The COVID outbreak at Newcastle United has played an interesting role in modifying the team’s schedule.
First, and foremost, let me start this article by making it clear that I am NOT happy about the recent COVID outbreak that forced Newcastle United to close the training ground and postpone last week’s game.
It is an unfortunate incident that could have had severe ramifications on the players’ and staff’s health, but luckily no issues were reported.
Instead, the aim of this article is to highlight that the quarantine actually aided Newcastle United in enjoying a more lenient schedule. The postponed game against Aston Villa could have gone either way, but Aston Villa’s style of play would have caused problems for the Toon.
Moreover, a negative result would have halted the momentum Newcastle United gained from their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace the week before. With Aston Villa out of the picture until a later date, the Magpies can build on their latest victory against a struggling West Brom side.
The Premier League is full of surprises, so anything can happen, but the expectation among fans and pundits is for Newcastle United to take all three points at St. James’ Park. West Brom are experiencing a major crisis, and their statistics this season are a reflection of their problems on both ends of the pitch.
That being said, tomorrow’s game presents Newcastle United with a good opportunity to claim back-to-back wins for the first time since the end of last season, and to develop some consistency heading into what will be the Magpies’ most intriguing matchup of the season – Leeds United.
With the other 19 teams in the Premier League, Newcastle United know what they are up against, but Leeds United are a different animal. Marcelo Bielsa is all about playing attacking, entertaining football.
In other words, the newly-promoted side are capable of claiming a big victory, so the more confidence Newcastle United have going into that game, the better they will perform.
Of course, all this talk about momentum, back-to-back wins, and developing consistency would go out the window if West Brom pull off an upset on Tyneside, but this is a rare occasion where I am confident in Newcastle United getting the job done.
A victory tomorrow might not be all that impressive on paper since it would be against a relegation-threatened opponent, but it could go a long way in ensuring that more positive results against Leeds United, Fulham, and Brentford (EFL Cup Quarter-final) follow suit.
With four big games against Manchester City, Liverpool, Leicester City, and Arsenal (FA Cup) at the end of this month and early in January, a good run of form leading up to that difficult stretch of fixtures will be critical.