Newcastle United, dubbed as the richest football club in the world following its takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium last autumn, has been eliminated from the FA Cup by third-tier side Cambridge United.
Newcastle is now stuck in the Premier League relegation battle and has lost all hope of playing European football next season after its Cup defeat.
Despite being 16th in League One, with no prospect of getting promoted to the Championship, Cambridge looked unbothered and showed its best version at St. James’ Park. Joe Ironside scored the only goal in the game, stunning the home crowd who expected way more from their favorites.
— Cambridge United FC (@CambridgeUtdFC) January 9, 2022
Newcastle fielded their best available 11, but the lack of inspiration in the attacking third showed why they are fighting at the wrong end of the Premier League table. After the match, manager Eddie Howe revealed that striker Callum Wilson will miss up to eight weeks with a calf injury suffered in the 1-1 draw against Manchester United. Wilson is Newcastle’s top marksman this season with six goals to his name.
“Wilson had a scan yesterday because there was a slight doubt over his initial scan and so we needed to let it heal a little bit first. We think he’s going to be out for around eight weeks,” Howe revealed.
Ownership showed full support to the players after the Cambridge defeat
Newcastle’s hierarchy wanted to reassure Howe and his players they have the full backing of the board. Club officials Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, and Yasir Al-Rumayyan went to the team’s changing room immediately after the final whistle and spoke to the players.
“I believe they were very supportive to the players, highlighting the fact we’re very much in this fight to stay in the league together, and they’re very much behind everybody. I can’t thank them enough for that support,” Eddie Howe commented. “Honestly, I think it was really beneficial for the players to be able to see that and hear that because this journey we’re going on currently and this fight we’re in to stay in this division is a united effort from everybody at the club,” the manager added.
After 19 games, Newcastle sits second from bottom in the Premier League table, two points off safety.
Former Tottenham and Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier was the first major addition to the squad following the Saudi takeover. The 31-year-old played the full 90 minutes against Cambridge. Newcastle is on the hunt for at least five more players this month.
The race against the odds
The bookies have Newcastle at -150 to go down at the end of the season. Only Norwich (-1420), Watford, and Burnley (both at -175) do worse. A bet on the Magpies saving their season and finishing above the red line is now at -140. Newcastle is expected to sign Sven Botman from Lille soon, with the Dutchman now at -450 to become their player. Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell is also close to joining, with the bookies now having him at -140.
Anthony Martial could be the biggest name to pen a contract at Newcastle this month. The Frenchman is available after telling Manchester United he wants to go. He’s now at +200 to become a Newcastle United player in January.