Have Newcastle United already secured Premier League safety? That and more discussed in our Magpies Q&A
How safe is Newcastle United’s Premier League status? Is 36 points enough – or do they need to do a little more work?
In our latest Toon Trending Topic we look at the future of Joe Willock, Steve Bruce’s Callum Wilson decision and the club’s top flight relegation battle prospects with writers Miles Starforth, Liam Kennedy and Jordan Cronin.
Are Newcastle United already safe – or is there still work to do?
MS: “In all likelihood, 36 points will be enough to keep the club in the Premier League, though there’s still work left to do. Another win should put everything to bed, but fans will want the team to push to the end. Bruce, for his part, wants to better last season’s 44-point total, a figure we all thought was the bare minimum at the start of the campaign.”
LK: “Using logic, yes. They were probably safe before they even picked up a point at Liverpool. Fourth bottom Fulham on current form will reach between 30-32 points. Even with a positive end to the season by their standards they will only reach 35-ish. West Brom look dead and buried.”
JC: “Usually 35 points is enough to keep teams up so theoretically yes, 36 should be fine. That said, I still feel there is a little more work to do. Newcastle, I feel, need one more victory to guarantee safety themselves and It’d be more than ideal if it arrived before the Sheffield United game to avoid last-minute nerves. Arsenal is winnable but Manchester City and Leicester are so tough.”
How many points do you think the Magpies will pick up between now and the end of the season?
MS: “That’s a tough one, as the club has some tough games. The team’s form this month has been encouraging, and I don’t think five or six points from the remaining six games is unrealistic.”
LK: “Five points has to be the target. And I think they will get that from the Arsenal, Sheffield United and Fulham games.”
JC: “I’ll be a tad ambitious here and go for nine. I think they’ll beat Arsenal on Sunday and defeat Sheffield United and Fulham comfortably if there is nothing riding on those fixtures.”
Should Steve Bruce recall Callum Wilson?
MS: “Yes. Joelinton, certainly, has had his moments during Wilson’s time out of the team, but Bruce needs to field his strongest team now the striker’s proved his fitness. Wilson is ready to start - and he needs to be recalled.”
LK: “I would argue Joelinton is probably in his best run of form since signing for Newcastle. But he lacks that yard of pace, the sharpness and the goal threat of Wilson. I’d have brought Wilson back last week, so for me his return is at least eight days too late.”
JC: “Yes, absolutely. Joelinton deserves praise for his improved performances but Wilson is a different kettle of fish. Pace, power and goals. Bruce needs his best players on the pitch and Wilson fits that category.:
Takeover or no takeover, would you look to sign Joe Willock for next season?
MS: “That would depend on the deal on the table. Willock’s done very, very well for the club since arriving at St James’s Park, and his performances will surely have inflated his price. He’s got to be a summer target for Newcastle, but Arsenal’s valuation must be realistic.”
LK: “Yes. I think he is a player United should look to tie down, any which way they can. If it is a permanent deal with a big cash layout, they may well be struggling.”
JC: “Without question, I’d love to see Willock sign permanently. If there is a deal there to be had, at the right price, do it. If £20million is indeed the asking price – pay it. He’s worth it. Willock is still only 21 so fits Mike Ashley’s usual transfer policy to a T.”
Who comes into the squad to replace the ineligible Arsenal loan midfielder this weekend?
MS: “I think there needs to be a couple of changes on the bench. Matty Longstaff should replace Willock on the bench, and, assuming he’s suffered no ill-effects from his comeback for the Under-23s, Fabian Schar should be a substitute ahead of Emil Krafth.”
LK: “I’d love to see Elliot Anderson back, but next in line has to be Matty Longstaff, unless, of course, Fabian Schar is given the nod on the bench.”
JC: “Matty Longstaff. I really don’t enjoy seeing a young, talented local lad overlooked. I’d be tempted to throw Schar straight back into the starting XI as Ciaran Clark has been surprisingly poor in recent weeks.”
Result and score prediction...
MS: “I’m tempted to go for a win in the wake of this month’s performances and results, but I’m going to temper my optimism and, for the second successive game, go for a 1-1 draw.”
LK: “I fancy Newcastle this weekend. It feels like they’ve got the momentum. I’m going for a 2-1 win for the Magpies against a likely Europa League-weary Arsenal.”
JC: “Arsenal tend to do OK away from home but I’m feeling a Newcastle win. Hopefully, their trip to Spain on Thursday will take a lot of out them. 3-1.”
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