The mood around Newcastle was more upbeat than had been in recent weeks following their surprise draw against Chelsea in a match they were unlucky not to win.
The general consensus was that this can be a result to build a season upon. Starting two up front was a good start, with the little man-big man combination of Ayoze Perez and Aleksandr Mitrovic causing problems throughout. While the performance against Chelsea was encouraging, there seems to be a sense of deja vu occurring for Newcastle, as past wins (in this case, a draw) against Chelsea have been followed by poor runs of form. Having a look at two of the last three seasons in isolation, there seems to be an alarming pattern emerging.
In the 2012-13 season, the Magpies beat the Blues 3-2 in early February courtesy of two late strikes from then-new signing Moussa Sissoko. What followed was a run of five defeats in the next seven as the Toon only won four matches for the rest of the season to narrowly avoid the drop. Last season was a similar story. A Papiss Cisse double and a 2-1 win to Newcastle in early December ended Chelsea’s unbeaten run and looked to be the catalyst for a positive second half of the season. However in the seven matches that followed they only gained four points from a possible 21, which included dropping points at home to Sunderland (defeat), Burnley (draw) and Southampton (defeat).
The ‘post-Chelsea blues’ may seem inevitable if you are one for stats, but it is worth remembering that in the middle of these two seasons (2013-14), a 2-0 win over the Blues was a catalyst for an incredible run which saw the side win six from the following eight outings. Having seen the two extremes from Newcastle following a home match against Chelsea, the million dollar question is: which Newcastle will turn up against Manchester City this Saturday? Will it be the side that took it to the champions and outplayed them for the first half on Saturday? Or will it be the side that rolled over against West Ham and barely got out of first gear?
Either way, when one looks at the table, it is fair to say the post-Chelsea blues quite simply must not return or else Newcastle will be in serious danger of getting cut adrift at the bottom of the table. A danger that confronts Newcastle this weekend is having all the confidence they gained from the Chelsea game wiped away because of a heavy defeat away to Manchester City. City are in a slight form slump at the moment but anything less than a comprehensive win to the Citizens would be surprising and you wonder if a heavy defeat will take Newcastle two steps back. Whatever happens at the Etihad Stadium, Newcastle need to keep focussed because the following matches against Sunderland (away) and Norwich (home) will be crucial and could have a large bearing on where the Magpies end up this season.