SEASON REVIEW: A timeline of a difficult Newcastle United season
It was a difficult Newcastle United season under Steve Bruce which saw them recover from being in a relegation battle to finish 12th.
The manager has faced many critics this season but he guided them to their second best finish since 2013/14 after some late season form.
At one stage, it looked like Newcastle may have a winner-takes-all final game against Fulham but it transpired to be a very meaningless contest thanks to a run of 5 wins in their last 8 games.
We look at a timeline of a difficult Newcastle United season
12th September: The first game of the season was one of Newcastle’s best results as they impressively beat West Ham United 2-0 at the London Stadium. Jeff Hendrick got a goal and assist and you would never have believed it would be West Ham who would go on to qualify for Europe.
20th September: Just 8 days later, Newcastle fans were needing to re-assess as Brighton took them apart and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at St James’ Park
3rd October: After a last minute equaliser at Spurs, Newcastle showed an attacking threat rarely seen in the last few years against Burnley with Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson impressing in a 3-1 win. However, Saint-Maximin picked up an injury that left him on the sidelines for a long time. Newcastle were 6th in the table but couldn’t sustain it.
21st November: A desperately toothless performance saw Chelsea run out comfortable 2-0 winners at St James’ Park.
27th November: Bruce says Newcastle are starting to see the real Joelinton after the much-maligned Brazilian grabbed a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace. Newcastle were in 10th place in the league.
Two months of misery
16th December: A coronavirus outbreak meant Newcastle’s game against Aston Villa was called off and the training ground shut with Saint-Maximin reportedly one of the players most affected. They returned with a win against West Brom but then went on a miserable run, beginning with a 5-2 loss at Leeds as Marcelo Bielsa’s men outfought Bruce’s team.
12th January: Tough games against Manchester City, Liverpool and Leicester City over Christmas produced no victories but the most miserable result was at Sheffield United. The Blades had not won a single game all season until playing Newcastle. Ryan Fraser was sent off for Newcastle before Billy Sharp scored a penalty to give Sheffield United a 1-0 win. Pressure mounted on Bruce as Newcastle fall to 15th.
26th January: The reverse fixture against Leeds brought another defeat and made it 9 games without a victory, leaving Newcastle 16th, only 6 points clear of the drop zone having played a game more.
Dragged into relegation battle
6th February: After ending their dismal run by beating Everton 2-0, Newcastle were then able to win a thrilling encounter with Southampton. January signing Joe Willock scored and Miguel Almiron got a double in a 3-2 win as Newcastle played the last 18 minutes with 9 men. However, this was just some light relief.
21st February: After defeat to Chelsea, Newcastle went to Old Trafford and took the lead but couldn’t hold on and ended up losing 3-1. Some good results from Fulham meant Newcastle were now only 3 points clear of the relegation zone.
20th March: Ryan Fraser says ‘the mood is the lowest it’s been’ after Brighton take apart Newcastle for a second time in a season, beating them 3-0 at The Amex. Newcastle are left in 17th, only 2 points clear of the relegation zone having played a game more.
11th April: The game that arguably turned Newcastle’s season was away at Burnley. Losing 1-0 at half-time, Saint-Maximin came off the bench to set up Jacob Murphy to equalise before then scoring the winner himself.
17th April: Newcastle come out the right side of a cracker against European-chasing West Ham. Bruce’s men led 2-0 against 10 men but conceded two goals in three minutes to be dragged back to 2-2 before Joe Willock bags the winner. Newcastle rise to 15th, nine points clear of the relegation zone.
24th April: Willock is again the man as he bags a late equaliser to give Newcastle a deserved draw at Anfield against Liverpool.
7th May: Newcastle all but seal safety with a phenomenal attacking performance at Champions League-challenging Leicester City. Willock, Wilson and Saint-Maximin run riot and it is a bit of redemption for Bruce who consistently spoke about being judged with a fully-fit squad.
23rd May: The Newcastle United season concludes with a 2-0 victory over Fulham with Willock scoring for a seventh consecutive game. The win means the Magpies secure a 12th-placed finish and closer to the European places than relegation.
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