After a disappointing result against Swansea, our home form is a real concern. Just when Newcastle have the chance to get some daylight between themselves and the bottom three, they fail to produce the performance needed. We all know we need reinforcements and it is easy to become frustrated as this season is becoming a real slog; so let’s look at our main relegation rivals.
In reality, everyone from Everton down are still in the relegation rivals. But which 6/7 teams are our main rivals and how are they looking? I personally feel it is between us and the seven teams below, with the likes of Palace and West Ham recently showing that they have the firepower to hoist themselves out of danger.
Here’s the current league standings and a look at the 7 teams I believe to be in the relegation scrap with NUFC – including their recent form and next 5 fixtures:
Currently bottom of the table, the Swans don’t look in good shape which made it all the more irritating we didn’t beat them at St. James’s after doing so at the Liberty earlier in the season. They have struggled to score goals and have failed to invest in replacements for star players Llorente and Sigurdsson. They have Liverpool and Arsenal in their next two games and are already only on 17 points; hopefully if they are cut adrift it would be one team Newcastle can finish above and a step for us towards being safe. I think Swansea will go down.
WEST BROM (19th)
Former Toon boss Alan Pardew finally got his first win in the league with the Baggies at the weekend which will give them some momentum. They are still in the relegation places however and have three wins all season, half that of Newcastle. They play Everton and Man City away next so like Swansea could still be adrift and further behind us if we can get something against Burnely. I would be a worried West Brom fan and feel they are in worse shape than Newcastle; certainly with Pardew at the helm.
I watched Stoke against Manchester United last night and although it is a game you expct them to lose, they looked very poor. The have been a shambles at the back and now have the worst goal difference in the league which is worth a point. They have some easier games coming up with 5/6 being games against the bottom half. The next month or so will define their season and with it being so tight they could get themselves out of trouble. Paul Lambert is a poor appointment though and won’t unite their restless fans. With the other two sides in the relegation places struggling, if we can stay above Stoke it would really help our chances – however their upcoming fixtures look very favourable. It does put huge pressure on Paul Lambert to start well, mind..
The Siants are a funny one as on paper they hae some excellent players and now a huge wedge of cas from the Van Dijk sale. But their new manager has not hit te grond running and must be under severe pressure. They are behind Newcastle and host Spurs and then Brighton next, which will be a huge game. With that little bit of quality, I think they will be ok.
Similar to Huddersfield, Brighton have stalled following a good start and are in the mix with Newcastle to go down. They looked a very poor unit at SJP, which made it all the more irritating we didn’t capitalise. They play Chelsea but they have massive games against West Ham and Southampton which Toon fans have an eye on. I think they have a little bit more than Huddersfield and a solid home record may just keep them away from the trap door come May.
I think Huddersfield are a real risk to go down. Just a point above us, teams seem to have worked them out a little and the momentum they had at the start of the season is well and truly gone. It will be a huge game when we host them at SJP and could well decide who stays up and who goes down. Like Stoke, I think we need to target Huddersfield and their results as a main competitor, if we can climb above the terriers and stay there we should be ok. That defeat in Yorkshire earlier in the season looks even more costly now…
The Cherries have had an up and down season but the win over Arsenal shows they have the quality to get key points on the board, especially at home, which is something we struggle to do. Wilson is a good striker for them and his goals and the momentum they now have, I expect them to stay up. They play West Ham away next who are on a good run themselves and if they pick something up there it would pull them away, otherwise they then go to Chelsea and could be back in the mix again if results go against them.
Who do you think will go down and do you expect us to get embroiled in the relegation scrap come May?