At the start of the season, Newcastle’s goal difference could’ve taken a serious battering.
The Magpies had tough games against Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal. Not long after their rough run, they headed to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.
While Newcastle lost those five games, they were never battered. They lost each game by a margin of one goal, which is something that their relegation rivals have been unable to do.
Goal difference keeps Newcastle above the drop zone
Newcastle’s start to the campaign wasn’t pretty.
The more optimistic fans noted that for all the defeats, our goal difference was still fairly decent. While others pointed out that goal difference means nothing if you can’t win a game.
We got that first win against Watford, and it immediately showed what a difference a strong goal difference can make.
On Monday evening, Huddersfield beat Fulham 1-0 to get their first three points, but their goal difference of -16 keeps them in the bottom three below Newcastle.
The only time Newcastle have lost by more than one goal was against Leicester, while the likes of Fulham, Southampton, Cardiff and the aforementioned Terriers have been on the end of some hidings.
Just last weekend, Southampton were smashed 6-1 by Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions.
Since Benitez took over as Newcastle boss, his team have rarely been battered. It’s this kind of resiliency that will always give the Magpies an edge in the relegation battle.
Only 11 games have been played and goal difference is already keeping Newcastle out of the bottom three. While other teams roll over and take a spanking off the Premier League’s elite, Benitez’s side make it a gritty battle.
It might not be pretty, and it might anger the pundits, but Newcastle’s defensive approach against the big boys is already proving to be successful.