Newcastle lost 2-1 at out-of-form Fulham last night in the Premier League.
The defeat was their fourth in the last five top flight games and if Sunderland beat Reading tonight then the Magpies would be just one point away from the drop zone.
Expectations were sky high on Tyneside after last season’s brush with the Champions League spots.
However last season was always going to be a hard one to follow up, especially without any major investment or new arrivals.
The team were superb last season, but in a sense they are now victims of their own success. There fifth place finish last season led the Toon Army to believe that Newcastle could repeat the trick this season and they simply don’t have the players to do so.
The last campaign was a triumph for Newcastle and manager Alan Pardew in particular. However, Newcastle hasn’t built on that progress in this campaign. The team has gone backwards, because of a number of different issues.
One of the main reasons is a lack of real strength in depth in the Newcastle squad. The Magpies are currently in the midst of an injury-crisis. They can’t use that as an excuse for some of the poor performances put in though.
I don’t know whose idea it was to give Alan Pardew an eight year contract, but it was an absolutely crazy decision. I questioned the decision at the time, but everybody connected with the club seemed to be on a wave of euphoria from finishing fifth in the Premier League table.
That euphoria clouded their judgement and meant that Alan Pardew was seen as a hero to the Geordie faithful. I have never been convinced by the former-Southampton boss. I thought last season may have been a one-off and it may prove to be just that.
The question is has Pardew got the managerial ability to bring Newcastle out of their current situation? I’m not so sure he has the ability to pull the players out of their current rut. The Newcastle board are now in a difficult position.
They have given him that lengthy contract, so if they wanted to change their boss it would cost a small fortune in compensation.
I have to admit I was surprised that Newcastle didn’t go out and heavily their squad in the summer. What surprised me even more was the fact that the Magpies were able to keep hold of the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote this summer.
The trio were linked with moves away to fellow Premier League clubs in the summer, but all three stayed in the North East. However, top scorer Demba Ba is being heavily linked with a move to Premier League rivals Liverpool.
Ba has a release clause in his contract, which could prove the decisive factor the Senegal striker leaving. Ba has always stated that he is happy at St James Park, but he has fallen out with manager Alan Pardew on a few occasions this season.
Newcastle went into this season hoping to be competing at the top of the table. They currently look more likely to be struggling at the bottom of the table come the end of the season.
Newcastle should have enough quality players to move away from the Premier League relegation zone. However, later tonight the Magpies could be just a point clear of the drop zone.
Pardew’s team have a difficult run of fixtures coming up including facing Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in the next four games. I’m sure Newcastle fans are concerned about their team’s current form.
As Newcastle fans know from recent history no team is too good to go down. The Magpies could be in for a tough season, but they were never going to be able to live up to last season’s overachievement.
Where are Newcastle going finish in the Premier League table?