Draw at San Siro: What does it mean for Newcastle’s chances in the Group Stage?

AC Milan v Newcastle United FC: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
AC Milan v Newcastle United FC: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images) /

On Tuesday, Newcastle made the trip to San Siro for their first Champions League match in 20 years. Eddie Howe’s squad took on last year’s Champions League semi-finalist, AC Milan, and the Magpies battled the Red and Blacks to a draw.

The tactics of the match have been thoroughly analyzed, and we’re now going to ask what that result means for Newcastle’s chances to make it out of the group stage. Does a draw in an away match actually increase a team’s chances or is it just two points lost?

In the 2022-23 Champions League group stage, nine of the sixteen teams that advanced to the knockout stage had at least one away draw. Five of those teams took only four total points from away matches, and another two teams ended with just five total points from away matches.

The obvious meaning of those numbers is that the Magpies could take a huge step in securing a place in the knockout stage by taking three points from at least one of their remaining away matches–7 November in Dortmund and 28 November in Paris.

The not so obvious meaning is that while the draw at San Siro is not ideal, it’s also not trivial. Newcastle needs just four points from their remaining two away fixtures to equal or surpass the total away points of seven of last year’s sixteen teams in the knockout stage.

The group stage is sure to have plenty of twists and turns, and at this point you can’t rule out any team, but the draw at San Siro is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for Newcastle.

In Group F’s other game on Tuesday, PSG defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at Parc des Princes, which places PSG atop Group F for the time being. Dortmund will look to secure some much needed points in their next away match when they travel to St. James’ Park on 25 October.

However, before that matchup, Newcastle will host PSG on 4 October, and Eddie Howe will look to lead the Magpies to the top of Group F with a win. It’s sure to be a magical night as the Champions League returns to St. James’ Park.