Newcastle United’s away form mystery, what’s changed and how they fix vital Premier League factor

Right. this is it. Crunch time. Whenever Newcastle United venture over the Tyne Bridge they are in grave danger of suffering a nose bleed.

Ten Premier League defeats in 16 days out is a record more akin to a team fending off the fear of a relegation punch up rather than chasing European qualification. Yet facts are facts and it is the reason a visit to Turf Moor, often this season viewed as an open invitation, instead takes on a cloak of apprehension.

It is ridiculous really with Burnley still entombed in the PL dungeon second from bottom but then any fear factor on Tyneside is heightened by the fact that United’s destiny is about to be decided on the road with three of their remaining four fixtures away.

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Having just sent Sheffield United back from whence they came a second hero manager is facing the same rough treatment at the hands of the Magpies. Vincent Kompany, touted as a super boss of the future after Burnley strode imperiously to the Championship title, could follow Chris Wilder, a legend around Bramall Lane who was dispatched down the chute by United last Saturday.

However the Mags were at home then. Now they are about to travel. What is the difference? Attitude. Application. Courage. Defiance. Determination. Concentration. All of those things and more, most of which are in the mind.

United will need to find every single one of those attributes because Kompany will believe his Clarets can still get out of a mess they have found themselves in all campaign after winning two and drawing five of their last eight games. They will match Newcastle for mental toughness and therefore any weakness will be exploited.

St James’ Park is not quite the fortress it once was of course. Those of lesser position in the table like Nottingham Forest won here, while Luton, Bournemouth, and Everton managed draws but, my, without the points gathering backed by the support of the faithful United would not be in the frame for Europe.

The startling difference between where games are played is best reflected in the fact that United are fourth top of the home table but are a lowly 15th out of 20 in the away standings.

Those away day blues HAVE to end because after visiting Burnley we have Brighton arriving to drop the curtain at the cathedral on the hill, and then back to back travel to Manchester United and Brentford.

Eddie Howe admitted he was “baffled” and therefore surprised at United’s last performance on the hoof at Crystal Palace, a meek 2-0 surrender to a team well below them in the league.

The reason why Desperate Dans at home turn into Jelly Babies away is in theory baffling. Why should it make so much difference? After all, it is still 11 v 11. The answer is: the fans. Their relentless vocal support often turns ordinary players into super humans but equally they can diminish and strike fear in the opposition through the sheer wall of noise while often subconsciously influencing officials with their constant howling at what they perceive as every wrong decision.

It is also very much mental as so much of elite sport is. Some players can be beaten before they plant a stud on foreign soil. It is the presumption that does for them. Expect the going to be tough and it will be tough. Think that a draw is a good result and it will probably turn into a defeat.

Being away ought not to make a massive difference and to genuinely superior teams it does not. They sweep aside mental timidness. The current top four – Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Aston Villa – are also the top four performers in the away table.

Last season when Newcastle finished fourth and qualified for the Champions League they boasted the third best away record with eight victories, eight draws, and only three defeats in 19 matches. So why have basically the same players now taken in water once home comforts are abandoned?

Yes, Nick Pope disappeared from view a long time ago and he has been a huge miss, but then ask ever present Fabian Schar, ask Dan Burn and Kieran Trippier. Ask Sven Botman who stood guard for quite a period. Not that it is down purely to defenders. Further up the park ask a midfield which at times has gone on the missing list when attacked, and ask forwards who have failed to produce a goal threat on their travels while potent at home.

It is not too late for United to find a steeliness and resolve away to clinch a European place and rescue their season but time is rapidly running out. Over to you. Justify standing in front of the loyal and vocal away support at the end of each of the three matches and taking their applause.

After all it has cost much in time and money to travel, often hampered throughout a long season by rail chaos and kick off times decided on the whim of TV executives, yet their backing is unwavering whatever the result. Hope beats eternally in every Geordie breast. And defiance. May it too inside the shirts of those who play.

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/sport-opinion/newcastle-uniteds-away-form-mystery-29083319

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