Newcastle Club Focus - Europa League a step closer for Magpies
Newcastle enjoyed a successful weekend despite never kicking a ball in anger. Thanks to Liverpool’s victory over Everton in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, the Magpies now just need to finish in the top six to secure a Europa League place for next season. It is perhaps ironic that Newcastle’s chances have improved due to a goal scored from the much-vilified Andy Carroll. Currently ten points separate sixth from seventh but with only five games left in the season it would take a big ask for a team to gatecrash the top six positions. While the news is a boost, fifth placed Newcastle must not be distracted from their hopes of finishing in the Champions League positions.
Looking at the remaining fixtures of the season Alan Pardew’s side face a tough looking run-in. Their next game is a home match against Stoke where a win would all but secure a top six finish for the end of the season. After that the last four games are all against sides with plenty to play for. Newcastle will play consecutive away games against in-form Wigan and rivals Chelsea in the space of a few days. They then host Manchester City in their final home match of the season with Roberto Mancini’s side potentially still in with a shot at the title. The Magpies’ campaign ends on the 13th May, away to Everton. Depending how results fall, Everton could still mathematically catch the Magpies when this game comes around.
Alan Pardew has once again underlined the club’s plans to become self-sufficient and successful at the same time. Newcastle has made no secret of their strategy to sign young, talented players at a cheap price and then sell them on for a large profit. So far it is has been successful with the club improving season-on-season and also just about to break even. In an interview with the Sunday Mirror the manager said: "From day one I've tried to be open and honest about the financial model we're operating. I understood the fans' initial resentment. Mike set out to make Newcastle self-financing and I knew exactly what that framework entailed when I took the job in December 2010." Pardew added: "They know that in certain circumstances we will sell players."
There are certainly plenty of players who have captured the attention of other teams this season. The players most likely to become the subject of media speculation in the summer include midfielder Cheik Tiote and striker Demba Ba. Arguably however, there are now few clubs in the country that would be seen as a step up from Newcastle. If European football can be secured, then it would be another step in the right direction. While it is likely that at least one big name will depart this summer, given the club’s current high success in the transfer market, fans should not be too alarmed.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Newcastle v Stoke