Tuesday talking point: It doesn't get any easier

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Norman Riley, True Faith podcast, external

The optimism shared by Newcastle fans post-Burnley was obvious pre-Leicester.

Many of us saw the game at the King Power against a Foxes side supposedly shorn of confidence, struggling with the impacts of Covid and freshly dumped from the Europa League as one from which we could pick up three vital points. Those Newcastle fans at the stadium were as loud as they have been for years.

That optimism was unceremoniously obliterated as a Maddison-inspired Leicester hit four without reply. While it could be argued Rodgers’ lads got lucky with the penalty, a decision which had many Newcastle fans rightly questioning the point of VAR, it’s rare a team loses by four goals because of nothing but bad luck. All the problems that Howe has inherited from fourteen years under the previous ownership were laid bare.

Howe wants to play out from the back, and this is something many fans will be happy to see. However, the issue at present is that it is debatable whether the current squad has what might be called a high standard of ball-playing defenders. The lack of a genuine box-to-box midfielder was also clear.

It does not get any easier with the next three games being a trip to Anfield, followed by Manchester City at home and then Manchester United away. If Newcastle come out of those three games with one or two more points on the board and goal difference not hugely affected, it might be something that keeps hope of avoiding the drop alive.

January cannot come quick enough.

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