Do Newcastle only perform against the big clubs?

Newcastle Utd - Striped Fans

The Magpies’ ability to take points from the top six but not from rival sides has led to many rightfully questioning the squad's consistency.

By scoring a last-gasp equaliser in the 3-3 draw against Manchester United on Tuesday evening, Newcastle claimed their 18th point of the season.

Over the course of 21 games, half of Newcastle’s Premier League points have come against last year’s top six.

Victories over Liverpool and Tottenham, as well as draws against Chelsea and Manchester United (twice) stand beside losses to Swansea, Watford, Sunderland, Leicester, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion, and Everton.

In addition, Steve McClaren’s men were only able to take a point from bottom side Aston Villa, as well as Southampton and Stoke, all at St. James’ Park.

Going back even further to last season, the Toon managed to beat Tottenham, Liverpool, and Chelsea - crucial league victories as they avoided relegation by four points.

Whilst their capacity to achieve against heavily favoured opposition must be lauded, Newcastle’s inability to take points from the teams around them that has seen them rightfully tagged as a side that ‘only shows up for the big guns’.

The long term impact of this inconsistency is demonstrated in the North-East club's constant battle against relegation over the past two seasons.

Stars such as Moussa Sissoko, Fabricio Coloccini, Cheick Tioté and Georginio Wijnaldum have all been accused of performing against the cream of the crop, but failing to show dependability elsewhere.

On the all too rare occasion where they have picked up maximum points against sides around them, they have not looked convincing.

Although the score-line may suggest otherwise, Newcastle looked frail against Norwich for long periods of the game before going on to win 6-2 in October - their first victory of the season. Away at Bournemouth in November, the Magpies had one shot on target and defended for their lives to claim a 1-0 win.

Now at home to West Ham this Saturday, many are still questioning whether the result against Manchester United will be a platform to finally achieve consistently or whether it was another case of Newcastle performing on the big stage before encountering yet another slump in form.

Sitting in the bottom three with fixtures against every other club in the bottom six to come, the opportunity for Newcastle United to remove this tag is there.

Failure to pick up points in these contests however could prove the difference between Championship and Premier League football at St. James’ Park next season.

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