Newcastle treading a fine line
With two games to go, the fight for who will avoid relegation is closer than ever. Wigan, the perennial escape artists, have yet again left it late to come good, and this time around I fear it maybe too late. The one thing that goes in their favour is that, while they can't realistically expect to get something from the away game to Arsenal, who need the points for their bid for champions league football, the last game of the season sees them at home against an Aston Villa side who should already know they are safe, and would have nothing to play for. Gain 3 points here and suddenly things may look very different at the bottom.
What this means is simple. I believe Newcastle, and for that matter Norwich, need at least a point from one of their two games. Wigan's goal difference is currently running at exactly the same as Newcastle, and one worse off than Norwich, so a win against Villa for Wigan could see Wigan leapfrog both teams on the final day.
Newcastleare currently spiraling out of control, conceding 16 goals in their last 7 games, while scoring only 3. As luck would have it they face the bottom club QPR at Loftus road on Sunday, a game which the fans in all reality should demand a win from. Lose this, given that Arsenal are the visitors to Newcastle on the last game of the season, who, as mentioned before, require the points themselves from this game too and have the best defensive away record in the league this year, the outcome of not gaining any points at all against QPR could be catastrophic.
However, for Newcastle, there is still hope that others could do them a favour. Norwich play WBA at home in their penultimate game. WBA sit comfortably in 8th but, have only won once in their last 7 games. They are due a win, and are playing well enough to be ready to hand out something of a spanking. Then, on the final day, Norwich have Man City. Depending on which Man City turn up could decide who stays up and who goes down. Turn in a performance, and Norwich could find themselves on the wrong end of a goal difference swing that could see them plunge into the abyss.
Unless, of course, Wigan do what they've done before, defy their league position, and pull out a win against Arsenal in the midst of all these permutations. If that should happen, it is still technically possible for Wigan to finish 12th in the table, if all the teams around them lose both games, which would mean Villa, Southampton and Sunderland might do well to watch their backs.
With Wembley at the weekend as well for Wigan, no-one can be certain of anything other than, it's going to be a nerve-wracking 9 days in store for all those involved in the fight to retain their status in the Premier League.
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