newcastle United vs Leeds United: A battle of the statistics

April 6th, 2017 | 2 Comments |

Dwight Gayle scoring
Dwight Gayle: Two goals against Leeds last time
Newcastle are hurtling back towards the Premiership after opening up a commanding lead at the top of the Championship and they could seal promotion in their upcoming home game against Leeds Utd. Gary Monk’s men have enjoyed a strong season and will make life difficult for Newcastle, but the Magpies will be confident of victory.

These sides met at Elland Road in November and Dwight Gayle put Leeds to the sword with a superbly taken brace. Leeds battled bravely but Newcastle were superior in all departments, and the gulf has widened between the two sides since. Leeds are fifth in the table, but 12 points behind leaders Newcastle, who have been brimming with confidence all season. (more…)


Can Benitez still beat Hughton’s 102 point promotion record?

March 3rd, 2017 | 93 Comments |

Benitez and Hughton
Benitez and Hughton’s Tuesday evening showdown
I know similar comparisons have been made elsewhere between Benitez’s current Magpies team and Chris Hughton’s 2009-10 side. However, Tuesday evening’s game against Hughton’s Brighton has finally inspired me to throw in some of my own thoughts on the matter.

As we go into another crunch game against third placed Huddersfield with 34 games gone, Benitez’s team is currently one point ahead of where Hughton’s team were at the same stage with 73 to 72 (as you can see below). (more…)


Why Gayle can be more than just a Championship wonder

January 19th, 2017 | 39 Comments |

Dwight Gayle
Gayle: Can he be as prolific in the Premier League?
If you took a straw poll of Toon fans, I’m pretty sure that most would agree that Dwight Gayle has been Newcastle United’s player of the season so far, and by some distance for 20 obvious reasons. Signed for around £10 million from Crystal Palace, it might have seemed like quite alot for a player with a bit of an injury record who made alot of his appearences off the bench. To get to the point, I was inspired to bring it up after Crystal Palace and ex-Magpie manager Sam Allardyce was asked by the Croydon Advertiser if he would have got rid of the Championship’s top hitman had he been manager last summer. He replied:

“Goals in the Championship doesn’t relate to goals in the Premier League for some players. I saw Abel Hernandez score 20-odd goals to get Hull up last year and he’s struggled badly this term. (more…)


Burton Albion vs Newcastle United: A David vs Goliath struggle

December 16th, 2016 | 57 Comments |

Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium.
Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium.
As Newcastle United travel to the 6900 capacity Pirelli Stadium to face Burton Albion, one of the smallest teams in the Championship, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at how the spectrum of teams in the Championship is as wide, and maybe even wider as it is in the Premiership with the gap between teams like Manchester United and Burnley.

To explain and give some kind of perpective, football transfer website, Transfermarkt estimates that Toon players such as Aleksandar Mitrovic (est value £10.2 million), Jonjo Shelvey (£9.35 million) or even Chancel Mbemba (£8.5 million) are worth more individually than the whole Burton Albion squad, which is valued at an estimated £7.57m in total. Whilst the average Newcastle United first team squad member is estimated to be worth £4.01 million, at Burton it is only £303,000. (more…)