Following Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship at the end of last season, an instant return to the Premier League was predicted by almost everyone, and we were right to do so, especially considering they are the most expensive and best team in the 2nd division.
But Rafa Benitez hasn’t found life any easy in the second tier of English football, and here are 3 reasons the erstwhile Real Madrid coach might just miss out on promotion at the end of 2016-17.
Newcastle aren’t favourites to win the league
After 25 rounds of Championship fixtures, Newcastle are 2nd and 2 points behind a Brighton and Hove that have got a game in hand.
Brighton are the favourites to win the division’s league, and that be trouble for Newcastle. Benitez’s charges might slip down to 3rd place come May, leaving them with the playoffs as the only means to secure promotion.
The playoffs are the hardest games in the whole of England!!!
Lack of depth
While Newcastle boast of the most talented started XI, a majority of whom have topflight experiences from different leagues, their lack of equally strong options on the bench has been a problem.
Gayle has the most goals (19) in the Championship, but both Newcastle’s backup strikers have only 6 in between them. Shelvey has been missing for the last 4 games following a 5-match ban, and the team has managed just a win in the midfielder’s absence.
That lack of depth is killing their mission, and it might be a reason they fail to secure Premier League promotion.
They have been largely underwhelming
How impressive is a team with 7 losses already as the most crucial half of the campaign starts?
Of all top 7 teams on the division’s log, only Leeds (8) have lost more matches than Newcastle. Brighton have lost just twice, while 3rd place Reading, 6. With the likes
Newcastle haven’t been impressive. They might have scored the most goals (48), but conceding 18 – the 3rd best record, says a lot of their form.