After another defeat, Newcastle United look destined for the Championship. Alan Shearer’s men have three games to save their season, but it appears too little too late, and although it is not mathematically certain they will go down, performances on and off the pitch have made it clear they are just not good enough to remain in the EPL.
After a 3-0 drubbing from Liverpool and a performance that can only be described as disconsolate, hopeless and somewhat distressing for the fans. Despite an encouraging opening start, Newcastle were forced into their own half for much of the game and did not muster a single shot on target throughout the match.
The omission of Michael Owen from the starting line up has also raised even more doubts over his future, furthermore Shearer’s tactical nous must also be called into question, Duff at left back and switching a reasonably effective Joey Barton from centre midfield to right wing is baffling, and may have been a factor in his sending off.
Next Monday’s match against relegation rivals and neighbours Middlesbrough has gained even more significance and will most definitely decide which team has at least a chance of survival. The draw against Portsmouth coupled with the above defeat has left the Magpies in a precarious position and once that I do not see them escaping. Being currently 3 points from safety may not seem much but if recent performances are factored in, Newcastle may as well be preparing for life in the second tier of English football.
On paper, Newcastle have a talented bunch. Damien Duff was a revelation at Blackburn whilst helping Chelsea secure an EPL title. Viduka is an established international and Obafemi Martins is a £10 Million player. Meanwhile, a special mention must go to Michael James Owen, brought in from Real Madrid, earning a reported £100,000 per week, yet he cannot string two full games together. Now even when seemingly fit, Shearer decides he is not good enough for the first eleven. With only 8 goals from 26 EPL appearances, time must be up for the injury prone, former Ballon d’Or recipient. But each of them have failed to perform this season.
I would also point to the loss of Shay Given from the squad as a major factor in the plight of Newcastle United. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the league and served Newcastle well but after 12 years of loyal service, even he knew this was a sinking ship and gladly waved goodbye in January. In previous seasons he was probably responsible for accumulating 10 points or more for the Magpies, and how desperately they need those points now. Steve Harper, though an able deputy is not a first team goalkeeper.
The decision to appoint rookie manager Alan Shearer must also be questioned. He doesn’t have the necessary qualifications, and has never managed before. His lack of experience is telling, the decision to play a 3-man defence against Tottenham was a mistake, Damien Duff is not a left wing back and Joey Barton on the right wing is wrong.
His appointment stinks of desperation from Mike Ashley, who was so desperate to win over the fans he employed the one man that every member of the Toon Army would not disagree with. All this, to the detriment of the club.
In a season where mistake after mistake has been made, it looks as though Newcastle United will not be competing in the EPL next season, and is it coincidence that their new kit does not feature the Premier League logo, I think not.