Late despair for Chris Hughton who says it means Brighton have to beat Newcastle United
Chris Hughton is under immense pressure.
The former Newcastle boss looked set for a positive second season in the Premier League with Brighton, having picked up 21 points from the opening 15 games of the season.
However, a spectacular collapse has seen them win only three of the next 20 matches, losing 13 of them.
The latest came on Tuesday night, Brighton going all out defence away at Spurs. It almost paid off.
Only for Eriksen to score a long range effort with two minutes remaining.
It leaves the Seagulls only three points behind the Bluebirds with three games to go.
A straight fight between Brighton and Cardiff for the third relegation spot and this is how the run in looks:
Saturday 27 April
Fulham v Cardiff (3pm)
Brighton v Newcastle (5.30pm)
Saturday 4 May
Cardiff v Crystal Palace (5.30pm)
Sunday 5 May
Arsenal v Brighton (4.30pm)
Sunday 12 May
Brighton v Man City (3pm)
Man Utd v Cardiff (3pm)
Chris Hughton says that the situation he now faces means that Newcastle is a must-win match on Saturday: ‘We will need goals and we need to win the game whichever way we can.’
Looking at those fixtures, you can see what he means.
Cardiff will throw everything at Fulham on Saturday and if they win, they go level with Brighton before Hughton’s side face Newcastle.
With Man City at home on the final day and Champions League chasing Arsenal away from home before that, Newcastle looks on paper the best chance of points.
In contrast, Cardiff will fancy their chances against both Fulham and Palace, whilst Man Utd on the last day isn’t a hopeless cause. Man Utd have lost six of their last eight matches (all competitions) and the poison looks to have risen once again in their squad. If they have nothing to play for on the final day and Cardiff have everything still to play for, then no surprise if they down tools once again, just as they did at Everton at the weekend.
Newcastle fans will only worry about their own team and Rafa Benitez on Saturday but on the bigger picture of relegation will be torn. We all wish the best for Chris Hughton but Brighton fans have embarrassed themselves at times, wanting a rivalry/edge with Newcastle these last few seasons which isn’t reciprocated.
With Liverpool at home on the following Saturday, Newcastle will be right at the heart of both the relegation and title battles.
Chris Hughton after losing 1-0 at Tottenham:
“The changing room at the moment is very down because of the manner of that defeat.
“The players know how hard they’ve worked to get as close as we did.
“We were up against a team in the Champions League semi-finals.
“We put on a gritty defensive performance that speaks volumes.
“We have to take that into Saturday against Newcastle and that becomes out biggest game.
“We will need goals and we need to win the game whichever way we can.
“Newcastle have been good away from home and have a good system.
“We have to get a result, whichever way we do it.”
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