Newcastle United Season 2013
Tracking Newcastle United’s progress this season could be a nail biting one for Magpies fans. After landing a tremendous fifth placed finish in last season’s Premier League, it has been a very different story for Alan Pardew’s men this time around. Unable to build upon their great team spirit and organisation last season, Newcastle have gradually found themselves sucked further and further down towards the black hole of the relegation zone. The Magpies have tumbled into some bad form this season and were dealt a further blow with top striker Demba Ba departing St James’ Park to head south to London to join up with Chelsea.
So the only interest that Newcastle are going to have in the Premier League this season, is trying to avoid relegation. At the end of 2012 they were showing the form of a relegation-bound team though, and that makes them a decent value option as an outside bet to take the drop down to the Championship. But on the back of their great Premier League season in 2011/12 they do have some chance of silverware in their grasp in the form of the Europa League. Manager Alan Pardew plotted their progress through the group stage of the competition with understrength sides, which was good enough to get the qualification job done. There will naturally be tougher tasks down the line for them.
Newcastle have a tie against Metalist from the Ukraine in the first knockout round, a club which Alan Pardew said that Newcastle know nothing about, having never met before. What could carry Newcastle far in the Europa League is their great home form in Europe. Ahead of the knockout stage, the Magpies were unbeaten in their last 11 European home matches and in the Europa League specifically, they have not lost at home in their last 25 games. That is the kind of home stronghold that could get them far. It could be the only bright spark in a generally disappointing season for them, but will the competition serve as a distraction with a threat of relegation hanging over them?
Along with plenty of suffering over the first half of the Premier League season, in which Magpies fans have not had much to cheer about, there has been more misery heaped on them in domestic cup competitions. For the second season in a row, Newcastle fell victim to Championship side Brighton in the FA Cup as the Premier League side were bundled out of the competition. The Magpies had also suffered a defeat in their first League Cup match this season, losing at Old Trafford against Manchester United. So the Europa League represents their final chance of silverware this season.