For much of the Premier League season so far, Newcastle have looked comfortably out of the relegation picture. However, the last week looks to have changed everything for the Magpies.
A 1-0 defeat against Everton on Wednesday night was slightly harsh, as they hit the woodwork twice. However, even the most diehard Toon fan would struggle to make a case for Rafa Benitez’s side deserving to win the game.
In truth, Everton did just enough to grind out a win at St James Park. With the teams in the bottom three picking up positive results of late, Newcastle look to be in major danger of slipping into the drop zone.
Not in a relegation battle
It seems that the Newcastle players do not believe they are in a relegation battle just yet. Asked if he thought the Magpies were in a relegation battle, defender and captain Jamaal Lascelles told Sky Sports:
“No, not yet. A lot of people would probably have been happy with the points we are on if they were asked at the start of the season, so I am not going to say we are in a relegation battle.
“There are still loads of games to play. It’s a long season. We are not looking at that, just taking things game by game.”
The former Forest defender is right. It is very early in the season to talk about relegation battles. However, the signs are not great for the Magpies.
Not good enough
When Newcastle won promotion, there were many question marks about the strength of their squad. Many of the squad had suffered relegation with the team just a year previously.
Rafa Benitez was not exactly handed the card to the clubs bank account, more likely handed a hammer to break open the Newcastle United branded piggy bank.
The Spaniard had little to spend in comparison to even the likes of fellow promoted club Huddersfield Town. Benitez knew his team needed strengthening, but as long as the team was doing ‘okay’ club owner Mike Ashley escaped the blame for a while.
However, the north east side are now struggling for results. A run of seven defeats in their last eight league games is a poor one by any team’s standards.
Benitez would have been hoping to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window. However, whether a proposed takeover will affect what happens recruitment wise in the winter transfer window remains to be seen.
Whether Benitez can draft in the cavalry in January seems uncertain. However, at the minute the Magpies need something to change. Owner Mike Ashley has never been one to flash the cash that is for sure, so I doubt many on Tyneside are optimistic of any quality arrivals in the winter transfer window.
Could get worse this weekend
Newcastle head into this weekend’s games just a point above the relegation zone. To make matters worse, the Magpies visit Arsenal on Saturday, in a game they are a massive 13/1 to win.
Bearing in mind that Arsenal are a formidable force on home soil, and have won 12 from their last 13 Premier League games at the Emirates Stadium, an away win looks highly unlikely at this stage of proceedings.
Also, factor in that the Magpies have won just one of their last 19 games on their travels in the top-flight and it is looking like a very fruitless trip to the capital for the men in black and white stripes.
If results go against the north east side, they could very well end the weekend in the relegation zone. Rafa Benitez needs to find a way of turning things around and quickly or the north east club could be facing a long hard season of fighting against the drop.
Will Newcastle be involved in the relegation battle?
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