The Toon Tribune: Newcastle United are inching closer to safety

With just eight games remaining of the Premier League season, Newcastle United’s relegation fears have eased slightly due to recent results.

Crucial victories against Manchester United and Southampton leave the Magpies in a healthy 13th place on 32 points. The recent win over Southampton was of extra importance as it moves United four points clear of the Saints who occupy the last position in the relegation zone.

West Brom sit in 20th position and, with ten points adrift of safety, look all but relegated. The Baggies’ misfortune leaves two more relegation positions to be filled, with seven possible clubs battling it out.

There are only five points between 19th and 13th place, while the run-in promises to be one of the tightest and most intense in recent Premier League years.

When observing the remaining fixtures, Newcastle have a respectable run in. Their next game – at home to Huddersfield Town – is crucial and may prove to be a giant step towards safety; this match is equally vital to the Terriers, who have Chelsea (A), Manchester City (A) and Arsenal (H) left to play in their final three games.

After Huddersfield, Newcastle’s April fixture list contains Leicester (A), Arsenal (H), Everton (A) and West Brom (H). The Magpies are in a rich run of form, with only two defeats since the start of January which were both away to Manchester City and Liverpool.

Their home form has also picked up, with four goals scored and none conceded in their last two outings at St James’ Park. United have found form at a good time, with manager Rafa Benitez forecasting this earlier on in the season, stating that his team will be better in the second half of the season.

May then sees the Toon face Watford (A), Tottenham (A) before ending the season at home to current holders Chelsea.

Benitez marked 40 points as the target to guarantee survival, with this becoming more and more achievable for Rafa’s men with each game.

Newcastle need at least three more wins to obtain the target, while victories against Huddersfield and West Brom must be achieved and look the most likely, considering most of United’s wins this season have come at the hands of teams around them in the table.

Newcastle will hope to take their form into the remaining games, while there are certainly points available, even in the tough-looking games on paper.

Although fixtures can look difficult or easy on paper, the reality is different, such is the unpredictability of the Premier League.

What separates the Magpies from the other teams battling relegation is their man at the helm, Rafa Benitez.

The Spaniard knows how to get results and this, coupled with the players’ high work-ethic and new-found form will surely see Newcastle secure their Premier League status, starting with three points against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Howay the lads.

 

Written by Dawud Arshad

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