Newcastle United have two huge matches at St James’ Park coming up in the next week. It’s got to that stage of the season where picking up three points is now essential.
There are no easy games in the Premier League. But there are certain matches that you need to target.
Leicester and Everton at home are two of those. Given the position Newcastle have found themselves in – they are riding on the crest of a slump at the moment – they need to wrestle back some momentum and get some points on the board.
What has worried me a little about the last few weeks is that this Magpies side is no longer resembling a Rafa Benitez team. They’ve lost the defensive solidity you associate with the best Rafa teams.
Yes, goals have been hard to come by, but we already expected that to be the case once Rafa wasn’t backed properly in the summer.
What I didn’t see coming was Newcastle scoring first at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, but then coughing up both leads with some very poor defensive mistakes.
It’s almost as if those goals simply angered Manchester United and Chelsea.
Look, they’re two exceptional sides. I didn’t necessarily expect Newcastle to get anything out of those games, and I don’t want to be overly critical. But some of the defensive errors were very poor.
Florian Lejeune made some blunders, Matt Ritchie fell asleep for the Blues’ penalty – but there were so many more mistakes from other players too.