We thought this would be a good time to ask a few questions once again of Newcastle United fans, some of those who are regular / irregular contributors to The Mag.
We are set to head out of this international break and the final eight weeks of the 2022/23 Premier League season lie ahead, 12 matches that will decide our fate.
Next up answering some questions is Simon Ritter.
The three Newcastle United players, in order of preference, you would most like to see stay fit and available for all the remaining 12 matches?
Alexander Isak could be the biggest factor in our surge towards a Champions League berth.
He’s starting to remind me of Torres in his first season at Liverpool and Henry in his pomp at Arsenal. Opponents don’t know whether our Swedish striker will go left or right, whether he will run or pass, whether he will accelerate or slam on the brakes. As a devout atheist, I’m not one for praying, but I fervently hope he plays every game in the next two months.
Bruno G at 100% is a huge plus. His ability on and off the ball has been instrumental in the reborn Newcastle United.
Nick Pope will almost certainly need to show he’s England’s No1 (again) between now and the end of the season. Clubs desperate to overtake us and clubs desperate to prolong their stay in the Premier League will not be shot-shy.
Which three PL clubs do you think will be relegated?
Nine contenders separated by four points; it’s almost pin-sticking time. The logical answer is to name the current bottom three but football is full of illogicalities.
Palace and Forest have each taken only two points from their past six games. Without a swift upturn they are doomed. I can’t see Hodgson producing a new-manager bounce. Cooper is losing players to injury and suspension.
Bournemouth, despite their great win against Liverpool, are the third pick.
The others all have a get-out-of-jail card: Bowen at West Ham, Ward-Prowse at Southampton, Maddison at Leicester, Dyche at Everton, Gnonto at Leeds, Neves at Wolves.
At the end of the season when reflecting on how it has gone, how important (or not) do you think these late wins over Wolves and Forest will prove to be?
Not only the six points, the momentum and belief we should gain from two late winners. Isak is on fire and, fingers crossed, will go from strength to strength.
Predict win, lose or draw for the remaining 12 matches –
WIN Man U home
WIN West Ham away
LOSE Brentford away
WIN Villa away
WIN Spurs home
DRAW Everton away
WIN Southampton home
WIN Arsenal home
WIN Leeds away
WIN Leicester home
DRAW Chelsea away
WIN Brighton Home
If needing a win in final home game v Leicester to guarantee top four, what would your Newcastle eleven be?
Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Bruno G, Willock, Almiron, Isak, Anderson
That’s harsh on Joelinton but we’ve won the three matches he’s missed through suspension this season.
If needing a point at Chelsea in very final game of the season to get top four, would your team be same as the one above, or if not, what changes?
Replace Anderson with Joelinton because of Big Joe’s greater experience and physicality. I can see Chelsea trying to bully us at Stamford Bridge.
Your thoughts looking back on Carabao final (anything you want to talk about, on and off the pitch)?
Small margins. The winners score two, we scored none. A week later they were the better team until conceding at Anfield. And look what happened then . . . As for off-the-field, there were only one set of winners at Wembley. And they weren’t wearing red tops.
How important does this upcoming Man U match feel, compared to other big / important NUFC matches of recent times?
Eddie Howe is right when he says the next match is the most important. What’s gone is gone. Don’t dwell on the past, just learn from mistakes so that next time you do things better.
Having said all that, at 4.30pm on Sunday my pulse will be a lot higher than normal. This is a six-pointer in all but name.
This game is as important as the win at Naming Rights Here Stadium, because these are the two teams most likely to prevent us ending in third or fourth this season.
Magic button – By end of summer 2024, would you rather have a 70,000 capacity St James’ Park or Carabao Cup trophy?
A bigger stadium, though not because of the extra revenue, which is far less important than TV payments.
A 70,000 capacity would allow the return of all those fans who walked away to force Ashley out.
A trophy would be great but, come on, we haven’t won anything substantial in 54 years. Why break the habit of a lifetime?
Fans of the most successful club in the Premier League era moaned like hell when they went six seasons without a trophy.
Fans of another club drove out the manager who had given them the most entertaining football they had ever seen while winning plenty of silverware, including the Double.
Success means different things to different folk. We have so much to applaud, even without a trophy. Being loud and being proud is good enough for me.
What would now count as success for you in the next five years for NUFC?
Further progress. Eddie and Co building on the great foundations they have already laid.
As a fan, looking forward with excitement rather than dread to the next game.
And because I’m greedy, seeing half-a-dozen local lads strutting their stuff in the Champions League for Newcastle United FC.