While some of those matches won’t be as straightforward as the blue hue suggests, the Magpies do avoid any team that finished eighth or above in the Premier League last season.
Should we be targeting Newcastle players with our FPL transfers, then, and how much should we be worried about UEFA Champions League involvement and their recent defeats?
We delve deeper into Eddie Howe’s side in this Premium Members article.
THE NEXT SIX FIXTURES
|GW||Opponent||xG rank (2023/24 to date)||xG rank (2022/23)||xGC rank (2023/24 to date)||xGC rank (2022/23)|
We’re only four Gameweeks into the season, so there’s the usual caveat about a small sample of data.
But already we’re seeing some striking similarities to 2022/23 when it comes to the underlying numbers.
Brentford are up there with the big boys when it comes to both expected goals (xG) and expected goals conceded (xGC), as they were last year. They’re actually top for xG in the current campaign, helped by some favourable fixtures and two penalties. Perhaps delaying the transfer of a Newcastle player by a week wouldn’t be the worst idea.
West Ham United are a mid-table model of consistency, while Crystal Palace have for some time now posted impressive numbers at the back.
Newly promoted Burnley and Sheffield United are already languishing at the wrong end of the Opta tables but the Clarets have had a tough opening run of games, in their defence.
RESULTS IN 2022/23’s CORRESPONDING FIXTURES
|Opponent||2022/23 result (Newcastle’s score first)||Newcastle’s xG||Newcastle’s xGC|
|West Ham (a)||5-1||3.29||0.98|
|C Palace (h)||0-0||2.83||1.01|
For what last season’s fixtures are worth (two of the teams are now under new management), Newcastle were consistent at the back when it came to xGC and creative at the other end of the field.
The Magpies caught Brentford and West Ham at good times, both of their opponents making some high-profile blunders (very uncharacteristically in Brentford’s case) en route to 5-1 thrashings.
Howe’s troops were undefeated against newly promoted clubs, beating Fulham and Nottingham Forest home and away and drawing in both meetings with Bournemouth.
THE SEASON SO FAR – NO NEED TO PANIC JUST YET?
Three defeats on the spin have put a dampener on Newcastle assets before their upcoming fixture run.
A quick look at last season’s corresponding results, however, reveals that there is actually little difference in the numbers:
|2023/24 result||Newcastle’s xG||Newcastle’s xGC||2022/23 result||Newcastle’s xG||Newcastle’s xGC|
|v Aston Villa (h)||5-1||3.41||1.77||4-0||3.44||0.37|
|v Man City (a)||0-1||0.29||1.01||0-2||0.43||1.34|
|v Liverpool (h)||1-2||1.99||0.88||0-2||2.04||1.87|
|v Brighton (a)||1-3||1.23||1.30||0-0||0.22||1.50|
There were comprehensive beatings of Aston Villa in both seasons, as well as narrow defeats at the Etihad in which Newcastle set out to frustrate their hosts.
And while the Magpies got a goalless draw at the Amex in 2022/23, anyone who saw the game would tell you that they were hugely fortunate to do so. The Seagulls were all over their visitors, who had only four shots all match and survived three big chances against them.
The big difference is the circumstances surrounding the Liverpool fixtures. Last season, 10-man Newcastle were plucky in defeat – although they were already 2-0 down by the time Nick Pope (£5.5m) saw red. In this campaign, the Magpies somehow managed to turn a goal and a man advantage into a 2-1 loss.
All in all, though, there is really not that much dissimilarity between this season and last.