When the fixture list was announced at the start of the season, Newcastle United fans will have probably looked at this upcoming clash with Swansea City as one they could count on to deliver three points.
However, the Magpies have been on a such poor run of late, they will face a tough test when Francesco Guidolin’s men visit Tyneside this weekend.
The facts and figures
Swansea were in real danger of being dragged into a serious relegation battle around a month ago but they have turned themselves into one of the most in-form teams in the league with four wins and one draw in their last six games.
Newcastle would do anything for a form sheet that looked remotely similar to the Swans'. In the last ten games the Newcastle supporters have only had the pleasure of witnessing a victory once. That woeful statistic means it is no surprise that they are 19th in both the league table and the form table.
However, that sole win came at St. James’ Park back in February and since the start of the season, Newcastle have enjoyed more success when playing at home, rather than playing away.
The last time Newcastle beat Swansea was all the way back in 2012, when Papiss Cisse scored both goals in a 2-0 win.
St Mary’s misery
Newcastle knew their trip to the South coast wouldn’t be an easy one but they completely fell apart in numerous ways as Southampton brushed them aside with ease.
Shane Long made a fool out of Steven Taylor after only three minutes when he put the home side ahead and things seemed to only get worse for the travelling side after that.
Daryl Janmaat is set to miss this weekend’s fixture after suffering both a groin injury after falling awkwardly and an injury to his hand after punching a wall in the dressing room. It is reported there was heated discussions between squad members at half time.
Last chance saloon
Every week there seems to be different clichés used about how important it is for the teams at the bottom to gain all three points. However, a defeat for Newcastle this Saturday surely would be ‘the final nail in the coffin.’
Norwich City face Sunderland at Carrow Road this weekend and the result of that game will be crucial for Newcastle. It may even be the first time in their lifetime that sections of the Newcastle support are routing for Sunderland to take all three points.
A Norwich win coupled with a Newcastle defeat would leave Rafa Benitez and his players nine points from safety with five games remaining.