Newcastle United’s home defeat today to Reading should be cause for plenty of alarm on Tyneside. With 20 minutes to go Newcastle lead Reading 1-0. Had they held that lead they would sit 5 points above the relegation zone. But Reading scored twice through Adam Le Fondre to secure a valuable 3 points for the visitors but it also leaves Newcastle sitting an uncomfortable 2 points above the relegation zone and sinking quickly.
The Magpies have 1 point from their last 5 games, they have lost 10 of their last 13 games and with the sale of Demba Ba to Chelsea things do not look good for the second half of the season. Ba scored 13 Premier League goals for the Geordies this season, goals you can ill afford to lose when you are involved in a relegation race.
Last season Newcastle finished 5th, how things can change in a year. One of the major contributors to Newcastle’s fantastic season last year was Papiss Cisse. He scored 13 goals in 14 appearances after signing for Newcastle in last season’s January transfer window. They really need him to do similar this year to help them avoid the drop. This season so far he has 4 goals in 21 appearances. Now with Ba gone he needs to pick up the slack to try and push Newcastle away from the drop.
All of the clubs at the bottom of the table have time on their side, there are 15 games left so there is plenty of time to put a run together and pull away from the relegation zone. Newcastle are still involved in the Europa League. This could be a nice distraction from their Premier League woes but it may also be hindrance in trying to prepare for and win games in the league, particularly after their away game in eastern Ukraine against Metalist Kharkiv where they will then face fellow relegation candidates Southampton at home. A game followed by along flight from Kharkiv is not ideal preparation for an important six pointer.
Next up for Newcastle is a trip to fellow strugglers Aston Villa who sit a point back from the Magpies. It is games like these that Newcastle need to get something from. Otherwise a season that started with the optimism of attempting to follow last season could turn into the ultimate nightmare on Tyneside. At the moment it is a sinking ship but there is time to repair the damage before it is sunk.