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Opinion

I hadn’t realised how ‘interesting’ things could look around Manchester United v Newcastle United

5 months ago
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It is Manchester United v Newcastle United this weekend.

The battle of the Uniteds, second top against fourth bottom.

Manchester United fans disappointed they are 10 points behind Manchester City who are on course for an unprecedented quadruple.

Newcastle United fans hardly giving a thought to the Mackems who are two divisions adrift of their local rivals, although Mike Ashley doing everything he can to leave open the horrific longshot possibility that there could indeed be Tyne and Wear derbies next season.

Once again the TV broadcasters have ensured that Steve Bruce and his players play late in the weekend.

Last weekend it was the very final Premier League game, Newcastle losing 2-0 to Chelsea on Monday night.

This weekend it is Manchester United v Newcastle United at 7pm on Sunday night, only one other PL game follows that to round off the weekend.

This is how the Premier League table looks on Thursday morning ahead of this weekend’s round of Premier League matches, after Burnley 1 Fulham 1 last night (and Everton 1 Man City 3):

I knew that Fulham were home to Sheffield United this coming weekend but must admit I had taken my eye off the ball when it came to games involved other clubs at the bottom.

I hadn’t realised just how ‘interesting’ things could look after this weekend…

These are the relevant relegation matches:

Saturday 20 February – Burnley v West Brom (3pm)

Saturday 20 February – Fulham v Sheffield United (8pm)

Sunday 21 February – Manchester United v Newcastle United (7pm)

Monday 22 February – Brighton v Crystal Palace (8pm)

Now I am not saying that this will definitely happen but there are four teams that are very clear favourites to win these four matches and if they do, this would then be how the Premier League table would look at the bottom at 10pm on Monday night (number of points ahead of each club):

30 Burnley

29 Brighton

29 Crystal Palace

25 Newcastle United

22 Fulham

13 West Brom

11 Sheffield United

The bottom two clubs even more of a total write off and can be forgotten about but suddenly this real gap opening up which only leaves Newcastle and Fulham in a direct fight for the final relegation spot.

Anything could happen of course but this is certainly the current direction of travel, then setting us up for a final weekend of Premier League games in February, which would then become very very ‘interesting’ for those of us involved in this relegation battle.

That weekend’s games featuring:

Saturday 27 February – West Brom v Brighton (3pm)

Saturday 27 February – Newcastle United v Wolves (8pm)

Sunday 28 February – Crystal Palace v Fulham (12pm)

Sunday 28 February – Tottenham v Burnley (2pm)

Sunday 28 February – Sheffield United v Liverpool (7.15pm)

I think that these two rounds of fixtures may well prove pivotal for Newcastle United. At the end of the season we will be looking at these matches as the moment Newcastle took a big step towards safety with how all the games worked out overall, or a time when suddenly even Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley couldn’t deny that a relegation battle was well and truly on now.

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