While it may seem negligent to criticize a team for not having relentless victories this year, after battling relegation for most of the campaign last season, the nature of competitive sport is that goals are inherently volatile.

It performs well against early expectations and naturally thoughts turn to what kind of magnificence can be achieved. Poor performance by a distance and avoiding relegation alone, especially in English football, can quickly become very important.

Against Newcastle Unitedtop 16 Premier League In matches this period, they’ve only lost once, keeping enough clean sheets to have the best defense of the best flight, and a reputation for being tough and offensive to play against.

Eddie HoweAfter some consistent performances, Miguel Almiron had the best season of his career – at least on this side of the Atlantic – and others such as Liverpool and Chelsea failed to hit the expected highs. from them.

But it’s been a very different story since the World Cup break. On Boxing Day, the Magpies hit Leicester three times; they have since won the league only once in 2023, losing back-to-back games in competition for the first time and losing the occasional cup final. While the performance levels don’t fully prove that this makes the wheels drop, there’s one particular area of ​​the team that’s definitely causing problems: Newcastle’s attack.

After a 2-0 loss to Man City on Saturday, the Magpies failed to score in three consecutive losses by the same score. In their last 13 in all competitions, they have only managed to score twice in the same match – both in the League Cup. They have not scored in six games in the same period and have only had three goals in the last eight in the league, one goal every 240 minutes.

Simply put, their batting rate isn’t enough to keep them in the top four fight.

This does not mean that they do not create luck. There were a handful of openings in the League Cup final that could have been kinder to Man United. Losing at home to Liverpool, Howe’s side hit the board twice and was rejected by goalkeeper Alisson in one-on-one situations.

And here, against Man City in particular, three big chances should have paid off: Callum Wilson made a great opening in the middle of the penalty area but only grazed the ball, Sean Longstaff was rejected by a close-range sliding block or two, and Joelinton failed to make any connections, not the slightest bit. one touch would definitely see the ball finish in the net.

It’s also worth noting that these three consecutive defeats are against the sides that have come or are towards the top of the table. There are easier matches ahead, but some of the recent dismal run has come against teams like Leeds, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth.

Worries are rising. A January transfer window with Newcastle incapable of midfield initially seemed like the bigger problem; instead, it seems problematic to sign Anthony Gordon for the big money and not see it pay immediate dividends. An airstrike on the way to goal in the first half summed up his lack of impact so far.

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In 2023, Newcastle scored seven out of many matches with just one win. Meanwhile, Liverpool have racked up 11 points out of eight and Brighton just 11 points out of six, as new year’s top four rivals Tottenham have scored 15 points out of nine. Of course, they’ll all be playing later in the weekend, but they’ll all be playing St. He scores points at a much higher rate than James’ Park club.

If the results go against them, Newcastle could be seventh by Monday night and Fulham could well be ahead of them even though they’ve played more than the rest of this club group.

The manager will show, as always, that he cannot influence the results of other teams and will only focus on improving his own team.

But after such a great form run early in the campaign, Newcastle’s first full season under Howe would certainly feature a cup slope as well as European qualifications.

In the second, they fell short; If Howe isn’t going to watch the same happen to the first one, he must quickly resolve his issues in the attack.