What lies ahead for Newcastle United ahead of the World Cup break?
The Magpies will return to Premier League this weekend as they kick off their run-in to the World Cup break.
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With the international break still in full swing, the Magpies currently sit in mid-table after a slightly underwhelming start to the campaign.
A failure to convert draws into wins has left United sat in tenth place after they collected a single point from games against Brighton and Hove Albion, Manchester City, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
That said, the Magpies still sit just three points shy of the European places, meaning the games that lie ahead prior to the break for the first ever winter World Cup could dictate the remainder of the season.
Speaking after the draw with Bournemouth, United manager Howe assessed what lay ahead for his side, saying: We’ll give them a little bit of time off at the beginning of the next week to allow them to regroup mentally as it’s a very busy period coming when we return.
“It’s going to be a key spell before the World Cup in how well we do before these next group of games.”
But what lies ahead for Howe and his squad before attentions turn towards events in Qatar?
NewcastleWorld looks ahead…
Saturday 1st October (3pm) - Fulham (away)
The Magpies return to Premier League action on Saturday after when they travel to face a Fulham side that have made a confident return to the top tier.
Inspired by the goalscoring exploits of former United striker Aleksander Mitrovic, the Cottagers will head into the game sat in sixth place in the table.
Saturday 8th October (3pm) - Brentford (home)
The Bees travel to Tyneside in what will bring back memories of Eddie Howe’s first game in charge of the Magpies - although a positive Covid-19 test left the former Bournemouth boss to watch on from a hotel room on Tyneside.
Howe will take a closer view of the action this time around and will hope his side can replicate the Joelinton-inspired success they enjoyed against Brentford last season.
Sunday 16th October (2pm) - Manchester United (away)
This is a fixture that is starting to look more challenging as Erik ten Hag starts to put his influence on the Red Devils squad.
After an abysmal start to the season, the former Ajax manager is turning things around at Old Trafford, as shown by home wins against Arsenal and Liverpool prior to the international break.
Wednesday 19th October (7.30pm) - Everton (home)
This was the fixture that really kickstarted United’s push for Premier League survival last season as Kieran Trippier’s free-kick saw off the Toffees and laid the platform for a positive end to the campaign.
It has been a challenging start to the current season for Frank Lampard and his side - and United will hope to make it even more difficult in this midweek fixture under the St James Park lights.
Sunday 23rd October (4.30pm) - Tottenham Hotspur (away)
This fixtures marked a low during Eddie Howe’s reign when Spurs romped to a 5-1 win over United in front of the Sky cameras in April.
Antonio Conte has done a fine job with his side and they will present a sizable challenge for the Magpies.
Saturday 29th October (3pm) - Aston Villa (home)
Four wins from their opening seven games has left Villa sat in the lower half of the Premier League table and there have been questions asked of manager Steven Gerrard.
Another fixture that saw United claim three points as Kieran Trippier sealed the points for his season - a repeat performance would be appreciated by the Gallowgate faithful.
Sunday 6th November (2pm) - Southampton (away)
One of United’s longest trips of the season and one that has been pushed to a 2pm for live television coverage.
Full debutant Bruno Guimaraes produced a wonder strike to put the Magpies on their way to a hard-earned three points in the corresponding fixture last season.
Wednesday 9th November (7.45pm) - Crystal Palace (home) Carabao Cup
Newcastle will hope to take the next step on the road to Wembley when Patrick Vieira’s side visit St James Park.
The tie will come just two months after a highly controversial VAR decision robbed United of three points in a Premier League fixtures between the two sides.
Saturday 12th November (5.30pm) - Chelsea (home)
A hectic pre-World Cup schedule is rounded off when Chelsea visit St James Park in yet another live televised fixture.
We should know a lot more about the Magpies prospects for the remainder of the campaign once the full-time whistle is blown at St James Park in this one.