Weekend fixtures gift Newcastle chance to be overwhelming favourites once again
The reaction to the first Newcastle United defeat in 12 Championship games was laughable in many cases.
Defeat to Fulham the first loss since 2 January and coming only days after Rafa’s boys had taken seven points from Brighton, Huddersfield and Reading on the road.
However, the weekend’s results did mean a tightening of the pressure at the top as Brighton went level with Newcastle and Huddersfield closed to within six points – with a game in hand.
In the second tier though, time moves quickly on, and Newcastle United have been presented with the perfect opportunity for us all to have some much needed R and R time during the international break.
Newcastle travel to Birmingham and the appointment of Gianfranco Zola has been an unmitigated disaster.
The Italian taking a team that was in seventh into a relegation battle, with the Blues currently eighth bottom and only six points off the drop zone.
In the last 18 matches (all competitions), Birmingham have only won two matches. Clearly the club’s owners feel they are stuck with their shocking management decision at least until the end of the season, to save face, rather than sacking Zola now.
This is surely the perfect game to come out and blow away memories of Fulham last Saturday.
Before Newcastle take the field at 3pm on Saturday, they will already know how Huddersfield have got on.
David Wagner’s team travel to Bristol City on Friday night and whilst on the surface a game against a team in the bottom three might look straightforward, the recent form says otherwise.
Bristol City of course drew 2-2 at Newcastle and could/should have won after taking a two goal lead, they have had only three defeats in the last 10 games and have conceded only one goal in the last five+ hours of Championship football.
I think they will get at least a point against Huddersfield and give Newcastle a helping hand.
Brighton have the 5.30pm kick-off on Saturday and they travel to Leeds.
Leeds are unbeaten in their last six matches and have only lost once at home in the four months since Newcastle won 2-0 there on 20 November.
If Brighton win there then they will be deservedly looking hot favourites to go up but I just can’t see it, again I see Leeds getting at least a draw.
For me, the only thing that matters (as always) is that Newcastle United win on Saturday.
If they do I think it will be at least a two point lead at the top of the table and eight points or more to Huddersfield.
Our future is in our own hands.
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