Newcastle approached their Monday Night encounter against West Ham with the possibility of putting the defending champions into the bottom three. Instead, the Magpies managed to slip to the foot of the Premier League themselves, with a 2-0 loss.
There was something rather predictable about Steve McClaren’s men failing to follow Leicester and Bournemouth’s example by keeping the Hammers winless at home. Newcastle are now without victory in nine away games in the top flight, with seven losses.
A target of a top-eight finish has been laid at the new manager’s door after unfamiliar levels of investment into the team during the transfer window. Speaking before the match on Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher indicated a place in the bottom eight seemed more likely.
Ladbrokes concur, making the Geordies the joint-third favourites for relegation at 11/5. Considering the struggles the club is experiencing on the field, it looks a cracking price.
It’s clear that the new boys at St James’ Park, costing over £50m, are still trying to gel, as the entire side tries to adapt to McClaren’s ideals.
Even so, the stats from the first five games make for pretty grim reading. The north east strugglers average the fewest shots per game in the division with seven, and fire just two of those on target, also a league low.
Although those numbers are slightly skewed by the fact the club have received two red cards already, it can hardly be hid behind considering three other clubs have all suffered at least the same fate and have performed better.
It’s not just in attack where concerns rage, but at the back too, where the club allow the third-most shots per match and win the fewest aeriel duels.
McClaren called the West Ham loss a wake-up call and, with Chelsea and Man City to play in the next three league games, the former England manager best hope his players don’t hit the snooze button. That 11/5 price will be far shorter in a month’s time otherwise.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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