Can Newcastle Escape The Drop?

Can Newcastle Escape The Drop?

Following a hard-earned 1-0 victory against Leeds United, Newcastle fans are increasingly hopeful that the Magpies will avoid relegation at the end of the season.  Manager Eddie Howe and his players still face a significant challenge to avoid the drop with only two wins from 21 matches played so far this season, and far too many goals being conceded.  But the bookies have acknowledged the positive impact of the precious three points won at Elland Road on Saturday, with the odds for relegation dropping to 6/4 at BetVictor.  

Eddie Howe now has two wins to his name, from 11 games played since he took over from Steve Bruce on 8 November, and he acknowledged the importance of the victory at Leeds, saying “It was massive.  It shows we are not dead and buried”.  He praised his team’s performance and singled out the performances of new signings Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood, saying “They were magnificent”.  

Howe has increased the intensity of the current squad’s training to improve fitness and match the physicality of Premier League opposition. With the support of Newcastle’s new Saudi owners, the former Bournemouth manager is expected to purchase additional players in the remaining seven days of the January window with prospective targets likely to include Sevilla defender Diego Carlos, Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey and striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang who is out-of-favour with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.  It is also thought that Howe may seek the return of Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, but other clubs, including Tottenham, are also in the chase.  Eddie Howe has a huge task ahead – Newcastle are in 18th place in the Premier League table with 15 points from the 21 games played so far this season.

Rivals Norwich remain favourites for the drop with odds of 1/5 from bookmaker Paddy Power, even though the emphatic 3-0 win over Watford at the weekend has bolstered the Canaries’ hopes of staying in the Premier League. Norwich are now one slender point above the relegation zone – lying in 17th place –  with a total of 16 points after 22 games played.  But the odds reflect the fact that Norwich have played at least one game more than the other three teams in the bottom four of the League.  

The same bookie offers odds of 1/3 that Watford, currently in 19th place with 14 points after 20 games played, will be relegated.  Watford have sacked manager Claudio Ranieri after the weekend’s thrashing from Norwich and the Hornets will be hopeful that the appointment of a new manager will lift the team results.  

Burnley languish at 20th place on 12 points, with bookie SBK offering odds of 4/11 that Burnley will return to the Championship.  That said, the Clarets have only played 18 games this season due to match postponements so there is a slight advantage there over the other teams in the drop zone.  And holding Arsenal to a 0-0 draw at the weekend showed real character. 

During the forthcoming winter break, Newcastle will travel to Saudi Arabia to train.  The next Premier League fixture for the Magpies will take place on 8 February when Newcastle play Everton at St James Park in another massive game.

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