By the time Newcastle United kick off on Sunday afternoon, the Premier League table might not look quite so appealing.

At the moment, being in 14th place with six clubs below you sounds not too bad.

However, it is unbelievably tight.

Only the discipline Rafa Benitez has instilled in his team has kept them these few places higher up the league, a better goal difference than most – thanks to the NUFC side not falling  to bits and getting thumped in games.

Only five times in 25 Premier League games have Newcastle lost by more than one goal and only one of those five was there more than two goals in it (4-1 at Man Utd.).

Even better, in the 19 games that Jamaal Lascelles has started, only once have Newcastle lost a match by more than one goal (Man City away 3-1).

Going into this weekend’s matches, this is how it looks for the 12 clubs who realistically could be relegated.

newcastle united

As you can see, if the four clubs below them even get just a draw this afternoon then they would all go above Newcastle, only Huddersfield look very unlikely to do that, though they actually beat Man Utd at home earlier in the season.

After consecutive home wins over Liverpool and Arsenal, you wouldn’t find it impossible to imagine Swansea winning at Leicester either.

On top of that, the games between Brighton v West Ham, Bournemouth v Stoke and West Brom v Southampton, there is no ideal result. (Similar story next weekend when amongst the fixtures are Stoke v Brighton, West Ham v Watford and Huddersfield v Bournemouth).

Whatever happens elsewhere, you have to think Newcastle really have to at least avoid defeat at Crystal Palace. Then with three of the following five matches seeing Newcastle face Man Utd, Liverpool and Tottenham, Newcastle could really do with picking up some unexpected bonus points from the better teams.

As it stands at the minute, only two of Newcastle’s 24 points have come from teams in the current top 11 of the Premier League (home draws with Liverpool and Burnley).

The last three Premier League home matches have seen tame draws against Brighton, Swansea and Burnley, so you have to hope that not picking up more points in these winnable matches will not cost Newcastle longer-term.

A win at Palace would be massive but in reality would only give Newcastle a little bit of breathing space. A defeat and that home match with Manchester United, after most other clubs will have played next weekend, could look especially daunting.

Saturday

Burnley v Man City (12.30pm)

Bournemouth v Stoke (3pm)

Brighton v West Ham (3pm)

Leicester v Swansea (3pm)

Man Utd v Huddersfield (3pm)

West Brom v Southampton (3pm)

Arsenal v Everton (5.30pm)

Sunday

Crystal Palace v Newcastle United (2.15pm)

Liverpool v Tottenham (4.30pm)

Monday

Watford v Chelsea (8pm)

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  • Polarboy

    As is brought up in the article scoring is clearly our main problem. We’re solid but because we score so little draws turn into loses and wins turn into draws. If we hadn’t brought in Kenedy and Slimani or any other attacking players I couldn’t have seen us staying up, but I believe we have a chance now.

    • Leazes.

      Slim-ini chance.

      • Polarboy

        It will likely come down to him getting or not getting goals, yes. Not that I believe that’s what you were going for of course given your delight in being a pessimist.

        • mentalman

          He’ll not play because he’ll dare to leave the half way line and get dropped

          • Polarboy

            Armchair critic doing what you do best. Ever think you might be wrong and that we’d be adrift at the bottom were Benitez to set up the way you and others want. It’s funny that everyone including people like you and Leazes will on the one hand rightly say how poor our squad is, yet expect Benitez to have us playing expansive football. The fact is we have a very good record against the teams in the bottom half of the table and that is what will keep us up. Now that we have some decent attacking talent we may even nick a few points off some of the better teams.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Correct.

      • M Wallace

        Slim or ani chance?

  • Mitros gotta start

    Have no fear….the hoss will be in top form due to the fact he has finally got some competition for his spot…..the new messi will blag a hat trick…..woy wont know whats hit him….6-2 win…the hoss with 3 diame with 2 and kenedy with a 30 yard chip in off the crossbar

    • Leazes.

      I wonder if Mitro will start and when his first substitution will happen.

      • hetonmag

        Came on 55min missed a couple of chance’s, Colback started and gave away a few free kicks so nothing new there, according to the live txt on the BBC.

  • ross richardson

    I reckon you can take Everton out of that list. With the games on this weekend if results go our way we could be in 11th. If they don’t we could easily be in 19th. I still believe we will stay up but it could be as tight as goal difference.

  • Soldier

    can`t score & we concede from set pieces to easily, a championship squad that will go down through lack of investment. when you need to throw caution to the wind & go for the win then Rafa isn`t your man, yes he has a well below par side but time and again we draw or lose from a winning position due to the defensive tactics he implements

    • Geordiegiants

      The reason we are above the other teams in the division is because of our goal difference and our defensive approach, we don’t have the players “to go for the win” unfortunately.

      • Soldier

        we could have went for the win against Burnley but didn`t.

        • mentalman

          The list of games where this has been the case is rather long

        • glassjawsh-got-banned

          if we’d have “gone for the win” as you say, we wouldn’t have even been in a position to grab the lead at the end. The tactics are all that are keeping up above water. how so many people miss this rather obvious point is completely beyond me.

          • Kneebotherm8

            If we could score we’d be flying with these tactics..

          • Geordiegiants

            Definetly!

      • GToon

        Agreed against most of the teams. But I think we do against Brighton Huddersfield Bournemouth Swansea West Brom Southampton Watford and Burnley.

        • Geordiegiants

          I don’t think we have the personnel to go out attacking, our strongest attribute is our defence. We don’t have anyone that is capable of creating the goals never mind anyone to score them. I wish we did and have said before I would be unhappy with the tactics if we had a squad like West Brom or Palace even.

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      you mean “when you need to throw caution to the wind and get your brains beat in 5-1” Rafa isn’t your man… I’d rather sit in a shell and earn a point then get blasted week in and week out. Don’t kid yourself, with the lack of true talent those are our only two options.

      • GToon

        Could be that Slimani gives us a new option. Wonder what letter he was on the list tho!

        • Kneebotherm8

          Not A that’s for sure…

      • Kneebotherm8

        We had all that sht with the clown McLaren……….some have very short memories.

    • Kneebotherm8

      We don’t concede from set pieces as easily as we did under McLaren or Pardew………that was a joke period for us……..you contradict yourself saying we’ve got a championship squad who should be throwing caution to the wind…….if they do that they’d be relegated back to the championship already..

    • Down Under Mag

      We are creating plenty of chances and are keeping things tight at the back…most of the goals we concede are down to an individual error or the fact we are under so much pressure from our lack of conversions up front. It just seems that we make one silly moment and concede while at the other end we create chance after chance that goes to waste because our forwards aren’t good enough.

      However, while I do agree that we have a Championship squad, I feel this criticism of Rafa’s tactics being too defensive needs to stop. If we were to go all out attack then quite frankly we would get over-run every game and probably be dead bottom of the league. Given how tight things actually are when you look at the table, in reality we are in a much better position than some of those around us simply BECAUSE of Rafa and his defensive tactics. Our goal difference might just be what ends up keeping us in the Premier League…if we’d turned up to ‘have a go’ at Man City then we could well be dropping down a few more places in the goal difference just on those two games alone.

  • Andrew

    Bottom 3 come Sunday morning & bottom 3 come end of season. Needed a striker 5 months ago to turn some of thoes 1 pointers into 3 points. If we picked up just 9 points from the Swansea, Brighton & Burnley home games I would be feeling more confident that we would avoid the drop. Looking at the form of the teams around us & our remaining fixtures we may get 6 to 9 points I think for the rest of the season. Sorry but I think we’re going down. Thanks Mr Ashley for your continued lack of support.