Newcastle United made one of the most intriguing appointments of the season as former Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez succeeded the dismissed Steve McClaren on March 11.
The Spaniard took over a Newcastle side deep in relegation trouble, and his early results only worsened the Magpies position as they drew with Sunderland and were defeated 3-2 at Norwich City.
However, a good run of form including two wins and two draws from their last four matches has seen the Tyneside club leapfrog Norwich and the Black Cats, and climb out of the bottom three.
It has been an impressive turnaround from Newcastle, and one can only imagine how they would have fared this season had Benitez took charge at the beginning of the campaign instead of McClaren.
As shown by the an alternate Premier League table below illustrating results since Benitez’s arrival, Newcastle would be sitting in tenth position - four points above the drop zone, although it must be noted that there is inconsistency in the number of games played.
|Games Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals||Goals Conceded||Points|
With games against Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur remaining, Newcastle have given themselves a wonderful opportunity to secure safety and avoid dropping in to the Championship.
Interestingly, Sunderland and Norwich likewise have shown strong form since Benitez’s arrival, whereas Aston Villa have lost every single game while West Brom haven’t fared much better.
The Baggies long secured their position in the top-flight, and as a result the intensity from Tony Pulis’ men has understandably dropped resulting in a run of disappointing form at the Hawthorns.
West Brom have managed just two draws from their last seven matches, with incidentally one of those all-but ending Tottenham Hotspur’s chances of catching Leicester City at the top of the table.
The Midlands’ club’s form will no doubt frustrate Pulis, and a section of supporters certainly let their feelings of discontent known last weekend as they were hammered 3-0 at home to West Ham United.