October 7, 2021, is a date firmly etched on the minds of every Newcastle fan when the club was finally sold to the Staveley-led, PIF-backed consortium.
Finally, the fans got their club – Newcastle United back and they were free from the servitude of the much-maligned owner Mike Ashley.
Since this joyous day on Tyneside in October 2021, the landscape and fortunes of Newcastle have changed dramatically, the same can be said for the objectives of Howe and his players, and staff, from fighting for the right to remain in the Premier League that season, to challenging for Europe and top four spot a year later.
After Sunday’s momentous display by the Magpies, defeating Brighton 4-1 in a highly energetic and emotive match, three points now stand between Newcastle entering the Champions League next season.
This is night and day in comparison to Club’s game week 36 fixture last season, with the Magpies experiencing a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City the title clinchers that year. The Magpies put in a disciplined, yet hardworking performance but were ultimately undone by the ruthless efficiency of the sky-blues.
In game week 37, Newcastle faced Arsenal in a highly energetic and aggressive affair in which the Magpies came out as 2-0 winners which was a deserved win by Howe’s team.
Undoubtedly, at this stage, Toon fans and football fans, in general, began to see the changes tactically in an evolving Newcastle team, but more significantly the shift in performance and passion which was epitomized by players, such as a new addition Guimarães; all credit to the impact of manager Eddie Howe.
Likewise, Arsenal head coach Arteta had remarked how well-earned the victory was -“they were 100 times better than us”.
Looking ahead to the game week 37 fixture this season, the Magpies prepare to face Leicester at home on Monday night. With St James’ Park likely to be buoyant coming off the back of the crucial Brighton win.
However, the prospect of facing Leicester is entirely different from the Arsenal match from last season when the opposition gave a lackluster display.
Leicester on the other hand, will likely be desperately fighting to secure three points on Monday, as their Premier League survival depends on it, a reverse of the situation the clubs found themselves in 2016.
The final day of the season sees the Toon Army travel to the capital to face Chelsea, which could be an unpredictable, yet tricky matchup at Stamford Bridge, especially considering the patchy form and inconsistency shown by the Blues this season. However, with the confidence and nous that Howe’s Newcastle has shown this season, a result for the traveling team is not out of the question.
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The Magpies will hope they can repeat the performance of the final game of the 2021/22 season when capped off an impressive 2-1 victory away to a battling Burnley, thanks to a brace from their number nine Callum Wilson.