Drawing at Aston Villa was a shocker but is the overwhelming sense that everything will be over for Newcastle after Everton visit Sunderland on Wednesday, really backed up by the stats/reality?
You get the feeling that almost every Newcastle fan has given up hope but to be honest, I have been saying for ages that I would take getting to the last day with a hope of survival – and that is what I think will happen.
Obviously, the ‘problem’ is that Rafa Benitez gave us hope where previously there had been none.
After sorting out the players he could (most) rely on, Newcastle fans saw four (now five) matches unbeaten and eight points from 12 (now nine from 15). If Steve McClaren had remained, I reckon Newcastle would have been relegated around mid-April, if not before.
On what basis do you expect Everton to automatically lose when they play Sunderland?
Yes their season has been a relative disappointment and yes they want rid of Martinez – but do the stats really point to a comfortable home win?
Firstly, Everton have only lost four of 18 Premier League away matches, only the top two have lost fewer games.
Secondly, the biggest problem the scousers have had is too many draws , with nobody having more than their 14 in 36 league matches.
Thirdly, before beating Chelsea on Saturday, Sunderland had only won one of their previous nine games, though they had drawn six of those.
Fourthly, Everton have lost recently to Leicester and Liverpool (Everton had man sent off in 50th minute) but in the other four of their last half dozen Premier League fixtures they didn’t lose. Only nine days ago they beat Bournemouth at Goodison Park.
Fifthly, in Lukaku (25 goals this season) they have arguably the best striker in the Premier League and he is very likely to leave at the end of the season for mega-money.
Sixthly, Everton stuffed Sunderland 6-2 at Goodison Park back in November.
I think everything points to a draw on Wednesday night and then Sunday would see Newcastle have to beat Spurs and Sunderland lose away at Watford.
As things stand I would obviously settle for that and I think this will be the reality.
A tough ask for both results to go our way but where there’s life there’s hope.