Q&A (Premier League Edition) with Eisha Acton

“How good is Luke Shaw turning out to be for Manchester United after they signed Alex Telles?”

“Who’s winning the title this season?”

“Who’s getting relegated?”

“Would Rafa Benitez return to NUFC?”

I’d like to thank my instagram followers for getting involved in this Q&A session! I will answer as many of them as I can.

Question number one is from Freddie Cardy, he said: “Who’s winning the title this season?” The uncertainty of this season is actually comical.. 6 weeks ago I felt Chelsea were title contenders, I didn’t take Kurt Zouma and Ben Chilwell out my FPL team because Chelsea’s defensive record was superb, now Frank Lampard’s been sacked.. and then there’s Arsenal… they were at risk of a relegation battle but they’ve found form winning fiveout of their last six games. In my last Q&A in Nov I said I was absolutely certain Liverpool will be retaining the title then.. since the Newcastle v Liverpool draw actually Liverpool have experienced a rough patch. They’re on their worst goalless run for 20 years, without a win in five league games. I’m still in shock at the 1–0 Burnley defeat to be honest. Until then, Liverpool had gone.. what? 68 or 69 games unbeaten at Anfield? Now they’re now six points off first place BUT they are the league’s top scorers, yes, they’ve had injury woes. Jota for example, which is such a shame because he seemed to hit the ground running with them and they’re without a proper Centre Back. Losing their first choice defensive partnership has evidently been a blow. Virgil Van Djik is still recovering and it seems they’re having to cover at centre back by using their best midfielders- Henderson is there temporarily I guess? I feel like those adjustments are disrupting their attacking flow? Or at least their transitional play, that’s how I look at this poor run of form. Their next eight games are incredibly tough but WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID… we’ve seen that no team is consistent this year and I just don’t expect this current loss of form to last long. They’ve been arguably the best team in Europe for the last three years. I think Klopp will make the right moves this transfer window, or, at least figure a solid solution at centre back and the players will get back to being the mentality monsters they originally were. I still think they have it in them to turn things around and win the league. What do you think? Comment below.

The next question is from Ahmad Khairulnizar: “Which team is the most consistent so far after 19 games?”. Good question! It’s a really tough one, like I said the ups and downs of this season is like nothing we’ve ever experienced, for every club. No one is safe from freak results and injuries, covid outbreaks. Ahmad didn’t specify whether that’s a team that’s been consistently good or bad haha so I’m going for an easy answer: Sheffield United. Up until they beat Newcastle Unityed last week, (their FIRST LEAGUE WIN OF THE SEASON might I add) they were consistently underperforming week in week out. One cleansheet all season. I read that Oli McBurnie had missed seven out of seven of his clear-cut chances which is the worst record in European football.. Their attacking stats have remained consistently the lowest in the league, but maybe they are able to turn things around? They’re now currently on three consecutive wins. They’ve just won their FA cup third and fourth rounds and not forgetting the League win against Newcastle. I do still think Sheffield United are getting relegated this season though. Sorry to any Sheffield United fans reading this!

Moving onto the next question. I’ll elaborate more on relegation talk: alfie.5326 asked: “Who’s getting relegated?”. So, like I said, Sheffield United, and also think Fulham and West Brom will be getting relegated this season. Call me a fool, but even despite the state of Newcastle United right now I refuse to accept that we are at risk of relegation. I think i could be living in denial? Anyways, with West Brom I thought it was great for them to get Sam Allardyce on board considering their poor start to the season and ,of course, he’s desperate to retain his ‘never relegated’ record. However, as it stands, having conceded over 40 goals (the worst defensive record in the league), Big Sam’s going to have to do a hell of a lot to strengthen West Brom there in defence and going foward. I know he’s in the market for a defender and defensive midfielder this transfer window but my instincts tell me it’s too big a task for him right now and it’s too late for them as a club. I think even if he is able to instil some good defensive techniques, their only chance of staying afloat would be if Brighton or Burnley have a woeful remainder of the season. That’s what I feel anyways. We’ll see!

Next question, this one’s from nomeiraholics: “Are you coming to the PSL opening ceremony?” Ahhh I wish! Here in the UK we can’t travel at all for the foreseeable future, so, it looks like I’ll be staying in London for a while longer. The PSL is my kind of tournament and I actually have family from Pakistan so I’d like to come at some point; to come for the cricket would be a dream.

