Shock Brighton win on Sunday spells massive trouble for Steve Bruce in 3 way relegation contest
Recent results have made it clearly into a three-way contest for the third relegation spot – Newcastle United, Brighton and Fulham fighting it out.
Throughout the season, Brighton have been playing football that looks far too good to go down, though football can be cruel and you don’t always get the points you deserve.
Their very first away game saw Brighton cruise to a 3-0 victory at St James Park, Newcastle without a single shot on target.
However, their next 16 Premier League matches saw Graham Potter’s players pick up only one more win.
Then six games unbeaten including wins over Liverpool, Leeds and Tottenham in January and February saw Brighton at last getting the points their play deserved.
However, failure to put the goals on the end of performances had seen Brighton undeservedly lose by the odd goal to Palace, West Brom and Leicester, bang back in trouble coming into this weekend, only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
A massive result and deserved win though on Sunday for Brighton, in a kind of high noon derby they went to Southampton and were well worth their 2-1 win.
This is a nightmare for Steve Bruce and Newcastle United.
This is how the Premier League table looks at 2pm on Sunday after Southampton 1 Brighton 2:
If you were a ridiculous optimist you would maybe claim that this means Southampton have been dragged into the relegation fight as well.
Hmmm, if Newcastle United were currently in 14th on 33 points, seven above the drop zone, there is no way Steve Bruce would be accepting NUFC were in danger of relegation.
Brighton have jumped above Newcastle to 29 points, one point clear.
Next weekend could for me, now very much decide Newcastle United’s fate.
If Fulham beat Leeds at Craven Cottage on Friday night (8pm kick-off), Newcastle United will be in the relegation zone.
Brighton then host Newcastle on the Saturday night (8pm kick-off).
A win for Steve Bruce and his team would of course be a massive lift, making it three wins in twenty games!
However…a draw would still mean Newcastle go into the international break in the bottom three, below Fulham on goal difference and below Brighton by a point.
However, if Fulham and Brighton won, that would be Newcastle a point behind the Cottagers and four behind the Seagulls.
For me, Brighton would be all but out of relegation trouble, or at least well on the way.
Newcastle with nine games remaining and a tough tough schedule, with in reality, only Fulham a real possibility of catching and overtaking, to send Scott Parker’s team down instead of Newcastle.
After the international break, Newcastle face Tottenham (H), Burnley (A), West Ham (H), Liverpool (A), Arsenal (H), Leicester (A) and Man City (H).
Six of them with varying hopes still of Champions League / Europa League places, whilst Burnley will surely see Newcastle at home as the perfect opportunity to stretch even further away from the relegation zone.
By the time we get to Sheffield United at home and Fulham away, the final two NUFC fixtures, the game could already be up.
What is Mike Ashley going to do if next weekend ends up as laid out above? Will he do anything?
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