Newcastle will go into the final game of the season relying on other teams to slip up if they are to make the top four of the Premier League. The Magpies ended their home campaign with a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City who now appear dead certs to end their long wait for a league title. It was a disappointing result to end a fine season of football on Tyneside but there was no effort lacking in a spirited performance. Newcastle must now beat Everton in the final game of the season and hope that either Arsenal or Tottenham Hotspur slip up as well. The two London clubs both dropped points this weekend but the Magpies were unable to capitalise when they needed to most.
Sunday’s game was the one of the most important in the two teams’ recent histories with a win necessary for both sides. The first-half was a tight affair as the two teams did not look to over-commit too many players when going forward. The second-half became much more open as time progressed with the opening goal always going to be crucial in deciding the outcome. It was not too much of surprise that the visitors took the lead given their control of the game and superior quality in their starting line-up. For much of the match Newcastle tried to soak up the league leaders’ attacks and then hit back on the break whenever possible. However going 1-0 behind they had no choice but to go all out for an equaliser which meant they were always going to be vulnerable to counter-attacks which proved to be the case.
There could be few complaints about the final score-line as City were deserved victors and likely champions. It is now a long time since the Magpies tasted victory over the blue half of Manchester and it is unlikely to get any easier any time soon. On the evidence of this game Newcastle are not a million miles from City but there would need to be significant spending on the squad in the summer if they are to become championship contenders. Under the current management that is unlikely so the most important thing will be keep hold on their key players and continue to unearth gems at reasonable prices.
Manager Alan Pardew still believes his side can make the Champions League places with their rivals both facing potentially tricky fixtures. Arsenal travel to West Bromwich Albion on the last day while Tottenham host Fulham. The fact that Newcastle are still challenging going into May is a massive achievement and the players and staff were given a warm reception after the final whistle. Pardew told Sky
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