If you’re going to go down, at least go do fighting — that seems to be the message from Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren ahead of his side’s trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal.
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With Newcastle currently sitting in the relegation zone — 18th place, two points behind Swansea City for safety in 17th — the possibility the Magpies could be playing their football in the Championship come August is very real (again). It doesn’t have to be that way, though, as the 19 games remaining in the 2015-16 Premier League season mean there’s plenty of time to reach the mythical 40-point mark (Newcastle currently have 18) and secure their PL status for another season.
The second half of Newcastle’s season kicks off Saturday against Arsenal (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET, on NBSNC and online via Live Extra), against whom McClaren says his side will need to get a bit nasty in order to get a result — quotes from the Guardian:
“It is about collective organization and discipline – and a certain amount of aggression will be required. We have come across many, many good players in every team. Ozil is just another one of them which we will have to contend with. But they have others – [Olivier] Giroud is scoring goals left, right and centre, [Theo] Walcott is coming into form, [Aaron] Ramsey is a very good midfield player. Despite what they are missing, they have still got quality.”
“We know on any given day we can beat anybody in this league. But we also know that on any given day we can lose.”
If Newcastle are to stay in the Premier League next season, they’ll have to start doing a lot more of the latter, and sooner rather than later. An approach full of aggression and desire would suit McClaren’s side well, as too often thus far in the season they’ve looked quite happy just to show up, take their hammering, collect their paychecks and go home.