The final games of the season are important for all teams, whether it’s a relegation dogfight, a top 10 finish or fighting for a European place. Notably for Newcastle United this season it’s the latter that applies and to be more specific, the added incentive of getting a Champions league place at the expense of one of the three London teams.
With four games to go the Magpies are well placed, not only in league position, but also they are the form team in the Premiership, winning the last six games on the spin. This being the case I decided to look at the last 6 Premier League results of Arsenal, Newcastle, Tottenham and Chelsea who are all chasing a Champions League position and see how the stats stack up. With the Toon winning all of their previous six games this puts us at the top of the mini league on 18 points from 18 with a healthy goal difference of +12. The table shows a comparison of the other teams the Toon are fighting with (Maximum 18 points available):
As you can see it’s Tottenham’s recent poor form, which has seen them go from one of the favourites for a Champions league place, to a team struggling for consistency. Their last 6 matches have resulted in the following results, DDWDLL, while Chelsea’s results were LDWWDD, and Arsenal’s WLWWLD. Of the teams fighting for 3rd and 4th place it is Newcastle who have the more difficult run in with the next two games away at Wigan and Chelsea before welcoming Manchester City to St James’ Park and finishing the season away at Everton.
The key to these games is having a winning mentality that breeds confidence, which comes from winning games. Newcastle’s recent form of winning all 6 scoring 13 goals, conceding 1 and keeping 5 clean sheets means they can go all out to win the final 4 games. Those final four games all offer something different, not just in terms of opposition quality, but also what they are fighting for.
Wigan are deep in a relegation battle, and on recent form this will be a tough game, but one that is a must win if we are to keep the pressure on the teams around us. The Chelsea game is one that getting a point in might not be seen as a bad result. However, the fact that they have a bit of fixture congestion due to their FA Cup and Champions League commitments, as well as a tough away game at Anfield just three before we head to Stamford Bridge, means we should be looking to take advantage, as the Toon squad is likely to be the fresher of the two. Manchester City might well be out of the title race by the time they arrive, but it is likely to be a tough game and one we should be looking to take something from if we want to take our chance and break into the top four. Our final game is at Goodison Park, against an Everton team that might not have a lot to play for other than finishing ahead of Liverpool for the first time since 2005.
On recent performances Alan Pardew and the players are likely to be going out to win the final four games to make it ten from ten, that would see us end the season on 74 points. The Toon have nothing to lose as we are already back in European competition for the first time since Glenn Roeder was in charge.