Moving into this weekend, it will take only two results to put Newcastle United on the brink of relegation.
After Hull’s win over Liverpool on Tuesday night, it looked ominous when Leicester took the lead against Chelsea just before half-time last night.
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However, Chelsea stepped up a gear against a spirited Nigel Pearson team and scored three second-half goals to keep Leicester four points behind Newcastle going into the weekend.
The league table looking like this, number of points before each club and then goal difference afterwards – all clubs now having four matches left apart from Sunderland who have one extra:
35 Newcastle -21
34 Hull -13
32 Aston Villa -22
31 Leicester -18
30 Sunderland -23
27 QPR -21
26 Burnley -26
Whatever happens in the other matches this weekend, only two results going the wrong way would make relegation a real possibility for NUFC.
If Leicester beat Newcastle and Sunderland win against Southampton at home, the points totals would look like this if every other club in the relegation battle got beat.
(Points totals if Leicester & Sunderland win and everybody else loses)
32 Aston Villa
Basically, it would mean United going into the final three matches with the possibility of ending up in the bottom three in the next round of fixtures.
You might say there is no way the mackems will beat Southampton.
Or possibly you’ll think that it’s impossible that all four clubs (Leicester, Sunderland, Villa and Hull) would all win on the same day after being so rubbish for most of the season…
But that is what happens when you are struggling and making so much bad luck of your own, just like the last time Mike Ashley got Newcastle relegated in 2008/09, as well as all the daft own goals by the owner, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
I’m convinced Leicester will turn us over and equally convinced the mackems will sneak a win.
After gifting Sunderland six points this season, just as happened last season, Newcastle have set the stage for another jammy last gasp escape for our rivals, with potentially Newcastle the fall guys.
Those of you with short memories will forget just what an escape trip the mackems performed last season.
All looked lost with six games to go and then in their last three away matches they beat Chelsea and Manchester United, plus drew 2-2 at Manchester City after leading 2-0 with two minutes to go.
Of course they are hopeless but the one thing they did show in that last derby was they at least have more fighting spirit than Newcastle, which isn’t hard, and can have a bit of a blood and thunder charge against the opposition.
Which brings me back to Newcastle.
Looking at the tables above, United simply have to avoid defeat against Leicester.
With 7 straight defeats compared to Leicester’s 4 wins in a row and an unlucky loss to Chelsea, I can unfortunately only see one result.
I’m already dreading what John Carver’s team selection and ‘tactics’ are going to be.
I’m not suggesting an all out attack policy but I think it is guaranteed Carver will try and grind out a 0-0 draw and I would bet anything you like, Newcastle will not keep a clean sheet.
Whatever the coaching limitations, the players finally have to stand up and do it themselves. Are most of them really as gutless and limited as we have seen recently?
We are about to find out.