Can Newcastle Avoid Relegation?
The fight to avoid relegation is as tight as ever this year. Newcastle are six points from danger, but is there a chance they’ll end up in the drop zone?
Should you Bet on the Magpies Holding on?
At the time of writing, Newcastle are 17th in the table on 32 points, six points out of the relegation zone (Fulham are on 26 having played one match more, West Brom 24, and Sheffield United 14). Ahead of them are Brighton and Burnley (33 each) and Southampton on 36. In recent matches against close teams Newcastle have managed to beat Burnley in a great comeback win, but only drew against West Brom and got beaten by Brighton.
The current Betway odds on Newcastle being relegated are 5 (4/1 in old money), with West Brom odds on at 1.04 and Fulham also very short at 1.25. The value, especially if you have a free bet bonus, might be the 11 (10/1) on Burnley being relegated or 29 on Brighton, as both teams are just a point ahead of Newcastle. Fulham’s odds are short at 1.25 but they have a game in hand and at least a six point deficit to make up, so you may prefer to play it safe and back them.
(Note that Sheffield United, propping up the table with just 14 points from 31 matches at the time of writing, cannot be backed for relegation because it’s so likely, meaning the Betway relegation market is only for two places rather than three).
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Recent Form on the Rise
Earning just two points from three games going into a match against Spurs (who are trying to qualify for the Champions League), the Magpies were up against it, and not fancied by many to do well. However, the performance was better than general expectations, with Joelinton putting Newcastle ahead in the first half. Spurs/Kane struck back with a brace, before Willock’s late equaliser ensured it was honours even and Newcastle enjoyed a well-earned point. It also speaks well of team spirit that, against opposition far higher in the table, the Magpies didn’t give up and received their due rewards.
This was a welcome contrast to some recent lacklustre performances that have seen Newcastle get thrashed at Brighton and unable to claim more than a point against relegation strugglers West Brom.
A week later, 11 April, the signs weren’t good. Some sloppy defending and VAR ruling out what should’ve been a clear-cut penalty made it seem like the stars were aligned against Newcastle in their match against Burnley. Down 1-0, things were looking iffy at best. But the Magpies dug deep for a pair of cracking goals to ensure a comeback win against a rival team, making it a doubly valuable victory in the battle for survival.
How the Future Fixtures Stack Up
The season is over three-quarters done, and although Newcastle are currently out of the relegation zone the margin could be bigger. In terms of challenging and important fixtures yet to play, Liverpool on the 25th of April will be a big ask. But as Leeds’ bizarre 10 man victory over Manchester City proves, there’s no such thing as a guaranteed result. In May, the team’s scheduled to face another stern test in the form of Leicester, with Manchester City just a few days later.
However, things do get rather easier after that, with both Sheffield United and Fulham (two teams currently in the relegation zone) to be played. Newcastle play host to bottom side Sheffield, and should handily dispatch them.
Past performance is no guarantee of future success, but Steve Bruce will be hoping that he’s managed to stop the rot and turn things around in time to keep Newcastle in the top flight of English football.
Will Newcastle Stay Up?
Currently six points ahead of Fulham, with a game in hand, and eight points ahead of West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle’s destiny remains in the club’s own hands. West Brom still have to play Leicester and Liverpool, while Chelsea and Manchester United are on Fulham’s fixture list. Things are more or less level in terms of tough fixtures and Newcastle have a small but very helpful points margin, and are just a point off two teams ahead of them.
It’s too close for supporters to relax, but things are tentatively promising for Magpie survival hopes. There’s also a handy Fulham/Burnley match set for May, which will either mean Fulham fail to advance, or give Newcastle a chance of leapfrogging Burnley.
In short, Newcastle United have a pretty good shot at staying up. While it isn’t time to relax, it isn’t time to panic either.