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Pundit’s Choice: Newcastle United

Pundit’s Choice: Newcastle United

Newcastle United supporters have been pretty downbeat in recent times after seeing their side suffer a seventh Premier League defeat of the season at the weekend.

Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash with Brighton at St James’ Park having picked up just two points from a possible 24 to start to the season, alongside throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Manchester United in their most recent league encounter just prior to the international break. Yet the Magpies weren’t able to get back to winning ways on Saturday as Beram Kayal’s effort 16 minutes before half time was enough to secure a 1-0 success for Chris Hughton’s Seagulls, thus leaving Newcastle bottom of the Premier League table.

As such, there have been many disappointed Magpies supporters up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be interested in recent comments from Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, who has offered those suffering Newcastle fans some much-needed respite by stating that ‘they’ll have just enough’ to stave off relegation.

And with Carragher citing manager Benitez and indeed the squad as reasons for his verdict, those Magpies fans shouldn’t be too disheartened just yet given there is still a long way to go in the season and plenty of points to play for.

Yes, things don’t look at all good for the North East heavyweights at present given they are sat at the bottom of the division and are already three points adrift of safety, with their 1-0 defeat to Brighton on Saturday perhaps their worst of the campaign so far.

Prior to that though, the Magpies had faced five of last season’s top six in a bruising fixture list to kick off the campaign, and they played pretty well in the vast majority of those matches in losing all of them by only the odd goal.

And in taking a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford earlier in the month, it’s clear that Benitez has got the players in his squad that can deliver the goods in the top-flight – one only has to look at how they got on last season to suggest that Carragher may well be right with his verdict.

Benitez led the Magpies to tenth place in the Premier League table in building a side that were stubborn defensively and difficult to beat, but that also carried a threat going forward, be it from getting balls into the box from the boot of Matt Ritchie, or indeed Kenedy using his trickery to create goal-scoring opportunities.

What one must also remember is that Newcastle were hovering around the relegation zone at the turn of the year last season, but lost just two of 15 matches between December and April to get themselves out of trouble, which included a four-match winning streak – thus, the quality is there to pull themselves away from danger.

Yes, the start has been far from ideal and as such there are likely to be some concerned Newcastle fans, but there are still 29 matches of the season remaining and plenty of time to get the points on the board.

And given Benitez has already got the best out of this squad once, who’s to say that he won’t do it again – after all, he is one of the most successful managers currently in the Premier League.

So while those Newcastle fans are likely to be suffering greatly from goings-on both on and indeed off the pitch at St James’ Park, Carragher’s belief that they will stay up will at least give them some respite.

Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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