Newcastle United can add last weekend's capital capitulation at Chelsea to a growing list of away day humiliations. 3-0 down after 17 minutes, the score could have reached double figures had Chelsea not been saving energy for Paris Saint-Germain. Instead, the comparitively positive 5-1 defeat came ten days after a gutless 3-0 no-show at Everton.
With an 18-day break between games including a trip to sunny La Manga, Steve McClaren must find a way to end the Jekyll & Hyde form that could relegate his side. The scores are bad, the performances are even worse and players like Georginio Wijnaldum go missing from kick off. Of the two away wins they've achieved this season, one was a smash-and-grab fluke at dominant Bournemouth whilst the other was a remarkable late win at title-chasing Tottenham.
Statistics show a growing trend of away victories; in fact Leicester, Tottenham, Liverpool, Stoke, Everton, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth have gained more points on the road than at home this season. Traditionally you'd expect to see more home points for teams but the difference is lessening.
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Unless you're Newcastle United, of course. 17 home points and just 7 away have produced a 10-point home advantage - the most in the Premier League (ahead of Man City's 9 and Norwich's 8). Only the shambolic Aston Villa have picked up fewer than those 7 away points. And Villa have actually scored more away goals than Newcastle, who sit in last place with a paltry 7 scored.
This shows that Newcastle are far superior at home, partly because they can't score on their travels. To compound their inability to score, the Magpies have conceded 31 goals in those 13 trips - worsened only by Sunderland. 7 goals, 31 conceded and an away goal difference of -24 that almost averages 2 per game.
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McClaren's pre-match Chelsea plan was to frustrate them in the first half, knowing they might have an eye on mid-week's Champions League clash. A 3-0 lead isn't frustrating, in all honesty. His plan completely failed and he's now admitted he may have to try a different way of approaching trips.
“We need to start collecting points away from home because winning at home but losing away is not going to be good enough,” he admits.
“If that’s a different approach, or different personnel, then we’ll have to do that."
Newcastle's first post-break match is a trip to Stoke, with huge visits to Norwich and Aston Villa before the season's end. It's absolutely vital that losing 6-1 to Man City, 5-1 to Crystal Palace, 5-1 to Chelsea and 3-0 to Sunderland becomes a thing of the past. McClaren may need a 'Tactics for Dummies' book for that flight to La Manga.
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