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Time to refocus and move forward

Looking at the final stretch of opponents, and where Newcastle need to pick up points

Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

The remnants of the black and white horde have long emptied London, memories of Sunday have faded, and Premier League squads returned to action Wednesday.

Even though Newcastle was dispatched quickly by Manchester United, the Red Devis have continued their stellar form with a 3-1 victory over Westham in their last FA cup fixture this week.

It just wasn’t our time, and perhaps there is no need to dwell any longer. We can get excited again just by looking at what is ahead.

Excited at the prospect of Eddie Howe galvanizing a squad through tunnel vision at one goal. Excited that the last two months have been a non-stop slogging blend of transfer rumors, wearied legs, and mountain-high expectations on a team for years mired in Mike Ashley's mediocrity.

Now, as the competition continues with midweek clashes between the FA cup and Europe present in other teams’ schedules, Newcastle can take one game at a time.

When looking at the schedule through the end of May, it’s worth pointing out that our record in the first fixture among remaining opponents was 8-6-0 the first go around.

While teams strengthened through the January window, the Magpies have avoided major injuries so far. On paper, we have the same players who performed so well earlier this season, and we have a young Anthony Gordon itching to find his place among the starting line-up.

Looking at opponents in the purple, who are clear Champions League contenders, the Toon have four pivotal matches, only one of which resulted in three points last time. Taking that perspective, there’s hope that we can try and replicate the three draws and one victory for equal points. Add in the knowledge that three of these will be played at St James’ Park, and all eyes turn to the away date of Man City this weekend as a final hurdle Newcastle just need to survive so that the squad can take a breath and refocus.

On the other end, there are five matches where Newcastle will be expected to perform well against relegation fodder.

West Ham and Leeds will be expected to park the bus on defense, but at the very least that should inspire Howe to solve the attacking puzzle.

The Hammers, along with Wolves and Everton on Wednesday, illustrated that once the backline is broken, suddenly the dam breaks. hese three teams leaked nine late goals in their last ELP game! Seven came in the second half, while the other two came in the final minutes of the first.

Obviously, some of the earlier Newcastle results relied heavily on Miguel Almiron’s astounding form, but history proves that players like Isak, Bruno, and Wilson can tap into a similar form if they find the right catalyst.

Finally, there will be five contests against the Leicesters and Aston Villas of the league.

In my opinion, these are the most important matchups overall are the ones to yield the most deciding results. Looking back, Newcastle took 15-of-15 points from those competitors the first time around.

The teams here should be relatively safe from relegation but will have motivated players like James Maddison, or managers like Steve Cooper and Unai Emery who will be committed to shaking up the lineups on a whim in order to filter out their anchors for the next season.

It will be imperative that the defensive line and Joelinton/Bruno shut down opposition attacks quickly, which will hopefully lead to mid-game apathy from dangerous teams who will have nothing to play for.

There will be contests over the next few months that will undoubtedly lead to anguish and heartbreak, but there is also hope that we are due for some amazing memories and celebrations in due time.

Tune out the transfer noise for a bit—how are there still daily articles on Jude Bellingham!?— forget Wembley, and let some positivity inspire the Magpies to summit another mountain in Manchester on Saturday.

Then, we’ll begin the final charge towards Europe and a new horizon.