It’s a huge weekend for… Pardew, Everton, Villa and Allegri
Now I’m not knee-jerking enough to suggest that Alan Pardew is in any way under pressure, but Newcastle do need a win. Having lost their last two home games to West Ham and Swansea and won two games in the league since the opening day, there are concerns that this is all very much after the Lord Mayor’s show.
Newcastle are fighting on domestic and European fronts, have a host of injuries and have Colo suspended. They have played on a Thursday and such a timeframe doesn’t allow for sufficient preparation, particularly with a squad verging on fragile.
A game against Pardew’s former club at St Mary’s will be one that the manager has filed under ‘must not lose’. If they do, Newcastle could potentially be 16th by the end of the weekend.
David Moyes will not be worried by his side’s form, although he would have preferred more than a solitary victory from the last six games against Wigan, QPR, Liverpool, Fulham, Sunderland and Reading. After a start to the season that included impressive victories and performances, momentum should not be allowed to slip.
Moyes’ side face a buoyant Norwich on Saturday, but that should not hide the fact that Chris Hughton’s men have not won away this season. If Everton lost, it’s crazy to think that Norwich would be just three points behind them.
Villa could actually get relegated, couldn’t they? In the bottom three, they have one away win since January and only three Prmeier League wins in total since in ten months. Fans might have rightly grown sick of Alex McLeish but the problem is seemingly intrinsic – this is a club on the fall.
Paul Lambert’s problem is that his side has scored just ten goals in twelve games in the league this season, and yet the Scot bizarrely continues to bench Darren Bent. Bent has scored 50 goals in his last 96 PL games. It seems increasingly like Bent will leave in Janurary, and who can blame him?
If Bent does leave and Villa continue to struggle for goals (and therefore points), Lambert has backed himself into quite a corner.
Like the Italian Mark Hughes, Allegri clings to his job at Milan. His side have improved slightly in recent weeks, but still sit in 12th place in Serie A, taking 15 points from 13 games. This is not the Milan of old (but that is not Allegri’s fault) but it is not even the Milan we half-hoped for.
Milan have already lost as many games this season as they did in the whole of last, and on Saturday host Juventus. They sit 17 points behind the Old Lady. A home defeat and a position 20 points behind Juve would be a bitter pill to swallow for fans not used to battling at the lower end of the Serie A table.