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Magpies Step Up Just in Time to Avoid Disaster

Posted on April 23rd, 2021 | No Comments |

Wilson, St.Maximin and Willock
Callum Wilson, Allan St.Maximin and Joe Willock
It’s hasn’t always been an easy watch this season, but a run of one defeat in seven games looks to have saved this campaign for Newcastle.

Bookmakers have pushed the Magpies as far out as 14/1 to go down, compared to 1/9 for a Fulham side suddenly in big trouble below them. While the job isn’t quite complete yet, Newcastle fans can breathe a little easier after several months of watching the team play toothless football on its way into a relegation fight.

Joe Willock twice provided big contributions in the April resurgence, scoring off the bench against both West Ham and Tottenham. Arsenal fans will wonder what might have been if Willock could have shown that form earlier in the season – Willock struggled to break into that Arsenal side before going out on loan. The Gunners themselves have failed to meet expectations in the league this campaign, but are still fancied favourites to see off Villareal in their two-legged semi-final according to the latest Europa League betting with Betfair. That tie sees them come up against old boss Unai Emery, who was sacked by Arsenal in 2019.

But Arsenal’s loss is Newcastle’s gain, as Willock’s timely goals have been one of the reasons that the Magpies have righted the ship late into the season. Elsewhere, first-team returns for big names Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin have suddenly given impetus to a side that looked to be sleepwalking to relegation. Saint-Maximin’s performance against Burnley showed what Newcastle have been missing for so much of the year. With the Frenchman in the team, Newcastle look lively and dangerous going forward; without him, they look lethargic.

There is reason for optimism, albeit quiet optimism around St. James’ Park for the first time since that opening day win against West Ham. Strangely enough, Newcastle have done the double over the Hammers this campaign despite starkly different fortunes at either end of the table, and the win in April came at the perfect time to push Steve Bruce’s side clear of the drop zone. Fulham, who at one time sat only two points behind Newcastle, now find themselves cut adrift at the bottom after their decent performances from early 2021 went missing in action in March and April.

For the first time, it almost feels like fans can start thinking about another season in the Premier League, and a summer transfer window where who Newcastle keep will be just as important as who they bring in. Keeping Wilson and Saint-Maximin, and then building around them, will be key in deciding where the ceiling is for this team next season. Wilson has hit ten goals in an injury-hit year that should have put him in contention for a place in the England squad this summer, and he remains Newcastle’s main goal-scoring outlet. Losing him would bode terribly for the next campaign, if not replaced – the options behind him have been less than inspiring this season.

Joelinton’s famous albatross of a six-year contract runs until 2025 and he hasn’t shown £40 million worth of progress yet. Does Miguel Almiron have the goals to start alongside Wilson and Saint-Maximin, or to be the main option if one of them left? Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll have been options off the bench, but neither looks like the Premier League striker they once were. The recruitment team definitely have a lot on their hands this summer to get this squad younger, and, ideally, healthier.

But for now, at least, the most important thing is this: Newcastle aren’t going down.

Probably.

NUFCBlog Author: Frankly Various Frankly Various has written 56 articles on this blog.

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