The Relegation Battle: Newcastle’s Fate out of Their Own Hands


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The relegation battle that has been ensuing for the past couple of months is now taking an unprecedented turn and Newcastle no longer have a say in their fight for survival.

Sunderland has taken the luxury of time away from Newcastle as the Magpies can only hope that the Black Cats slip up against Everton or else their time in the Premier League will come to an end.

Newcastle showed a lot of promise in their last couple of games as they went toe-to-toe with the relatively bigger clubs. They were able to claim points from those encounters which looked impossible on paper.

Rafa Benitez seems to have his players back on track regarding the relegation battle, but their failure to grab all three points against Aston Villa on Saturday has put them on thin ice as now all they can do is to hope that Everton does them a favour against Sunderland, and also Watford follows suite.

Newcastle squandered a lot of opportunities against the already relegated Aston Villa side with Aleksandar Mitrovic missing some clear cut chances to score which left the Newcastle fans in total shock when the news of Sunderland’s unexpected victory against Chelsea had arrived.

Sunderland’s 3-2 win against Chelsea was entirely unexpected because Chelsea was, in fact, the better side against Big Sam and his lads.

Sunderland showed their resilience and fighting spirit when they came from behind twice to secure the all-important victory through an impeccable Jermain Defoe strike.

Newcastle has just one game to go before the curtain falls on their Premier League season, and that game is against a disheartened Spurs side who seem to be still licking their wounds following their inability to stop Leicester from winning the title.

Sunderland and Norwich City, on the other hand, have two games left, and both teams have the same fixtures still to play against the out-of-form Everton and Watford.

The relegation battle could be decided in midweek, or it could drag onto the last day of the season if Sunderland fails to grab the vital points on Wednesday night.

Big Sam and his men seem to be a close-knit bunch now, and that will prove to be a decisive factor going into their final games of the season.

Sunderland has become survival experts following their miraculous escapes in the last few years, and now they are in the frontline for survival once again as the ball has landed in their court due to Newcastle’s inability to take their chances.

Even with the title race already decided there’s still a lot to play for going into the final game of the season. Teams are still fighting for European Qualification as well as survival, so the last day of the season is set to have a dramatic feel to it.

Right now all Newcastle can do is to hope that their rivals fumble in their last two games of the season so they can capitalise on it and go on to win their game against Spurs. Although the match against Tottenham could prove to be another problem for Benitez as Mauricio Pochettino will be keen on finishing the season on a high note.

If Newcastle ends up suffering the dreaded fate of relegation, Benitez will undoubtedly start considering his options as he has a relegation clause instilled in his contract which will let him leave the club if Newcastle fails to stay in the Premier League.

Phillip Ekuwem
Phillip Ekuwem
Widely published freelance Football writer - Articles published on Planet Football, Daily Mirror, FourFourTwo, Sports Courant, Football London, Tribal Football et al. FIFA addict.

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