The odds on Newcastle being relegated this season have plummeted after the Magpies endured a five-game winless streak.
Steve Bruce’s men are now marooned in 17th place in the Premier League table after relegation rivals Brighton beat Southampton 2-1 at the weekend. Newcastle held Aston Villa to a 1-1 draw, but they have only taken three points from their last five matches and they are starting to feel the heat.
The Magpies are now just two points above the relegation zone, where Fulham lurk ominously in 18th place. The Cottagers trailed Newcastle by eight points at the start of 2021, but their form has been strong in recent weeks, including a 1-0 victory over Liverpool.
Newcastle need to quickly return to winning ways if they are to beat the drop, but they are missing key players like Callum Wilson through injury and their situation looks bleak.
Newcastle are now priced at 10/11 (1.91) with William Hill to be relegated from the Premier League this season. Those odds have dropped significantly in recent weeks, but it still looks like a very attractive price if you think they could capitulate.
Their next game tales place at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, where they face a resurgent Brighton side. If you looks at the Expected Points (xPTS) table, Brighton are fifth, just two points behind third placed Man Utd. However, they have scored 13.63 fewer goals than expected, and conceded 5.23 more than they should have.
Yet their wastefulness in front of goal was not a problem in their 2-1 victory over Southampton on Saturday. Captain Lewis Dunk put his team in front from a set piece, and then Leandro Trossard slammed in a second-half winner following nice build-up play from Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck.
All told, Brighton look too good to go down. They are best priced at just 4/6 (1.67) with Unibet and Betfred to beat Newcastle on Saturday, while Steve Bruce's men are 11/4 (3.75) with some bookies, which speaks volumes about the perceived gulf in quality between the two teams.
Newcastle are now a point behind Brighton and four behind Burnley, who have impressed with their grit and determination in recent weeks. If Fulham continue to improve, Newcastle could be in deep trouble.
After the Brighton game, they host Tottenham at St James’ Park, which is always a formidable task. They lost 3-1 when they last welcomed Spurs to the North East. Their following game is a crucial relegation six-pointer against Burnley at Turf Moor, and then Newcastle face West Ham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leicester and Man City – some of the strongest teams in the division.
Their last two games of the season are against bottom club Sheff Utd and then Fulham on the final day of the campaign. That could ultimately determine whether they stay up or go down. Newcastle have already been relegated twice under Mike Ashley’s ownership, so they are no strangers to life in the Championship, and there is a sense of grim foreboding among the fans.
Fulham also have a tough run-in, but they have taken points off big teams in recent weeks, and they will feel quietly confident in their ability to drag themselves to safety.
It could ultimately boil down to a straight fight between Newcastle and Fulham. Sheff Utd and West Brom are doomed. As previously mentioned, Newcastle are 10/11 (1.91) to go down, whereas Fulham have drifted out to 6/4 (2.50) with Betfred, so they are now expected to win the battle.
Paddy Power has 14/1 (15.00) on Brighton being relegated, while Burnley are priced at 20/1 (21.00) with Bet365, so they are unlikely to be caught.
Fulham have greater momentum than Newcastle right now, fewer injury concerns and a gentler fixture list, so it could well be curtains for the Toon.