Movin on… carl_barch asked: “What Newcastle player can turn the season around?” Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I really am concerned because I felt we made great signings in the summer. The potential of Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson is something special but the lack of service to Callum Wilson is shocking. It’s sad in a way, I think I’ve moved past the angry stage of it because I feel sad and frustrated for Callum Wilson himself. The impact he could make is huge. He’s demonstrated his goal-scoring abilities since the day he put on that Newcastle shirt but I think the issues around our tactics and style of play have now snowballed into this zone where it’s evidently impossible for him to even find the back of the net now. His attacking intent and talent is meaningless without support, without a plan, without direction… so to answer your question: if a player of Callum Wilson’s ability can’t turn things around for us, no one can. That being said, if by some miracle, we do sign an attacking creative midfielder this transfer window perhaps that would help with cohesion and a much needed flow of service for the likes of Wilson. I’m feeling very negative right now about the club to be honest so I don’t even see that happening. I feel like these days, every week I get sucked into this state of pessimism. I worry for us and after the Aston Villa defeat that concern just grows. Let’s move on…

Zambare.bhushan has asked a really interesting question: “How good is Luke Shaw turning out to be for Manchester United after they signed Alex Telles. Right back signing for Aaron Wan Cissaka or Diogo Dalot recall?” Well, let’s start with Luke Shaw, I was reading an article on his full story yesterday and I wasn’t aware of the details behind the situation between Shaw and Joe Mourinho (when Mourinho was managing Manchester United). It seems that since those early days of his career, Shaw really shifted his focus to get the best out of his game; he has skill and talent no doubt and now his role in the Man United set up is key. It seems Alex Telles coming in has further ignited his drive to nail that place in the starting line up, in my opinion he’s England’s best left-back. I’m not surprised Brandon williams is considering a loan move. With Telles and Shaw as options, Ole Gunnar Solskjær is spoilt for choice with young Brandon too. As for Aaron Wan Bissaka, I’m still cringing at his error this week which led to Fulham scoring against Man United. Fortunately for him, his team ended up winning but a lapse in concentration like that never goes unnoticed especially knowing Ole Gunnar Solskjær is currently seeking another right back option this month. I think Aaron Wan Bissaka has been a good addition for Man United, he’s made the most tackles this season in the whole league! If some competition is going to push him to play to his full potential then so big it! He’ll feel the need to step up his game and ultimately Man United will be lucky to be well stocked for rotation,

Next up, italy400no9 asked: “Do you reckon Rafa will return to Newcastle?”. Of course I’ll start by saying that I would like nothing more than for him to return to us. However, it’s very complex. Firstly, even if Steve Bruce was sacked today, I highly doubt Rafa would consider the move and there are a number of reasons. Firstly he is fond of the club- he knows we have the greatest respect for him but the circumstances in which he left were serious. He released the full statement afterwards detailing the unfulfilled promises from the boards and how the new contract offered didn’t align with his ambitions and goals to invest in our academy. Essentially, he had to leave because of “lack of trust rather than the money side of things”. As it stands, Mike Ashley is still trying to sell the club whilst taking legal action with the Premier League over the Saudi-Led takeover that fell through. So, it’s messy and moreover, Rafa wouldn’t come back whilst Mike Ashley still owns the club. There were humiliating public spats involving the board, Lee Charnley in particular and Rafa when he left. It’s not an environment Rafa could return to given the unsavoury scenes on his departure. If Mike Ashley sells, Steve Bruce is sacked, the takeover goes through- would I expect Rafa back? Absolutely! However, as I’ve mentioned, I have no expectations right now because this summer was a rollercoaster of a ride as a Newcastle fan with the excitement of the potential takeover, the plans, the proposals, the dreams that came crashing down after it all fell through. Since then I’ve tried to take a different approach because… I guess I got too invested in it all I know many other Newcastle fans did too, it didn’t end as expected. If I expect nothing now, I won’t be disappointed.

That’s all for today- thank you very much for reading my Premier League related Q&A session. I really enjoyed those questions! Thanks so much for sending them in. There are still a lot left so I’ll use them this week for another Q&A. If you enjoyed this article do share and follow me for more football content.

I write about English football and Indian Cricket.

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