There is hope again
After a very disappointing home draw against Brighton on New Year’s weekend, things were starting to look very bleak for the Toon Army. You’ve got to win the home games against the teams around you if you want to stay in the league, and not beating Brighton was a big disappointment. Not only that, the performance was also woeful at best, so the New Year’s Day away trip to Stoke became even more important, as they are also struggling and very much in a relegation fight.
Step forward Ayoze Perez, heavily criticised for not scoring enough and stepping up in important moments, to score probably the most important goal of his Newcastle career so far. Beating Stoke away is a massive result and could give the team the lift they need to drag ourselves out of trouble. Swansea at home next, another massive relegation six-pointer. If we win that we can start to open a bit of a gap between ourselves and the other struggling teams. We SHOULD be able to pull it off, but they are on a high after appointing a new manager and our home form is woeful, I think I’d rather it be an away game. Looking forward to seeing who we can bring in this January, reinforcements are definitely needed if we are to have a less-worrying 2018.
Where has the festive spirit been this year? Pretty much every manager has been complaining about referees over the past few weeks, most notably Mourinho and Wenger, who would have guessed? Wenger delivered a scathing attack on the standard of refereeing in the league, saying that refs don’t work enough compared to the players.
While this is a well-repeated record, he has a right to feel aggrieved this week. Arsenal conceded a penalty for an apparent ‘handball’, late in their game against West Brom, but never in a million years was that a handball. The ref was also in a good position to see it, yet somehow got the decision wrong. They say it all evens out over the course of a season, but there have been plenty of studies to show that this is usually not the case.
What’s going to happen in 2018?
So, what do I think is going to happen in the world of football this year? Firstly, England are going to win the World Cup (maybe not). If Harry Kane continues in his current vein of form we have to stand a chance of getting out of our group this time at least. I could see us heroically bowing out in the quarter-finals after a penalty shoot-out loss to Germany/Spain/Portugal/France/Brazil/Argentina take your pick.
Obviously, Man City are going to walk away with the Premier League title this year, I’d be surprised if they don’t wrap it up with five or maybe, even more, games to spare. I think the Toon will avoid relegation, just, thanks to our luck that there are a few worse teams than us. It will be interesting to see what the January transfer window brings, could be some big movers, Coutinho, Ozil and Alexis Sanchez could all be on their way out of their respective teams. Surprise shout, Burnley to earn a Europa League spot by finishing 7th, a lot of people expect them to drop off, but I think they will hold on to what will be a fantastic season for them. Happy New Year folks, hope it unfolds well for your team, unless they are fighting us for survival this year (or you support Sunderland, in which case I hope you get relegated again).