The worrying recent trend that may concern Newcastle United, Arsenal, Leeds United and Norwich City fans
Newcastle United have conceded eight goals in just three Premier League matches this season.
After shipping four goals in the season opener against West Ham, Aston Villa and Southampton compounded United’s defensive misery with two goals apiece.
Steve Bruce, speaking on Total Sport after the defeat to West Ham admitted that he wanted to see improvements in Newcastle’s back-line:
“Of course we’re always trying to improve and I, personally, think we have to improve defensively.
“We’ve conceded far too many goals, we’ve conceded four already this season and it’s something I think we need to address next.”
Newcastle supporters may debate whether they have seen improvements or not, however, what is not up for debate is the worrying trend over the past three seasons which may forecast doom and gloom at St James’s Park in May.
That’s because, of the last five teams to concede eight or more goals after their first three Premier League matches, four have been relegated.
Two sides last season met this fate with both Fulham, who conceded ten, and West Brom, who conceded eleven goals after three games, relegated back to the Championship.
Both of these teams were relegated rather comfortably last season, registering just 28 and 26 points after 38 games respectively.
This was preceded by Norwich City who, despite a 3-1 victory over a hapless Newcastle, conceded eight after their first three games back in the Premier League and were also relegated fairly easily, grabbing just 21 points.
Huddersfield Town fared even worse the season prior as they were relegated with a meagre 16 points - they conceded nine goals in their opening three games.
The only team in the last three seasons to have survived relegation after conceding eight goals or more in their first three games was West Ham in 2018/19.
Fans will probably admit that West Ham’s survival didn’t look assured for the majority of the season but four wins from their last four games steered them clear of any trouble.
Newcastle supporters will hope their team can follow the trend set by the Hammers and stop the leaking of goals, quickly.
As it stands, Newcastle are not currently in the relegation zone and supporters may draw hope from that, however, the trends also show that this may not necessarily mean everything will be ok.
Both West Brom last season and Norwich in 2018/19 were outside the relegation zone after three games - and we know how their season’s panned out in the end.
Newcastle aren’t alone this season however, as Leeds United, Arsenal and Norwich City all join the Toon in the group of teams to have conceded at least eight league goals already.
Bruce’s side are certainly by no means condemned to relegation, there’s plenty of football still to be played and plenty of time for Bruce and his coaching staff to improve this record - but this needs to start soon and against some very tough opposition.
Let’s hope that Newcastle are an ‘exception’ rather than ‘the rule’ come May.