After a shocking start to the 2014-15 season, Newcastle United subsequently won six games on the bounce to save Alan Pardew his job. But after their incredible purple patch, the Magpies have just lost their last three league and cup matches – shipping nine goals in the process.
On Sunday, Newcastle suffered a hugely disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Sunderland – courtesy of a last-gasp Adam Johnson goal in the Tyne and Wear derby. So what’s the mystery behind Newcastle’s inconsistent season so far?
It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was hanging onto employment by a thread, and his sacking seemed an inevitability. But after a respectable 2-2 draw at Swansea City in early-October, the Magpies won six games on the trot in all competitions – including memorable wins over Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool – Pardew’s side also became the only side to beat Chelsea this season, with a 2-1 win at St James’ Park just a fortnight ago.
But after their unbelievable turnaround in fortunes, the Magpies have just lost their last three matches in all competitions, and they have also suffered four defeats in six games. After a disappointing 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates, Pardew’s side travelled to White Hart Lane in a Capital One Cup quarter-final.
The Magpies, who expertly beat Manchester City at the Etihad (2-0) in the previous round, travelled to Spurs full of hope and expectation. The Newcastle fans genuinely believed they had a realistic chance of a domestic trophy for the first time since 1955. But an extremely disappointing night in north London put paid to any League Cup trophy aspirations they had, as Pardew’s side were deservedly beaten 4-0.
Then just to compound the Magpies’ recent misery, Newcastle’s bitter rivals Sunderland beat them at St James’ park on Sunday – for the third straight season in a row – with former Newcastle ball-boy Adam Johnson getting a 90th minute winner. The result topped off an extremely disappointing week for the Magpies, who were celebrating their best win of the season (over Chelsea) just two weeks ago.
So what has all of a sudden gone wrong at St James’ Park? Newcastle United’s season can only be described as a rollercoaster ride so far. So many highs and lows, and we’re not even halfway through the campaign yet. But Newcastle fans are no strangers to disappointment. Often described as the biggest club to have gone so long without winning a trophy, the Magpies can only realistically turn their hope towards the FA Cup now this season. The Toon travel to Old Trafford on Boxing Day, before consecutive home games against Everton and Burnley respectively. Then Pardew takes his troops to Leicester, to kick-start their FA Cup exploits on January 3rd.
Year in, year out, Newcastle United always seem to flatter to deceive, and you have to feel for their loyal fans. They are also arguably the most unpredictable side in the league. Just over two-and-a-half months ago, the Magpies were in the relegation zone, now they’re in ninth, after being as high as fifth. It really has been a remarkable season already and whether fans like it or not – there’s rarely a dull moment at St James’ Park.