Mark Lawrenson gives his verdict on Newcastle v Huddersfield
Mark Lawrenson has been looking ahead to Saturday afternoon at St James Park.
A win for either side would put them on the verge of safety, with Newcastle potentially up to seven points clear of the drop, or six points in Huddersfield’s case.
The Premier League table tells you there is very little between the two teams over the course of the season so far [Newcastle 32 points, one ahead]. However, the big advantage Newcastle do have is momentum.
Rafa Benitez’ team have finally found the winning formula at last, after having become a side hard to beat, but picking up too many draws to be sure of staying up.
Only Liverpool and Man City have beaten Newcastle since the turn of the year but with four draws, the consecutive home wins over Man Utd and Southampton have made the big difference.
Huddersfield had slumped after December, losing their first five games of 2018, looking like they would throw away the good work and points earned in 2017.
However, consecutive victories over Bournemouth and West Brom looked to have sent them back in the opposite direction, only for March to bring another reality check of one point from a possible nine.
Martin Dubravka has brought tangible improvement at the back, whilst Kenedy has added a threat going the other way.
Mark Lawrenson points to Newcastle fans having a key part to play and with a more attacking and pressing style in these two home games/wins, it has allowed the crowd to more involved from the very first minute, rather than the more patient/slower football seen previously.
Lawrenson goes for a 2-0 home win but with only one point in three games against the other two promoted sides so far, Rafa Benitez knows his team will have to be on their game to get all three points.
A draw wouldn’t be a disaster but a victory will be massive.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“After going more than three months without a success at St James Park in the league, Newcastle have won their past two home games.
“This is another big game for their survival hopes.
“The Magpies fans know how big a part they have to play in getting the team to safety this season and they will be fully behind them again this time too.
“Huddersfield found some form in February but they have lost their way a bit since then.
“I think their defeat by Palace last time out was particularly damaging.
“Prediction is Newcastle 2 Huddersfield 0.”
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